Twenty-one year old Cormac Hanley will take up his first senior Nations’ Cup slot on Sunday week (February 17) when he joins a formidable Irish squad at the first of the 2019 Cup series in Wellington, Florida.

The Mayo rider, son of Sinead and Charles Hanley and nephew of Cameron Hanley, will partner VDL Cartello in a squad selected by Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake for the Deeridge Farms venue.

The squad is:

Cormac Hanley – VDL Cartello

Darragh Kenny – Babalou 41 

Paul O’Shea – Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu 

Conor Swail – Rubens LS La Silla

Shane Sweetnam – Indra van de Oude Heihoef 

Blake will name his team of four nearer the date of the competition.

Cormac Hanley and VDL Cartello in action

This leg of the Nations Cup series is the only US qualifier for the FEI Nations Cup Final at Barcelona in September, but as a European nation Ireland can gain no points in Wellington.

Ireland’s first chance at racking up a score that will count towards the final is at La Baule in France on May 19 this year, and much attention is being paid to the fact that an Olympic team place is also available in Barcelona, should Ireland finish well. 

The six teams lining out at Wellington on Sunday week are Canada, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Mexico and USA.

Chef Michael Blake said today: “I think we have a very strong squad for this first Nations Cup of the season and I am confident we can do a good job. Cormac Hanley makes his first appearance on a senior Nations Cup squad after some very good recent performances and he adds a mix of youth to what is an experienced squad.”

-Jack Burns