CARRICKMINES Riding Club, who had to field a reduced team for the AIRC Team Show Jumping Championship final, went on and won the title outright at the Dublin Horse Show last Sunday.

The competition came right down to the wire with the final competitor in the Simmonscourt arena, Carrickmines team captain Selina Ann Osborne, having just one penalty to spare.

The Carrickmines resident, however, held her nerve on the nine-year-old bay mare RTS Lisa as she crossed the line with all fences intact but the clock read 76.28, giving her one time penalty. This was just enough to give the Dublin club the coveted championship trophy on the narrowest of margins for the first time in its history.

Osborne commented afterwards: “I was aware of how close the competition was and had decided to go for a collected round, ride all of the lines and corners, and set my mare up nicely for each fence to secure a clear round. As my mare is a natural forward horse, I wasn’t worried, too worried, that I would go over the time needed.”

The winning team consisted of Martina Delaney, who picked up two time penalties on Branraduff Bob, Lucile Riaboff, who jumped one of just five double clear rounds on the day, along with their team captain who had a fence down in the opening round.

It wasn’t the easiest of wins for the Carrickmines club as they had to overcome the wild card qualifier at the AIRC Riding Clubs Festival in June after they finished second at their regional qualifier in May. Since then, they had lame horses and had to contend with a late pull-out after Rory O’Keeffe (Shes The Model) had to withdraw at the last minute.

Club chairperson Sinead O’Sullivan was delighted with the team’s win, remarking, “There were some twists in our journey to the final having to get through the wild card qualifier and then we had to contend with lame horses and a last minute withdrawal, however, the three-member team arrived in the RDS and managed to hold their nerve right to the end to take the crown.

“It is the club’s first time to win this prestigious event, having taken third place last year. A great reward for all the effort and preparation over the previous months,” she added.

Stiff competition

Almost 90 teams sought qualification earlier in the year with the top nine teams going forward to the final where Colm Quinn’s 11-fence track with 13 jumping efforts proved challenging with penalties spread throughout the course.

The Dublin-based club was out in front after the opening round on six penalties, with Mill Road behind on eight. Benbulben, Lismore and Kilrainy were next best on 12 penalties each, while Greenhills was one penalty adrift in fifth. Killossery and Waterford were level on 18 penalties with Greenvalley further back on a tally of 21.

Nerves settled in the second round with a significant uptake in clear rounds being recorded but there was still too much ground for Greenvalley (25) and Waterford (27) to make up as they finished outside the top six. Greenhills also dropped out of contention after they added a further eight penalties to finish on 21.

The Kilrainy club finished on 20 penalties after they added another eight to their opening tally to finish just inside the top six ahead of Killossery who moved up into fifth on 18. They were one of just two teams to complete the second round with nothing to add to their score.

Both Benbulben and Lismore added four penalties to finish on 16 each, leaving the clock to decide the placings. The Sligo-based team of Therese Anderson (Killian Boy), Emma O’Connor (Acrefield Enzo), Rebekah Tansey (First Instinct) and Louise Walsh (Doonaveeragh Claire) took third place with a time of 269.40 ahead of Lismore in fourth place, who were 10 seconds slower.

Mill Road’s team of Fran Denny (Lloydsboro Lad), Theresa Squarey (Caribou Delaware), Hanna Bjoremark (Matildas Mossy) and Jennifer Denny (Wild Domaine) were runners-up on eight penalties, just one off the winners, as the Tipperary club matched their 2012 result.