Splaine confirms Nations Cup squads


TEAM Ireland Equestrian show jumping manager Robert Splaine has confirmed his squad of riders for the first of the 2012 Superleague Nations Cups, while he has also named his team for the initial competition in the four-star Nations Cup Series.

Splaine’s selection for the Superleague Nations Cup at La Baule, France, on May 11th, is The Irish Field columnist Jessica Kürten, Denis Lynch, Cian O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam and Niall Talbot. Splaine will choose his team of four before the Nations Cup.

For Lummen in Belgium on May 4th, the first of the non-superleague four-star Nations Cups, Splaine has selected Shane Breen, Alexander Butler, Edward Doyle and Dermott Lennon.

Horses for both competitions will be announced shortly.

Splaine said: “We are back into a challenging year of Nations' Cups, and while of course my priority has to be the selection of two horse and rider combinations to fill our individual Olympic slots in London, we are also one of the top eight teams in the world and we will be hoping to acquit ourselves well in the Superleague once again.

“We had a great start last year, and I would like to get some early points on the board at La Baule,” he said.

“Lummen has traditionally been a good testing ground for combinations and I will be looking closely at the team there and at other four-star Nations Cups, with the hope of moving some combinations up to the Superleague as the year progresses,” he added.

The FEI Nations' Cups Superleague features the world's top eight teams competing at eight European venues, with the final competition in the series this year being the Aga Khan Cup at the Dublin Horse Show on August 17th. Ireland finished fourth in the 2011 series.