Despite a superb start which saw Ireland lead the German Nations’ Cup at halfway, a troubled second round saw the team tumble back to seventh place overall.
Shane Breen got proceedings off to a perfect start with a clear on Golden Hawk, and while Kevin Babington followed with eight faults on Shorapur, the Irish were able to discard that effort as Shane Sweetnam went clear on Chaqui Z at the expense of one time fault, and anchorman Conor Swail posted a zero score with Grand Cru VD Vjif Eiken to leave the team on just one fault overall at halfway, clear of Germany on four faults, with four countries still in the hunt on eight.
However, the second round saw Breen leave three poles on the ground in quick succession, and his score had to stand as Babington then picked up 18 faults for the discard in this round as well. Shane Sweetnam was also unable to match his opening round, adding another 13 faults to Ireland’s tally. Conor Swail salvaged some second-round pride as anchorman, leaving all obstacles intact once more, though picking up one time fault in the process to place Ireland in seventh on 27 faults.
“The team gave us an excellent score in the first round, but it was disappointing that we slipped so much in the second round”, Ireland’s show jumping Manager Robert Splaine said afterwards. “However Mannheim is part of our overall plan and Conor Swail’s performance with a new horse Grand Cru VD Vijf Eiken in their first Nations’ Cup was good and adds strength to the team for the challenges ahead.”
Hosts Germany finished tied for first place with USA and Belgium on eight faults, and it was the Americans who prevailed in the jump-off, with Belgium netting second place.
Shane Breen/ Golden Hawk 0/12
Kevin Babington/ Shorapur (8)/(18)
Shane Sweetnam/ Chaqui Z 1/13
Conor Swail/Grand Cru VD Vijf Eiken 0/1
Conor Swail proved best of the Irish at Mannheim