Ireland took second place in tonight’s Nations Cup Challenge in Barcelona, a consolation event contested between the seven teams who were not among the eight qualifiers for tomorrow’s Final.
The word ‘consolation’ will have had a hollow ring to it for the Irish who felt they should have been in Saturday’s final after disputing the four faults imposed on Bertram Allen and Molly Malone at the water jump in yesterday’s qualifying round. Without those faults Ireland would have comfortably made the eight-nation cut by taking a share of second place on the day.
Despite the Irish having a strong case the water judge was not for turning, and faint hopes of a reprieve earlier today came to nothing.
As it turned out Ireland finished in a share of sixth place yesterday with Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland, but the need for an eight team-cut-off meant overall time had to be used as a tie-breaker and Ireland were slowest by just under half a second and relegated to ninth.
It left Rodrigo Pessoa’s team having to take their place instead in tonight’s consolation class which was won by UAE, whose first three riders left everything standing and only picked up three time faults between them, securing the win even before the third rider from all countries had jumped.
Shane Breen and Laith produced Ireland’s best round tonight, coming home in the clear when third of the quartet to jump. It followed a five-fault opening for Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z and four faults for Bertram Allen and Molly Malone. Despite nine faults from Denis Lynch and All Star at the finish, Ireland had done enough to take second place on a nine-fault total, ahead of Brazil who placed third on eleven faults.