The Irish Showjumping team won the three-star FEI Nations Cup at Drammen, Norway, a competition which attracted 14 countries.
Tyrone’s Jenny Rankin and Benny’s Legacy delivered a clear round of jumping, having just a time fault, when going off as Ireland’s pathfinder. Laois’s Aidan Killeen and Fair Play were the discard score in the first round with five faults, while Susan Fitzpatrick with Fellow Castlefield came home with just one fence down. Another Kilkenny rider, Ger O’Neill with the Irish Sport Horse Castlefield Vegas (ISH), jumped a perfect clear round to mean Ireland would finish the first round level with Norway on five faults.
In the second round, Rankin had a clear round, and with both Killeen and Fitzpatrick having just a single fence down each, Ireland began to take control.
Norway had slipped to third place at that stage as a good second round from Poland saw them finish on a two round total of 13 faults, meaning a fence down for O’Neill would result in a jump-off.
The Bennettsbridge rider produced a clear round of jumping with Castlefield Vegas (ISH), and though the combination had a time fault, the Shane Carey-managed side had enough in hand to win the competition on a 10 fault total, ahead of Poland in second, with hosts Norway finishing third.
A delighted Chef d’Équipe, Shane Carey, admitted the pressure of watching a Nations Cup rather than riding in one was a very different experience:
“I must say standing on the sidelines and watching was more difficult than I thought! It was difficult here, they have a new arena and it’s a really good show. It was a strong competition and even though we had four really good horses with four very good riders, it came down to the wire. We had a pole down here and there, otherwise we maybe could have finished it off earlier on but I must say I was pretty confident that we had as good a team as any here.”