Ireland finish top of Longines League of Nations Final Standings after Rotterdam leg

  • 21 June 2024, 19:27

Mark McAuley and GRS Lady Amaro jumping to a clear round at the Longines League of Nations in Rotterdam

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team finished eighth at the Longines League of Nations final qualifying leg in Rotterdam this evening.

A stunning performance from France to finish on a zero score across two rounds of jumping saw them emerge victorious, with Sweden finishing second on four faults and Great Britain in third, also on a final total of four.

Having won the second leg in Ocala and finished runner-up in Abu Dhabi’s opening leg, Ireland had already secured qualification for October’s final in Barcelona, but there was plenty at stake with the Paris Olympics firmly on the horizon.

Topping the final standings was also up for grabs and Ireland did enough to secure the top spot at the end of four legs of the prestigious series.

Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Show Jumping Director Michael Blake said: “It wasn’t our day today – we just made mistakes at crucial times and it cost us.

“That can happen, it’s top level sport – but I’m absolutely thrilled to have finished on top of the league at the end of this competition.

“It’s no mean feat to be able to see off the world’s best over a full series and we’ve done that. It’s been incredible – we’ve been all around the world and we’re the ones at the top of the table, so I’m very proud of everyone involved who has achieved this.”

Ireland began a little slowly in the Rotterdam rain as Shane Sweetnam finished on an unlucky eight faults with the inexperienced RR Combella. The pair were unfortunate at the water when the mare just left a heel on the tape, before dropping the top bar at the double, having jumped the wall well.

It meant there was a touch of pressure on Mark McAuley and his brilliant Irish Sport Horse GRS Lady Amaro but the combination put in a exceptional performance – McAuley even losing his stirrups late into his round before guiding his mount home without touching a pole to put Ireland back in the mix, halfway through round one.

With the competition really heating up, Daniel Coyle and his Olympics-bound Legacy were next into the arena for Ireland and they proved exactly why they will be on the plane to Paris, jumping flawlessly to a clear round.

Ireland finished on top of the Longines League of Nations after the four legs

With Cian O’Connor last to jump with Eve D’Ouilly, Ireland were in an almost unprecedented and unenviable position. A clear round would leave the team in pole position, but one pole down could spell elimination, should O’Connor not be quick against the clock.

Eve D’Ouilly had jumped superbly under the Ireland stalwart – a clear round and the lead looked in hand – until the very last fence where Eve D’Ouilly knocked a pole. Thankfully, the time was fast enough for Ireland to avoid elimination and finish round one in seventh place.

For round two, Ireland’s selected trio chosen was McAuley, Coyle and O’Connor, with Sweetnam and RR Combella stepping down.

McAuley was first in as Ireland looked to lay down a marker early. It wasn’t to be as a pole down, followed by a foot in the water, meant they scored eight faults.

With no discard score in Longines League of Nations second rounds, it left the Irish with a mountain to climb with Coyle and O’Connor still to come.

Slight changes to the course for round two were causing problems across the board and Coyle and Legacy had looked for a long way that they were up to navigating their way around to a double clear, until the penultimate fence was rubbed and dropped en route to four faults.

Ireland’s disappointing day concluded when O’Connor and Eve D’Ouilly retired, having already dropped two poles and in no position to improve Ireland’s score.


GRS Lady Amaro (ISH) – 2013 mare by Amaretto Darco (BWP) out of Legal Lady (TB) by Over The River (TB). Breeder: Denis Hickey, Co. Wexford. Owner: S.N.C McAuley. Rider: Mark McAuley (IRL).

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