Ireland finished equal third at the five-star Nations' Cup at La Baule this afternoon, with an in-form French quartet stealing the show with two double clear rounds, delighting the home crowd with a winning four fault team total, their first victory at the venue since 2010.
Irish pathfinder Denis Lynch lifted Irish hopes when going clear on Thomas Straumann's All Star 5, but the following three riders were unable to equal his zero score in the first round.
Cameron Hanley with Eleonore Paschoud & Yves Bouvier's Antello Z faulted once, as did Cian O'Connor and Adena Spring's Quidam's Cherie, while Billy Twomey on board C.T. Payne's Diaghilev had two fences down.
Lynch came back in the second round with four faults, as did Hanley, but O'Connor and Twomey lifted their game to produce zero scores, leaving Ireland in joint third place with Britain on a 12-fault team total at the finish.
Show jumping team manager Robert Splaine said after the Nations' Cup: "I'm a little disappointed for the lads, who came here believing they were good enough to win, and that was my belief, too.
"We were capable of being a bit better, and that little bit would have made a big difference, but nevertheless we're on the podium, with good points early in the season, so overall I'm satisfied with that achievement.
"There were three good clear rounds from Denis Lynch, Cian O'Connor and Billy Twomey, which helped us achieve today's finish. I'd like to thank the owners yet again for their support."
Belgium finished second of the eight teams competing in the second leg of the Division One Furusiyya 2014 season at La Baule, with an eight fault total.