Ireland will field its first FEI Longines Nations Cup team of 2018 at Samorin in Slovakia at noon on Sunday.

Samorin – making its debut as a Nations Cup venue – will see Ireland line out sixth of eight teams competing, and Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa has made his jumping selection as follows:

Shane Breen with Ipswich van de Wolfsakker
Mark McAuley with Utchan de Belheme
Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu
Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z

Other nations taking part include Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Brazil.

Samorin is one of five European Division 1 venues at which Ireland may pick up points for the Nations Cup series of 2018, including Dublin’s Aga Khan Trophy in August.

Rodrigo Pessoa

However, Pessoa is tasked with not only delivering Nations Cup success this year, but also preparing a top class Irish team to compete at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, where a top six finish in September would guarantee the end of a long Olympic team qualification drought for Ireland.

Pessoa last year also ended Ireland’s 16-year run of team medal failures at the European Jumping Championships when he steered Shane Sweetnam, Denis Lynch Bertram Allen and Cian O’Connor to gold medal victory.

Livestream coverage of the Samorin Nations Cup will be available at on Sunday from noon onwards.

-Jack Burns