Michael Blake will be hoping for an improved placing when he takes charge of the Irish showjumping team for his second outing as manager this weekend. His team started brilliantly but dwindled to a sixth-place finish two weeks back in the Nations Cup of America at Deeridge Farms in Wellington, Florida, near to where this second contest is being staged at Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre, also in Wellington.
After Sunday’s clinching of an Olympic place in show jumping in Barcelona, Irish equestrian sport has moved to a place it’s never been before. The country will have eventing, dressage, and show jumping teams at next year’s Olympics - the first time ever that the sport in this country has been able to say that.
New Zealander Tim Price has topped the latest FEI world eventing rankings just days after winning the George Mernagh Memorial CCI4*-S at Tattersalls International Horse Trials in Co Meath, while Ireland’s Elizabeth Power has made a significant climb following her fourth-place finish in the Irish Field CCI4*-L at the same meeting.
The world governing body of equestrian sport, the FEI, says that there has been strong interest in the bidding process to stage the 2022 World Championships, with a global spread of potential hosts across four continents which includes venues in 20 different countries.
“You don’t win nations cups without jumping clear rounds and we didn’t jump enough of them,” said Michael Blake after he had seen the Irish show jumping team he managed fall short of repeating last year’s success in Ocala, Florida on Sunday evening.
Ireland has two show jumping teams in action this weekend for the first of this year’s nations cup fixtures. Michael Blake takes charge of affairs for the five-star meeting in Ocala, Florida, while Taylor Vard will be overseeing matters at Abu Dhabi’s five-star contest in the UAE.
After an injury-enforced lay-off Cian O’Connor is set for a return to jumping action this coming weekend in Germany. The Meath rider heads for Wiesbaden’s four-star meeting with his top horse Good Luck, along with Copain du Perchet and his newly-acquired Cybell.
When Cusack Park stood for a minute’s silence at the Clare county final last Sunday, a man in front of me didn’t bow his head. Instead he shook it, while scrolling down his phone, scanning tweet after tweet making reference to the passing of one of the county’s finest ever sons.
Gary Brennan seldom gets the chance to showcase his outstanding football talents for a national audience. But the Clare captain has won an army of admirers, including International Rules boss Joe Kernan, as the Banner’s footballers begin to rise again.