Another day, another medal for Ireland at the highest level of sport. Today the celebrations are rolling our way from the World Equestrian Games where Team Ireland won the Silver Medal in the Eventing competition and secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Padraig McCarthy also won Silver in the individual competition.
One of the most closely-fought competitions in the history of the Games went right down to the wire in the final Show Jumping phase. Competing as an individual, Cork’s Patricia Ryan was the first Irish rider to jump and went clear with Dunrath Eclipse (ISH) to finish in 61st overall.
Galway’s Cathal Daniels, the youngest competitor in the competition at just 22, finished with just one fence down with Rioghan Rua (ISH) and finished 26th individually on 41.6. Ireland’s second team rider Sam Watson, was under real pressure entering the arena after watching Japan and France produce clear rounds. The Carlow rider kept his cool and guided Horseware Ardagh Highlight to a perfect clear. It saw Watson rise up to 14th individually.
Tipperary’s Padraig McCarthy started the day in seventh place, however a clear round with Mr Chunky not only guaranteed Ireland a medal, but also gave him a chance of a podium finish. That came to be with a Silver after all the competitors had completed the course.
Meath’s Sarah Ennis had one fence down with Horseware Stellor Rebound, but kept it at that score to ensure Ireland would take a memorable team silver. It left Ennis in a hugely impressive fifth place individually at the finish.
Asked about what today’s result means for Irish Eventing, team manager Sally Corscadden told Horse Sport Ireland PR Manager Brian Hennessy who has been keeping Irish media up to date throughout the competition that “It’s absolutely huge, we are making history here today when you think about it.”
“I had belief in these guys that we could be competitive and that was our goal the whole time, to be competitive and we just stuck to that goal and this is where it got us. I think we pushed those Brits too and made them a little nervous.”
“There was nothing lucky about this. This was made to happen by the whole set-up and the team behind them, I just can’t tell you how many people have worked to make this happen.”
“I am just so proud of all involved,” added Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy.
“This is another incredible achievement by our athletes. Our Eventing team manager Sally Corscadden and all her support staff have put in an incredible amount of hard work to make this happen.”
“The athletes themselves have shown professionalism, hard work and dedication. I want to thank Sport Ireland for their extra support given in this World Equestrian Games year and all our very loyal sponsors. Most of all I want to thank the owners and breeders of these wonderful horses and of course all the horses’ grooms who have kept the show on the road under very testing conditions. It is a great day for Irish sport and for the Irish Sport Horse industry as a whole.”
The first World Equestrian Games were held in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Co Down’s Dermot Lennon won individual gold in Show Jumping in 2002 at Herez in Spain but today marks Ireland’s first team medal at a World Equestrian Games.
Ireland did previously win a team gold medal in an Eventing World Championships in 1966 at Burghley in Great Britain. with a team that included Virginia Freeman-Jackson, Eddie Boylan, Penelope Moreton and Tommy Brennan.
Ireland will bid for further glory on Wednesday, when the Irish Show Jumping team of Shane Sweetnam, Paul O’Shea, Shane Breen and Cian O’Connor, led by Rodrigo Pessoa begin their World Equestrian Games campaign.
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