|Ireland Give Dazzling Display To Finish Second In U.S. Nations' Cup. TRM Rider Cian O’connor Jumps Double Clear.|
Ireland's first Nations' Cup team of 2012 produced a dazzling second place finish of 11 teams on a sultry Friday night in Florida, USA with four clear rounds and with none of the riders dislodging more than one fence in either round.
Lying third at the halfway mark after zero scores from US-based Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto Darco and Meath's Cian O'Connor with his new horse Blue Loyd, the Irish quartet went into the second round with just four team penalties on the board.
Sweetnam faulted once in the final round, but Richie Moloney and the Irish-bred Slieveanorra improved on their first outing, delivering a zero score. Darragh Kerins and the Irish-bred mare Lisona repeated their first round single penalty, but last-man-in O'Connor produced the team's only double clear round to leave the Irish on just eight team faults at the finish.
Afterwards Team Ireland’s show jumping manager Robert Splaine said: “I was very pleased with all four combinations. We were unlucky in the first round and that was where we could have been stronger".
“However, we were consistent throughout and Cian’s double clear was special. It was rewarding to improve our position from third to second in the second round.”
Germany won the four-star Wellington Nations' Cup on four faults, while Canada took third place on nine faults and the USA and Great Britain tied for fourth place on 22 faults apiece.
IRISH TEAM RESULTS
Shane Sweetnam/Amaretto Darco 0/4
(Horse Sport Ireland Press Release - 03 Mar 2012)
Photo: Cian O’Connor