The Irish Show Jumping team of Mark McAuley, Peter Moloney, Darragh Kenny and Cian O’Connor, came agonizingly close to ending a 93-year wait to win the Italian Nations Cup for the very first time when finishing second behind winners, Sweden, in Rome on Friday evening.
The Michael Blake-managed side held a share of the lead with the eventual winners at the halfway stage following faultless rounds from Peter Moloney with Chianti’s Champion and Darragh Kenny with Important De Muze.
Mark McAuley and Jasco VD Bisschop picked up four faults in the opening round and matched the score in the second, but the Irish error then put Sweden into the lead as their first rider jumped clear in the second round.
Peter Moloney was unlucky not a produce a double clear, as the front bar of the final oxer fell before he crossed the line with one time fault.
Darragh Kenny picked up four faults at the first part of the combination, meaning Sweden had a one fence advantage as it all came down to the final line riders.
Sweden’s European individual gold medallist Peder Fredricson guided H&M Christian K to a clear round to leave Sweden on an unbeatable two round total of 8 faults. Ireland’s anchor, Cian O’Connor and PSG Final, produced a clear round to leave Ireland on a final score of 12 faults, 4 behind Sweden.
Belgium and The Netherlands shared third place on 18 faults, with Italy finishing fifth on 23 faults. Germany finished sixth, with Israel seventh, France eighth, while Switzerland, winners last time out in La Baule, had to settle for ninth.