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Ireland’s showjumping team finished in runner-up position at the FEI Nations Cup in Florida on Saturday.
The Michael Blake-managed team of Shane Sweetnam, Bertram Allen, Michael Duffy and Cian O’Connor produced six clear rounds.
The hosts won the $150,000 four-star Nations Cup, the main class this weekend at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam got Ireland off to a perfect clear round start with Karlin Van’t Vennehof.
A second clear followed for Wexford’s Bertram Allen with The Irish Sport Horse Castlefield Vegas. Then Galway’s Michael Duffy and Zilton SL Z produced a foot perfect round.
Another clear soon followed from Meath’s anchor Cian O’Connor with Cadiz. This left Ireland on a perfect zero score in the lead at the halfway stage.
The home team from USA was close behind in second on just a time fault with Israel third on four faults. Brazil were next best on eight faults with Canada and Britain on 12 faults. Mexico and Colombia finished round one on 20 faults.
In the second round, Shane Sweetnam with Karlin Van’t Vennehof kept Ireland in control by completing a double clear performance.
Bertram Allen and Castlefield Vegas (ISH) finished with four faults before Michael Duffy and Zilton SL Z also completed with a single fence down.
An excellent second round performance from the USA saw them add nothing to their first round score and even another Irish clear from Cian O’Connor as anchor rider with Cadiz, couldn’t deny the home team victory.
USA win Nations Cup
The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team of Lillie Keenan aboard Fasther and Brian Moggre with Balou De Reventon. Bliss Heers on Antidote De Mars and Jessica Springsteen riding Don Juan Van Donkhoeve were the other US combinations. The team finished on just a time fault with Ireland second on four faults.
Brazil were third on 14 with Israel fourth on 16 faults. Canada came fifth on 20, Britain completed with 24 faults for sixth place. Colombia (29 faults) were seventh while Mexico finished eighth on 33 faults.
The winning team were presented with the Denis Quinlan Memorial Trophy. Denis, who passed away in September 2020, was originally from Co Limerick before moving to Wellington, Florida, and was instrumental in starting Nations Cup jumping in Florida and in supporting Irish riders.