Greenhills end ten year hiatus to win team show jumping title

Greenhills Team G Alexander (Knockenpower Ginger) S Rooney (Navarone) R Dalton (Benny Hill), O Butler (Santero) with Mary Kane Chef & Gerry Thompson AIRC Vice presidentThe Kildare based club, who last won the championship in 2004 when they completed a hat trick of wins, needed a clear round from their captain Grainne Alexander who duly delivered on Knockenpower Ginger.
Team Chef d’Equipe Mary Kane said, “It’s been 10 years since we last won so we are delighted to win it again. Although the course was inviting, the weather conditions were difficult and when our captain had to go clear, thankfully Grainne showed her experience and competitive spirit to pull it off for the Club.”
“We had a great team this year and we are very appreciative of all the support we received both on the day and in the lead up to the event,” she added.
Nine teams qualified for the final which took place in Simmonscourt where nine double clear rounds were recorded during the two rounds over the 11 fence track which included 13 jumping efforts.
At the half way mark Clonshire were out in front on zero penalties after clear rounds from Rachel Lawson (Master Mix Cavalier), Lisa Wills (Clonshire Faith) and Marie Crosse (St Helene).
Benbulben, Greenhills, Hollybrook, and Killossery followed closely behind on 4 penalties while Carne and Mill Road were next in line on 8.
East Cork, who made their first appearance at the final, racked up 12 penalties after the first round while Meath were trailing on a total of 16 penalties.
East Cork and Meath couldn’t improve on their opening round performance to slot into eight and ninth respectively, however the biggest shock of the second round was the collapse of Clonshire.
The Limerick based club ended on 17 penalties after Lisa Willis was unfortunately eliminated for jumping the wrong course. Clare Woulfe picked up 13 penalties on Boomerang Don Kiote while Maire Crosse (St Helen) added another four to leave the club out of contention in seventh.
Mill Road added as further 8 penalties to bring their tally up to 16 to leave them in sixth place while Carne ended the day on a total of 12 after adding 4 penalties in the second round.
Benbulben, Killossery and Hollybrook were all level on 8 penalties after the second round while Greenhills had a slight advantage as it all came down to their captain, Grainne Alexander who needed a clear round to win the spoils outright but just one mistake from Knockenpower Ginger would have forced a four way jump-off.
The 12 year old ISH showed her experience as the chestnut mare produced a faultless performance under the guidance of Alexander to claim the title for the club.
Alexander was delighted with her round as she said afterwards, “having had 4 faults at the final fence in the first round, it was great to get another opportunity to put it right for the team. Thankfully, Knockenpower Ginger knows her job and jumped a great clear round to bring the trophy back to Greenhills!”
“It’s an achievement in itself to get to the final so to win the championship is something special. Many thanks to all our supporters, the stewards and organisers who withstood some serious showers to ensure the competition ran smoothly,” she added.
The team consisted of Olwyn Butler (Santero) and Sean Rooney (Navarone) who produced two double clear rounds for the team while Roland Dalton provided the discard score after he knocked just one fence in the opening round on Benny Hill.
Time decided the remaining places with Killossery taking place second place as the Dublin club had the fastest accumulative time in the second round ahead of Benbulben in third and Hollybrook in fourth.
The Association of Irish Riding Clubs would like to acknowledge and thank Horseware Ireland for their generous sponsorship of the qualifiers for this championship.

Credit: David Abbott