The Irish Show Jumping team, sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange and Devenish, are in a share of bronze medal position and just one fence off the gold, following a thrilling second day of jumping at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ireland have comfortably qualified as one of 10 teams who will now go forward to the medal-deciding final round of the team competition on Friday night in Gothenburg, where all faults picked up so far are carried forward.
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z were first to go for Ireland and they produced an outstanding clear round to get Rodrigo Pessoa’s team off to an excellent start. Ireland’s second combination, Wexford’s Bertram Allen and Hector van d’Abdijhoeve unfortunately were eliminated after a fall at fence 10. Thankfully both horse and rider were uninjured, but this meant Ireland would have to count any faults gained by their final two riders.
Tipperary’s Denis Lynch and All Star looked to be heading for a perfect clear. However the last fence fell to the floor leaving them with just 4 faults. Ireland’s anchor rider, Meath-based Cian O’Connor with Good Luck, then delivered a foot-perfect clear round as last to go. This left Ireland on a two round total of 12.11 penalties – the exact same score as the Belgian team. Host’s Sweden are in gold medal position heading into the final day on 8.21 penalties, with Switzerland in silver medal spot on 11.15. Italy are in fifth on 15.25, with Germany sixth (15.52), Spain seventh, France eighth, Austria ninth and Netherlands in tenth.
Ireland are also sponsored by Equiline and afterwards team manager Rodrigo Pessoa said:
“We are happy with the first two days, we had three really solid rounds today. Shane [Sweetnam] was super, he executed the plan really great and got us off to a perfect start. Denis [Lynch] was really unlucky to have a fence down. I thought he placed the horse really well and gave the horse every chance to jump the last fence but he just tipped it. Cian is very experienced, he knows the drill. This is not his first time at the rodeo, and he knows he is sitting on a super horse and it’s great to have them as an anchor. Most probably it will take at least two clear rounds tomorrow for us to have a chance to win a medal. We jumped two clears today, we need at least two more tomorrow.”
Pessoa also gave an update on Bertram Allen and his horse Hector van d’Abdijhoeve,
“We have decided that in the interest of the safety of the horse and the confidence of the rider, Bertram and Hector will not jump tomorrow. The welfare of the horse is our number one priority.”
In the individual standings, Shane Sweetnam is in sixth (2.1 pens), Cian O’Connor seventh (2.25), with Denis Lynch also well positioned in 24th on 7.76. Sweden’s Peder Fredricson is in the lead with H&M All In. The top 25 individuals following Friday evening’s team final will go forward to the individual final on Sunday.
Article Source: Horse Sport Ireland
Image courtesy Horse Sport Ireland Image Archive
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