Ireland were unable to repeat last year’s victory in the Nations Cup of Switzerland when finishing seventh of the eight nations at St. Gallen this afternoon.
Circumstances were different on this occasion as Rodrigo Pessoa’s team were not competing for points, whereas last year it was one of Ireland’s qualifiers and Robert Splaine had his strongest team at his disposal.
Ireland were fifth to jump today and Dermott Lennon opened with four faults on Loughview Lou-Lou. Richard Howley (Chinook) and Anthony Condon (Balzac) followed with four each before anchorman Mark McAuley almost delivered the elusive clear when flawless until the last.
Ireland were on 12 faults at halfway alone in fifth, and while Howley and McAuley had another four each in round two, Lennon and Condon posted eight-fault rounds to see Ireland slip down to seventh.
The story of the day was France’s capitulation from a zero first round score to a 26-fault second round effort, despite a double-clear from Roger-Yves Bost on Sangria du Coty.
Italy took full advantage and last rider Lorenzo De Luca sealed the contest on Armitages Boy when posting his country’s third clear of the second round. It was Italy’s second win in succession, having taken their home nations cup last week. “I’m not surprised we won,” said De Luca. “We never had two good teams like this before but now we are very strong.”
Switzerland kept the home fans happy by holding out for second with a closing clear by Steve Guerdat on Bianca. while Germany ended up in third thanks to a faultless showing in round two.
Nations Cup Of Switzerland
1. Italy 9; 2. Switzerland 12; 3. Germany 13; 4. Belgium 17; 5. Sweden 24; 6. France 25. 7. Ireland 28; 8. Brazil 41.
Irish scores: Dermott Lennon/Loughview Lou-Lou 4/8; Richard Howley/Chinook 4/4; Anthony Condon/Balzac 4/8; Mark McAuley/Utchan De Belheme 4/4.