Ireland Youths in pole position for European gold

  • 12 July 2022, 19:21

The Irish Young Riders and Juniors both lie in first place after day one of the 2022 FEI Jumping European Championship in Oliva.

After a remarkable opening morning’s action, James Kernan’s Juniors lead the way in the competition with a total of 3.67 points, with Belgium in second and Poland in third ahead of the Nations Cup today.

Individually, Francis Derwin lies in first place after a clear round on Ahg Whiterock Cruise Down (ISH), with Niamh McEvoy also impressing on Templepatrick Welcome Limmeric (ISH), leaving her in third place.

Capping off the incredible opening session for the Irish was another superb round of jumping from Tom Wachman on Lazzaro Delle Schiave (MIPAAF) and Kernan’s team can dare to dream of golden glory.

“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the team today, it was unbelievable,” a delighted Kernan said.

Francis Derwin jumping into first place in Oliva at the European Championships. Photo: 1clicphoto

“It was a little concerning that Niamh had to go third in the class but she was brilliant and set the pace for the rest, she laid down a marker. And then Francis came out and was two seconds quicker before Tom then came in in fifth.

“The fact that we had three riders in the top five may not have ever happened before for an Irish team and we have over a fence in hand on the Belgians ahead of today’s Nations Cup. Hopefully we can continue to jump clear rounds, though, and won’t need that.”

In the afternoon, Jason Foley led the charge for Ireland on board Cnoc Rua Chinnook (ISH) to lead the Young Riders individual competition, with Max Wachman and Quintini (OS) also poised within the top 10.

Harry Allen checked in with Ireland’s third score on Over Lux (ISH) and the team sit pretty on top of a tight leaderboard ahead of Great Britain in second and the Belgians in third.

“Jason Foley was actually on his second horse after his initially selected horse was lame but he proved an able deputy,” Kernan added. “The pair of them were sensational.

“To be able to perform in these conditions, too, makes all the performances that little bit better. Look, we’ve won nothing yet and I’m aware of that fact but I’m dreaming of medals now – and it’s gold medals I’m after.”