Ireland’s Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa this evening announced his team for the vital Barcelona Nations Cup Final, where Ireland will have its last chance to qualify a show jumping team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
With no team qualified since 2004, enormous pressure will be placed on this week’s four riders and horses to break Ireland’s Olympic team drought in the discipline, especially since both Irish dressage and eventing teams have already qualified for Tokyo.
Pessoa’s team will line out at Barcelona on Thursday in the following jumping order:
Peter Moloney – Chianti’s Champion
Paul O’Shea – Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu
Darragh Kenny – Balou du Reventon
Cian O’Connor – PSG Final
While 11 of the teams at Barcelona have already qualified for the Olympics, Ireland will find itself up against six other nations striving to capture the single Tokyo team place on offer – Norway, Egypt, Italy, Portugal, Colombia and Spain (the host nation).
With the first, one-round, competition taking place on Thursday at 1pm Irish time, Ireland’s Kenny, O’Shea, Moloney and O’Connor will have to maintain a very high standard of jumping to proceed to Sunday’s final.
Only the top eight teams from Thursday’s competition will go forward to Sunday’s Grand Final.
Ireland has been drawn to jump eighth of the 18 teams competing on Thursday, with Brazil the first team into the Real Club de Polo arena.