A drama-filled first round of the Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup event at Barcelona today saw Ireland squeeze into the top eight teams who will go forward to Saturday’s Final at the Real Club de Polo grounds in Spain.

With 18 teams in total battling to qualify, Ireland kicked off with eight faults from Shane Breen and Golden Hawk, followed by four faults from Darragh Kenny and Go Easy de Muze.

With many teams tying on faults, pressure was on third-man-in, Denis Lynch and All Star, but an unfortunate pole on the floor saw the combination add four faults to the Irish team’s tally.

Today’s scoreboard at the end of Round One of the Furusiyya Nations’ Cup Final event at Barcelona

Carrying a total of eight faults, like Brazil and the Netherlands, had Ireland tying for seventh before their final rider Greg Broderick and MHS Going Global delivered a much-needed clear, but the final decider came down to aggregated team times and there were long nail-biting moments before calculations showed that Brazil was slower overall, thus yielding the eighth place to Ireland.

The Irish quartet now go forward to Saturday’s final, where the last round will decide what country will be the Nations’ Cup champions for 2016.

Today’s competition saw Germany, The United States and Belgium top the table, all on zero penalties.

Jack Burns