'There was nothing lucky about this' - Irish Eventing team qualifies for Olympics after silver in storm-hit World games

'There was nothing lucky about this' - Irish Eventing team qualifies for Olympics after silver in storm-hit World games

The manager of the Irish Eventing team has said "there was nothing lucky" about their silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games in the US today.

By coming second in North Carolina, they have also qualified for the 2020 Toyko Olympics.

Tipperary's Padraig McCarthy also completed a remarkable day for the Irish by taking an individual silver, too.

The Irish team of Cathal Daniels, Sam Watson, Padraig McCarthy and Sarah Ennis, managed by Sally Corscadden, finished the three Eventing phases of Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping on a final score of 93.0, just over one fence behind Britain who took gold on 88.8.

France took home the Bronze on 99.8, with Japan finishing just outside the medals in fourth on 113.9. With Japan hosting the 2020 Olympics, that gave an extra place to Tokyo to those down the line.

Germany, Australia and New Zealand join Ireland Britain as France as officially qualified for the Olympic Games.

Ireland had been in seventh place after Friday's Dressage, but rose to second place after a phenomenal Cross Country performance on Saturday when all Irish team riders jumped clear.

All this despite Tropical Storm Florence bringing torrential rain and forcing the competition final to be moved to today.

One of the most closely-fought competitions in the history of the Games went right down to the wire in the final Show Jumping phase. Competing as an individual, Cork's Patricia Ryan was the first Irish rider to jump and went clear with Dunrath Eclipse (ISH) to finish in 61st overall.

Galway's Cathal Daniels, the youngest competitor in the competition at just 22, finished with just one fence down with Rioghan Rua (ISH) and finished 26th individually on 41.6. Ireland's second team rider Sam Watson, was under real pressure entering the arena after watching Japan and France produce clear rounds. The Carlow rider kept his cool and guided Horseware Ardagh Highlight to a perfect clear. It saw Watson rise up to 14th individually to finish on his Dressage score of 35.5.

'There was nothing lucky about this' - Irish Eventing team qualifies for Olympics after silver in storm-hit World games

Tipperary's Padraig McCarthy started the day in seventh place, however a clear round with Mr Chunky not only guaranteed Ireland a medal, but also gave him a chance of a podium finish. Meath's Sarah Ennis had one fence down with Horseware Stellor Rebound, but kept it at that score to ensure Ireland would take a memorable team silver. It left Ennis in a hugely impressive fifth place individually at the finish on a score of 30.3.

The battle for individual medals was not decided until the very last horse jumped the very last fence. Germany's Ingrid Klimke looked set to be crowned World Champion when approaching the last fence clear with SAP Hale Bob, but the pole fell to the floor dropping her down to bronze on 27.3, and giving Ireland's McCarthy the individual silver on 27.2. Britain's Ros Canter is the new World Champion after her clear round aboard Allstar B saw them finish on 24.6.

Irish Eventing team manager Sally Corscadden said: "It's absolutely is huge, we are making history here today when you think about it. I had belief in these guys that we could be competitive and that was our goal the whole time, to be competitive and we just stuck to that goal and this is where it got us.

"I think we pushed those Brits too and made them a little nervous."

"There was nothing lucky about this. This was made to happen by the whole set-up and the team behind them, I just can't tell you how many people have worked to make this happen."

Ireland's individual silver medalist, Padraig McCarthy, was asked if he felt the pressure when he went into the arena,

McCarthy said: "I wasn't in a medal position [individually] when I went in. I had experience of jumping him in big competitions and he is a very good jumper.

"In a previous life I used to be a show jumper so that gave me a lot of confidence. I had a very good warm-up outside and the horse felt brilliant."

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