Ireland’s show jumpers ended up third after a thrilling performance in this afternoon’s Swedish Nations Cup at Falsterbo which saw the team contest a three-way jump off with Germany and the Netherlands.
Rodrigo Pessoa’s team were outstanding in the first round, notching up three clears on the trot, Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z), Cian O’Connor (Callisto) and Mark McAuley (Miebello) all mastering Frank Rothenberger’s course in the Swedish sunshine, meaning fourth rider Denis Lynch did not have to bring out All Star until round two.
The Netherlands matched Ireland’s zero score at the break, though they required all four riders to do so, while Germany, USA and Sweden were just a fence behind.
Shane Sweetnam sent Irish hopes soaring when going clear again in round two, but a pole down by Cian O’Connor, and another by Mark McAuley, meant Denis Lynch had to jump clear with All Star to force a jump-off with the Dutch and Germany, who posted a faultless second outing to recover the four-fault half-way deficit.
Germany’s Markus Beerbaum was first to test the jump-off course and went clear on Comanche, chased by Denis Lynch who got All Star home quicker but at the expense of a pole down. Dutch rider Jur Vrieling completed the jump-off and left everything intact with the fastest time on VDL Glasgow V. Merelsnest to give the Netherlands a first victory in the league this season.
The third placing keeps Rodrigo Pessoa’s team poised to claim one of the seven places available from this Division for the Final in Barcelona in September.
One more third placing, or even a two-way share of third, from the remaining two qualifiers at Hickstead and Dublin, would be enough for the Irish to qualify, though less may be required depending on how the final two events work out.