• 20 June 2014, 19:17

HE Irish quartet of Denis Lynch, Cameron Hanley, Cian O’Connor and Dermott Lennon faced a tough battle today (Friday) at the Nations’ Cup in Rotterdam, and managed to pull themselves up by one place from their halfway score to finish seventh of the eight teams competing.

The second of Ireland’s points-scoring competitions in the elite Division One of the Furusiyya 2014 series found Robert Splaine’s team up against a superb home team who tied with France at the finish on eight faults, forcing a jump-off which France won with a clear round from Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa.

Ireland, who were first into the arena, opened with Denis Lynch and Coulisa, who put a foot in the water for four faults, followed by Cameron Hanley and Antello Z, who had to add a time fault to their four-fault tally. Cian O’Connor and the diminutive mare Quidam’s Cherie also had one fence down, while Dermott Lennon and the Irish Sport Horse Loughview Lou Lou finished the first round on eight penalties.

The second round at Rotterdam showed the sophisticated build of the course, with team orders re-arranging rapidly as new fences fell with almost every rider. Ireland was not immune, with Denis Lynch racking up an uncharacteristic 16 faults. Cameron Hanley repeated his five fault score from the first round, and Cian O’Connor also came home on four faults once more. Lennon improved on his first round performance with just one fence on the floor, but the accumulated penalties left the Irish on 26 faults, one point above eighth-placed USA.

Afterwards team manager Robert Splaine said: “We anticipated that Rotterdam was going to be one of the toughest competitions in the series, but we wanted to come here and test ourselves against the best in the world, so that we could be aware of our strengths and weaknesses in what is a very important year for us.

“In this competition our best score should have been our worst, and if we can take something positive out of it as we move forward it is that we certainly found our weaknesses today.”

Ireland’s next points-scoring Furusiyya Nations’ Cup will be at Hickstead in England at the beginning of August, followed by the Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show a week later.

Ireland finished third in the world series last year in the final at Barcelona.

Irish team scores at Rotterdam were:
Denis Lynch/Coulisa 4/16
Cameron Hanley/Antello Z 5/5
Cian O’Connor/Quidam’s Cherie 4/4
Dermott Lennon/Loughview Lou Lou (ISH) 8/4


Cian O'Connor and Quidam's Cherie, who had Ireland's best score with one fence down in each round at Rotterdam

Cian O’Connor and Quidam’s Cherie, who had Ireland’s best score with one fence down in each round at Rotterdam. Picture: Xavier Boudon/Pixizone


Loughview Lou-Lou (ISH) – 2002 bay mare by Limmerick (HOLST) out of Loughview Diamond Lucy (ISH), by Jack Of Diamonds (ID). Owner/Bred by Judith Sossick, Co. Armagh. Rider: Dermott Lennon (IRL)