Ireland finishes fifth in thrilling Nations’ Cup Final

IRELAND finished fifth tonight (Saturday) of the eight teams that had qualified for the world’s ultimate team jumping competition – the FEI Furusiyya Nations’ Cup Final at Barcelona.
Nineteen nations took part in Thursday’s opener, but 11 failed to make the cut for tonight’s final under floodlights at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.
A punishing course of jumps allowed only two clear rounds to appear on the scoreboard by the halfway stage after 16 of the world’s top riders had jumped in the single round contest, and at the final bell only seven riders of 32 competing had come home on a zero score.
One of those was Ireland’s Cian O’Connor on the nine year-old Good Luck, who were under pressure as the team’s anchor combination, but the clear round allowed Ireland to finish on a 12 fault total, alongside Germany and the United States.
Ireland’s pathfinder, Denis Lynch with All Star, had two fences down, while Greg Broderick and MHS Going Global finished on four faults. Twenty year-old Bertram Allen, recovering from a broken collarbone sustained in a fall last month, had eight faults with the mare Molly Malone.
Though sharing a 12 fault total with two other nations, Ireland finished fifth based on the team’s accumulated time on course. The Nations’ Cup Final winners were Belgium on four faults, with Great Britain in silver medal position with eight faults, and the Netherlands in the bronze medal slot, also on eight faults, but with a slower time than the British team.
Ireland’s Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine said after the contest: “This was a huge track tonight and by the halfway stage when 16 riders had gone there were only two clear rounds on the board, and that is an indication of how difficult this course was for some of the best combinations in the world.
“I was disappointed, as were the riders, that we didn’t finish on a better score, as one fence less would have put us in silver medal position.
“Denis and Bertram had an uncharacteristic eight faults each. MHS Going Global and Good Luck are world class and I have gone on record as saying Cian O’Connor’s horse Good Luck is arguably the best show jumper in the world at present, and the horse’s performance tonight, producing a perfect clear round under tremendous pressure, is further proof of that, if proof were needed.”
NATIONS CUP FINAL BARCELONA- IRISH SCORES
Team Total 12 faults
Denis Lynch (39) from Tipperary with All Star 5
(owned by Thomas Straumann) 8 faults
Greg Broderick (29) from Tipperary with MHS Going Global (ISH)
(owned by Caledonia Stables) 4 faults
Bertram Allen (20) from Wexford with Molly Malone V
(owned by Ballywalter Farms) 8 faults
Cian O’Connor (36) from Meath with Good Luck
(owned by Adena Springs) 0 faults

oconnor_good_luck