A Tradition of Champions
A Tradition of Champions
A hugely impressive performance today (Thursday) from Michael Blake’s Irish Show Jumping team of Michael Duffy, Trevor Breen, Shane Sweetnam and Eoin McMahon, has seen them comfortably qualify as one of the top 10 teams who will go forward to tomorrow’s FEI European Championship final in Milan (ITA) to decide the team medals.
Ireland will go into Friday’s final in fourth place on a score of 10 penalties, and an incredibly tight leader board leaves Ireland less than one penalty off Germany who are in the gold medal spot. Less than one time penalty separates the top four teams of Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Ireland, to set up what promises to be an enthralling team decider on Friday afternoon with Ireland hoping to repeat their European team gold medal win from Gothenburg (SWE) in 2017.
Ireland started the day in fourth place after Wednesday’s opening speed competition. Michael Duffy was the first Irish team rider into the arena in the second round of action with the 14-year-old mare Cinca 3. An impressive clear round from the Galway rider got Ireland off to the perfect start.
Tipperary’s Trevor Breen and Highland President were next to go for the Irish and were clear coming to the last part of the course, but picked up 8 faults on the way home including a pole down at the troublesome last fence.
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and the Irish bred CSF James Kann Cruz (ISH), bred in Co Galway by Patrick Connolly, then gave Ireland a huge boost with a perfect clear as third to jump. Clare’s Eoin McMahon was the last of the Irish riders to jump with the 12-year-old mare Mila and a four fault score kept Ireland well in the hunt for the medals. Germany hold the lead on 9.31 penalties ahead of Sweden in silver on 9.51. Switzerland are in bronze on 9.92 just ahead of Ireland on 10.0. Austria are just over a fence further back in fifth on 16.77 while the home team from Italy are in sixth on 18.42. The Netherlands (19.29), Spain (21.59), France (22.47) and Great Britain (22.42) make up the 10 teams who have qualified for the final, while Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Portugal and Hungary all miss out.
Friday’s European Championship team final, where all teams carry forward their scores from the first two competitions, gets underway in Milan at 12.30pm Irish time.
On the individual standings, Michael Duffy is best of the Irish in 10th place while Shane Sweetnam is in 12th. Eoin McMahon lies in 16th place while Tipperary’s Denis Lynch is in 21st place competing as an individual with Vistogrand. The top 25 combinations following Friday’s team final will go forward to the individual final on Sunday.
CSF James Kann Cruz (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Kannan (KWPN) out of CSF Telly Cruz (ISH) by Cruising (ISH)[TIH]. Breeder: Patrick Connolly. Owner: Gizmo Partners, LLC. Rider: Shane Sweetnam (IRL).