With a disappointing result at Rotterdam Nations Cup in June, show jumping team manager Rodrigo Pessoa is fielding another all-star squad for Ireland’s fourth points-scoring show of the series at Falsterbo in Sweden next Friday.
Ireland’s squad, from which four riders will be selected for the team prior to July 14th, is:
Bertram Allen with Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve
Denis Lynch with All Star 5
Mark McAuley with Miebello
Cian O’Connor with Callisto
Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z
Pessoa said, after announcing his selection: “We are in the final stretch of the FEI Nations Cup season with three big events at Falsterbo, Hickstead and Dublin leading up to the European Championships. This is a crucial time in the season. We are looking for our first Division 1 win and are hoping it will come sooner or later.”
Ireland, after finishing equal fifth at Rotterdam, now lies in seventh place on the European Division 1 table on 210 points, quite far off leader Italy’s 345 points.
Pessoa must ensure that Ireland stays in the top seven in order to qualify for September’s Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, but also has to juggle his priorities as he looks ahead to the horse and rider resources he will need for the vital European Show Jumping Championships in Gothenburg this August.
It is unlikely that the Brazilian will field Ireland’s top combinations at the Dublin Horse Show Nations Cup (Aga Khan) this year, as he will need to hold plenty in reserve for Gothenburg, where the championships start just eight days after the Dublin show finishes.
Ultimately, Pessoa must focus on qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, for failure to field an Olympic show jumping team for the fourth time in succession would raise serious questions about Ireland’s overall management abilities at the top level of the sport.
Standings in FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 after round 5 in Rotterdam:
1. Italy – 345
2. Sweden – 307.5
3. France – 302.5
4. Germany – 285
5. Switzerland – 250
6. Spain – 250
7. Ireland – 210
8. Netherlands – 190