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High drama as Ireland loses out on Olympic qualification
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High drama as Ireland loses out on Olympic qualification
on 21 August 2015
Irish team appeals after ground steward almost collides with Cian O'Connor's horse Good Luck in middle of crucial round

AMID high drama in Aachen, Robert Splaine's team of Cian O'Connor, Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Greg Broderick gave it their all today but lost out on a place in the Rio Olympics 2016 by the weirdest of circumstances.

Almost unbelievably, a fence steward almost collided with Cian O'Connor's horse Good Luck as the pair - who had been clear up to that point in their crucial round - then had four faults at the DHL yellow upright fence - the fourth fence from home.

The man - dressed in a yellow T-shirt - had to effectively dive into a flower bed to avoid being struck by the nine-year-old stallion as the crowd gasped in disbelief at what was unfolding before their eyes.

Immediately after he went through the timers, a furious O'Connor held up his arm for an appeal which was quickly loged with the authorities by Ireland's chef d'equipe Robert Splaine.

Last man in for the Irish, Denis Lynch and All Star 5 put in a fabulous clear round and it looked as if maybe the iron had been pulled out of the fire for the Investec-sponsored team.

However, it was not to be with the Irish team just edged out of the three qualifying places with the word coming from Aachen that the Irish appeal was unlikely to be upheld.

It's not known at this stage if there is any further hope of a review of the appeal decision or any further avenue for Team Ireland to explore in order for the Irish team to get to Rio 2016.

Those nations who got the last three qualifying places today were Britain, Switzerland and Spain.

The individual medals will be decided tomorrow (Sunday), with Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya currently holds the gold medal position on a score of 1.47 with Carlo 273. The top 25 riders from this week’s three qualifying rounds in Aachen will jump two more rounds to decide who will succeed Rodger Yves Bost as European champion.

Bertram Allen is best placed of the Irish riders in 18th position with Molly Malone on a score of 9.06, with Cian O'Connor in 21st position with Good Luck on 9.67. Denis Lynch has also made the cut as one of the 25 riders through to Sunday’s individual final as he is in 24th place on 10.45, while Greg Broderick finished his first championships in 31st position with MHS Going Global.

Aachen was the last chance for Ireland to qualify a full team for the Olympic Games although they could gain two individual places based on the world rankings, with Bertram Allen most likely to do so as he is ranked fifth in the world at the moment.

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