Ireland finish third in Aga Khan to book place in Nations Cup World Final as Britain lift the trophy
- 9 August 2019, 18:46
The Irish Show Jumping team of Cian O’Connor, Paul O’Shea, Shane Sweetnam and Darragh Kenny, managed by Rodrigo Pessoa, have finished third in today’s (Friday) Longines FEI Nations Cup of Ireland, where Britain claimed the the Aga Khan trophy for a record 27th time. Today’s result means Ireland have safely qualified for the lucrative Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona, where a coveted Olympic team qualification place will be up for grabs.
Meath’s Cian O’Connor got Ireland underway with the Ronnoco Jump-owned PSG Final and they finished with four faults picked up at the vertical after the water. Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with the Machu Picchu Partners-owned Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu then delivered a brilliant clear round to the delight of the home fans. Third to go for Ireland, Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z, who is owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC finished with one fence down for four faults. Ireland’s anchor rider, Offaly’s Darragh Kenny with Important De Muze, owned by Kerry Anne LLC, kept all the fences standing however a foot in the water saw them finish on four faults.
That left Ireland in a share of third place at the halfway stage on eight faults, with Britain out in front on zero ahead of Italy in second on four faults.
In the second round, Cian O’Connor finished with one fence down and a time fault. Paul O’Shea then boosted Irish hopes by completing a fantastic double clear round with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu which drew Ireland level with Italy in second at that stage while Britain continued to hold the lead. Shane Sweetnam looked to be heading for a clear but picked up four faults at the first part of the combination, while Darragh Kenny also finished with four faults when last to go. That left Ireland on a final score of 16 faults in third place.
A hugely impressive performance saw Britain claim the Aga Khan trophy for a record 27th time when they finished on a final score of just one time fault. Italy finished second on 12 faults ahead of Ireland in third. Switzerland finished fourth on 21 ahead of Netherlands in fifth (24), Mexico in sixth (33), and Sweden in seventh (41).
The result saw Ireland finish in third place on the Longines FEI Nations Cup league table with a total of 330 points – just 10 points behind joint winners Switzerland and Italy, meaning Ireland have comfortably qualified for the 2019 Nations Cup World Final which will be held in Barcelona in October. France, Belgium and Sweden have also made it through to the final, while Britain’s Aga Khan win saw they take the last of the seven qualifying places by a tiny margin of just five points. Germany, Netherlands and Austria meanwhile have missed out on a place in the World Final.
Before that however, Irish focus now turns to the hugely important 2019 Longines FEI European Show Jumping Championships in Rotterdam (NED) which get underway on Wednesday August 21st. Three team places for the 2020 Olympic Games will be on offer, with Ireland looking to qualify a Show Jumping team for the first time since Athens in 2004.
The Dublin Horse Show continues on Saturday where the highlight will be the Land Rover Puissance, while the show will come to a close on Sunday following the Longines Grand Prix of Ireland.
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish & The Underwriting Exchange
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian
Ireland bidding to go one better in Bratislava EEF Nations Cup
Dag Albert Names Team ahead of Aachen FEI Eventing Nations Cup