• 2 May 2014, 18:29

IRELAND produced three classic clear rounds at the five-star Nations’ Cup at Lummen in Belgium today (Friday) to claim equal third place in the eight-nation contest.

Lying sixth after the first round on a total of 12 faults, the Irish quartet rallied on their second attempt to produce a zero team score, with only Thomas Ryan and Caribo repeating their four-fault first round.

First to enter the arena today, Ryan faced a tough task as pathfinder, and second-to-go Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V also had a pole down.

Ireland’s third man in, Mark McAuley with Isco De Amoranda, had an uncharacteristic discard score of 18 faults on a difficult first round, while anchorman Billy Twomey and Diaghilev were also unable to leave all the poles standing, completing the round on four faults.

However after the break Ireland returned with renewed confidence, and aside from Ryan, who was unlucky to incur another four faults, all delivered the zero scores that were needed to hoist the team to equal third place alongside Belgium on a total of 12 faults.

Irish show jumping manager Robert Splaine said after the competition: “This was a very good performance and to get on the podium so early in the season with three new combinations at this level is very encouraging. Clear rounds are always special at Nations’ Cups, and we got these today in the second round from Billy Twomey, Mark McAuley and Bertram Allen. I’d also like to thank the owners for their marvellous contribution to this very good result.”

Switzerland won the Lummen Nations’ Cup on a zero score, while France placed second on four faults.

Thomas Ryan/Caribo 4/4
Bertram Allen/Molly Malone V 4/0
Mark McAuley/Isco De Amoranda 18/0
Billy Twomey/Diaghilev 4/0

Under the new rules introduced in 2013, the world’s top show jumping nations may compete in eight venues but will only be able to gain points in four.

For Ireland these will be La Baule, France (May 15-18), Rotterdam, Holland (18-22 June), Hickstead, Britain (31 July-3 August) and Dublin Horse Show (6-10 August).
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