The heat turns up for Ireland when its show jumping team lines out at Hickstead in England tomorrow for the penultimate leg of the 2019 Nations Cup series.

Not only has Ireland been drawn first to jump of the eight teams competing, but will also feel the pressure to repeat its 2018 victory in what is predicted to be searing 35º heat at the West Sussex venue on Friday.

Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa has named his team of four to jump as follows:

Anthony Condon – SFS Aristio
Brian Cournane – Armik
Michael Duffy – Mullaghdrin Touch The Stars
Paul O’Shea – Imerald Van’t Voorhof

To add to the pressure on Ireland, Hickstead is the only points-scoring team event before the series wraps up at Dublin in a fortnight’s time, and Pessoa will be hoping that points from the two events will secure Ireland a place at October’s Nations Cup Barcelona Final, where a so far elusive single team ticket for Tokyo 2020 is available.

Pessoa said after this evening’s draw: “We are expecting a tough competition. Some riders from the teams here will be looking to do enough to get a place on the squads for Dublin and will also be aiming for the Europeans so it will be very tough, but we are hoping to do well.” 

The Hickstead Nations Cup, which begins at 2:15pm Irish time, will be available on FEItv here.

Other teams taking part are Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden and the USA.

-Jack Burns