IRELAND has made the cut for the European Team Championship Final in Germany tomorrow (Friday) after a nail-biting afternoon at Aachen that shook up the leaderboard.
While the Investec Irish quartet of Bertram Allen, Greg Broderick, Cian O’Connor and Denis Lynch dropped one place to hold overnight team ninth position, the afternoon’s action saw Germany unseated as the leading nation, with France and the Netherlands now holding the top two spots.
Ireland also dropped a place in its bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but is just one fence adrift of two of its closest rivals, Denmark and Spain, with Switzerland also vulnerable in overnight sixth place. The British team, however, completed the day in fourth position, and now seem poised to claim one of the Rio slots. Ireland must finish in the top three of the non Olympic-qualified nations tomorrow, and is now in fifth place in that category.
Twenty year-old Bertram Allen opened the team competition for Ireland on Molly Malone, clipping a single fence to come home on four faults. Greg Broderick and the Irish Sport Horse MHS Going Global finished with an unexpected eight faults, but Olympic Bronze medallist Cian O’Connor lifted the Irish game with a zero fault round on the nine year-old stallion Good Luck.
Anchorman Denis Lynch had a perfect clear with All Star 5 until the very last fence, which fell for four faults, leaving the team on a combined total for the day of eight faults, with Greg Broderick the discard score.
The top ten teams now face Friday’s final on a completely new course of jumps, and carrying their first two days’ penalties with them.
(For full European championship rules click here
Live online streaming of the third day’s Nations’ Cup is available by subscription from www.feitv.org from 15:50 Irish time on Friday.
Score updates will also be available on the Horse Sport Ireland website www.horsesportireland.ie, and on the Team Ireland Equestrian Facebook page here.
Get behind the Irish team on Facebook and Twitter #GoTeamIrl
Cian O’Connor and Good Luck in action at Aachen today. Picture: Erin Gilmore