AREA 5 staged the final qualifier for this year’s Irish Pony Club/Connolly’s Red Mills eventing championships last Sunday at Kilguilkey House where their willingness to run an Open class was poorly rewarded with just three entries, one of whom withdrew.

United’s Alana-Rose Steele wasn’t too worried about the lack of opposition as she picked up a handy six points to go top of the Open league when completing on her winning dressage score with MBF Lord Lancer Bobbie (31.8 penalties), a six-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Fly Away Ali. West Waterford’s Sarah Kirk was second on Emperors Legion (42.7).

West Waterford’s Siofra Marsh closed the gap marginally on Isabelle Barry in the Intermediate league as, despite a pole down show jumping, she won Sunday’s round with the 14-year-old S Creevagh Ferro gelding MicMacs First (27.8) while her Killinick rival finished third on Kildromin Mentor (29.3). The pair were split by Tipperary’s Kate Walsh riding Beechtree Watchful (29.3).

There were 31 starters in that Intermediate class and 20 in the Intro Intermediate where the honours went to Nicola McKeon of the Carbery Branch who completed on her winning dressage score with the five-year-old West Coast Cavalier mare Elden Cavalier Roulette.

The two well-filled sections of Juniors produced all-the-way winners. In Section A, that was Wexford’s Emma Hickey on the nine-year-old gelding Ardeo Batman while, in Section B, Tipperary’s Sam Doyle proved unbeatable with the 14-year-old Blessington Black Shadow.

In finishing third in Section A for the Laois Branch, Maya Byrne Moran increased her lead in the league with Far Away Tale.

Lucy Meagher brought up a double for the Tipperary Branch in Section A of the Under 12s when completing on her winning dressage score with Cosmic Call. Representing the Kildares, Sophie McEvoy also led from start to finish in Section B with Harvest Mouse.

There were many eliminations in the Junior Novice competitions won by Scarteen’s Lisa Curtin riding Rubys Surf (Section A) and the United’s Juliet McCarthy on Zenith (Section B).

The IPC/Connolly’s Red Mills championships take place at Tattersalls Ireland over the weekend of August 27th and 28th, a week after the Evening Ireland one-day event at the popular Co Meath venue. Entries close for those who have qualified at 5.30pm sharp tomorrow, Sunday.