FOLLOWING an impressive runner-up finish in the opening round of the Longines FEI Nations Cup series at Samorin in Slovakia a fortnight ago, the Irish show jumping team return to action this Sunday at La Baule, France.
Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa has named a five man squad for the French Division 1 five-star fixture, the Irish squad, sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange and Devenish, for the La Baule Nations Cup is as follows:
Louth’s Mark McAuley with Utchan De Belheme – owned by Charlotte McAuley
Limerick’s Paul Kennedy with Cartown Danger Mouse (ISH) – owned by Jane Kennedy
Mayo’s Cameron Hanley with Quirex – owned by Patrick Mielnik
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – owned by Skara Glen’s Stables, Whipstick Farm, P. Hurter & P. Agnew
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Indra Van De Oude Heihoef – owned by The Blue Buckle Group
In a mark of respect to Tommy Wade who passed away in the early hours of this morning (Monday) aged 80, the team will wear black armbands on Sunday. “Myself and the Irish team are very sorry to hear today of the passing of Tommy Wade," Pessoa said today.
"He was a monument of the Irish team as a rider and great leader as chef d’equipe. Tommy has a huge amount of respect from all our team and this weekend in La Baule, the Irish team will wear black armbands as a mark of respect to Tommy. We will do everything in our power to win on Sunday in honour of him.”
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy also paid tribute to Tommy Wade, saying: “On behalf of Horse Sport Ireland, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Tommy’s family and the many friends he made all over the globe. He represented Ireland with distinction as a rider and was an incredibly gifted horseman. His record as chef d’equipe of the Irish team is phenomenal, not least in 1999/2000 when Tommy led Ireland to 10 Nations Cup wins in one season. He was a true legend of the sport.”
Eight teams will do battle in La Baule, with Ireland, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland and France eligible for points, while Canada and Brazil will also take part.
Following this weekend’s round in La Baule, Ireland’s remaining points-scoring Nations Cup rounds will come at Falsterbo (SWE), Hickstead (GBR) and Ireland’s home Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show in August where the Aga Khan trophy will be up for grabs.