The Irish Show Jumping team finished fourth in the Longines FEI Nations Cup at La Baule in France, the side’s first opportunity of the season to score points in Europe’s top division.
A close contest saw Ireland finish the competition five faults behind the winners Switzerland, who took the top prize on a four-fault score.
Belgium finished as runners-up on five faults, with France taking third place on the podium on eight faults – just ahead of the Irish team on nine faults. Brazil, who won at La Baule in 2018, finished fifth, with Germany sixth, Britain seventh and Canada eighth.
Rodrigo Pessoa’s Ireland side were third place at the halfway stage as Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and Indra Van De Oude Heihoef picked up just one time fault. Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu lowered a single pole to finish with 4 faults, before Darragh Kenny with Balou Du Reventon gave Ireland a clear round when third to go. Ireland’s anchor rider, Cian O’Connor, completed the course with one fence down with Irenice Horta to leave Ireland on five faults after the opening round.
Sweetnam got Ireland off to a great start in round two with a foot-perfect clear round. Limerick rider O’Shea repeated his four-fault score from round one but Ireland lost touch with the leaders when Offaly man Kenny finished with eight faults in his second round. An impressive clear from O’Connor ensured Ireland took fourth place at the finish.
The result gives Ireland 70 league points on their first outing in Europe Division 1 ahead of their next opportunity to score Nations Cup points at Sopot in Poland on Sunday, June 16th.