IRELAND’S show jumpers finished in equal fifth place yesterday in a closely-fought nations cup at Gijon, Spain.
A clear round from Capt David O’Brien (Mo Chroi), coupled with four faults from Dermott Lennon (Hallmark Elite) and eight apiece from Cian O’Connor (Splendor) and Shane Breen (Carmena Z) left the team in equal fifth place at the half-way stage on 12 faults.
Despite clears from O’Connor and Breen in round two, Ireland’s position did not improve, with Capt O’Brien and Lennon each adding eight for a total of 20 faults, a score equalled by Saudi Arabia.
Indicative of the tightness of the leaderboard, however, was that just one fence separated Ireland from joint second place, shared by no less than three countries, Britain, Canada and France, on 16 faults. Victory went to Belgium on a score of 12.
Manager Robert Splaine would have been keeping a close eye on the competition, as he pondered his final two selections for next month’s Alltech World Equestrian Games.
He has already nominated O’Connor, Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey to the squad.
Splaine has also revealed the team that will compete in the nations cup in Calgary, Canada, next Saturday. The quartet, under chef d’equipe Paraic Geraghty, is: Shane Sweetnam (Amaretto d’Arco), Dave Quigley (Ulot), Nicola FitzGibbon (Puissance), Trevor Breen (Adventure de Kanaan).
Meanwhile, in the four-star competition at Burghley, England, Elizabeth Power and Capt Geoff Curran are well placed going into today’s cross-country.
At the end of yesterday’s second day of dressage, Power and Kilpatrick River lay in 14th with 48.7 penalties, one place ahead of Capt Curran, riding The Jump Jet, on 48.8pens.
Britain’s Ruth Edge and Two Thyme were the overnight leaders with 38.3pens.
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