Irish confident ahead of Ocala Longines League of Nations test

  • 22 March 2024, 14:41

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Team are back in Longines League of Nations action tomorrow night at the World Equestrian Centre in Ocala, Florida.

Team Manager Michael Blake has selected an experienced team of Darragh Kenny, Daniel Coyle, Shane Sweetnam and Cian O’Connor to take on the world’s best in what promises to be a top-class renewal of the prestigious competition.

It is a who’s who of international jumping, with Ireland facing a tough test in round two of the qualifying series.

Blake’s team face the top 10 nations on the planet – hosts America, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland in the $770,000 team competition in a two-round format.

Ireland finished second in the opening leg of the new format for international team jumping, just one pole down behind Germany in Abu Dhabi, and the foursome who will jump in the green jacket have all been in excellent form recently.

Kenny will ride Amsterdam 27, Coyle will go on board his excellent mare Legacy, Sweetnam takes to the arena with Otis Blue and O’Connor will jump with Maurice, and Blake is very happy with the combinations he has chosen for tomorrow night.

He said: “We’re very much looking forward to the competition – it’s a very strong team we have going into the arena and I’m hoping that we can build on the excellent Abu Dhabi result.

“As I always say, Nations Cups are the pinnacle of the sport and we place great emphasis on getting strong results – this is no different here in Florida.

“The lads have all been jumping well and the horses are in great form here this week so it’s going to be exciting.

“We’re among the best in the world here this week and plenty of nations have brought what you could call their A teams, so it will certainly be a test but it’s one we’re relishing.”

Each country will put forward all four horse-rider combinations in the opening round and drop the worst score, but only three riders per nation will return in round two, where no one will have the luxury of a drop score.

Ocala is the only North American stop on the prestigious new series that showcases the best jumping athletes and horses competing at Nations Cup five-star level.

Only four events – the previous leg in Abu Dhabi, Ocala, St. Gallen and Rotterdam (NED) – comprise the Longines League of Nations series before the final takes place in Barcelona in October.

The first round begins at 9.30pm Irish time and can be watched live on FEI.TV. Orders of go, live scoring, course maps and results are available at Longines Timing. For additional competition information, visit

Horse Sport Ireland will provide live updates on its social media channels throughout the competition.

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Team (in alphabetical order) is:

  • Co. Derry’s Daniel Coyle with Legacy
  • Co. Offaly’s Darragh Kenny with Amsterdam 27
  • Co. Meath’s Cian O’Connor with Maurice
  • Co. Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Otis Blue

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

Charles Ancona – Official athlete clothing supplier to HSI’s Senior Olympic programmes

Bucas – official supplier to Horse Sport Ireland

The Irish High Performance programme is funded by Sport Ireland