THE Irish show jumping team finished fourth in tonight’s (Sunday) opening Longines FEI Nations Cup of the season at Deeridge Farm, Wellington in Florida, USA.
Manager Michael Blake saw Cork’s Shane Sweetnam get Ireland off to a perfect start in round one, jumping clear with Indra van de Oude Heihoef. Mayo’s Cormac Hanley, who was making his Nations Cup debut with VDL Cartello, finished with just one fence down towards the end of the course.
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu and Co Down’s Conor Swail with Rubens LS La Silla, both also finished with four faults. This left Ireland on an eight fault total after the first round and in a share of second place with the USA, with Mexico leading the way on a zero score.
VICTORY FOR MEXICO
Sweetnam and Indra van de Oude Heihoef finished with one fence down second time out, while Hanley and VDL Cartello repeated their four fault score from the first round. O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu kept all the poles standing on their second outing but picked up one time fault. Ireland’s anchor rider, Conor Swail with Rubens LS La Silla was the discard score with 12 faults.
Victory went to a young Mexican team with an average age of just 24 after they finished with just four faults. Israel finished as runners-up with nine faults, while the home team from the USA took third place on the podium with 12 faults. Ireland in fourth on 17 faults finished ahead of Canada in fifth and Colombia in sixth.
Ireland, as a European Nation, were eligible for league points in Wellington. Their first points-scoring outing under team manager Rodrigo Pessoa in Europe Division 1 will come at La Baule in France on May 19th.
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange.
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian