While not crucial to Ireland qualifying for the FEI Nations Cup Final this year, the team competition in Rome at the weekend is one more opportunity for manager Rodrigo Pessoa to search for the clear-round combinations that could help in the bid for an Olympic place at Tokyo in 2020.
With just a fourth place to show for the first points-scoring outing at La Baule in France last weekend, Pessoa knows that with only three Division One Nations Cups left in the calendar, he must focus more acutely on the 2019 European Championships to help gain that elusive Olympic spot.
In the nature of a topline talent-scouting fixture, Rome will give the Brazilian some more time to measure who he’ll shortlist for the championships, and who he’ll slot into the squads chasing the Nations Cup Final place.
The squad for the five-star meeting at Rome’s Piazza di Siena on Friday will be:
Mark McAuley – Jasco VD Bisschop
Anthony Condon – SFS Aristio
Cian O’Connor – PSG Final
Darragh Kenny – Important De Muze
Peter Moloney – Chianti’s Champion
Chef d’Equipe at Rome will be Michael Blake.
Meanwhile, after a decisive victory at the three-star Nations Cup in Drammen, Norway, last week, four Irish riders, with Taylor Vard as Chef, will compete in the Nations Cup at Uggerhaine in Denmark on Saturday.
The team will be:
Aidan Killeen – Fair Play
Ger O’Neill – Castlefield Vegas
Jenny Rankin – Bennys Legacy
Sofie Slattery – Valentine Du Bois Pinchet