Ireland secure the Aga Khan trophy
Updated: Friday, 17 Aug 2012 20:08
The recent worldwide resurgence of Irish equestrian sport hit its zenith at the RDS this afternoon when the quartet of Darragh Kerins, Clem McMahon, Richie Moloney and Cian O'Connor claimed the Aga Khan trophy at the Dublin Horse Show for Ireland for the first time since 2004.
With just five faults on the board at the end of two thrilling rounds, the Irish team never looked in danger of conceding defeat.
When Kevin Staut collected four faults in France's last attempt to draw level, Ireland's anchorman and Olympic bronze medallist O'Connor did not need to jump for a second time to improve the Irish score.
Clones-born McMahon, and the eight-year-old Pacino, produced a double clear as pathfinder, while US-based Richie Moloney and Ahorn Van De Zuuthoeve had one time fault and a second-round zero score.
Kerins also flew in from his US base for the final round of the Superleague and produced a clear first round on the Irish sport horse Lisona, adding four in their second outing.
Meath-based Cian O'Connor, fresh from his Olympic success, was unlucky to have the very last rail down in an otherwise perfect opening round, but did not need to jump in the second round as Ireland's Aga Khan victory was already assured.
The result today also lifted Ireland well clear of the relegation zone in the Superleague, moving the nation to third place in the leaderboard of the world's top-eight show jumping teams.
Irish riders and horses have had a succession of outstanding results in the last month. O'Connor's Olympic bronze medal was complemented by a team fifth place in Olympic eventing and a seventh in individual eventing from Aoife Clark.
Yesterday, Ireland's junior show jumpers snatched the gold medal in the European Championships in Austria, while in July Ireland's under-16 pony eventing team swept to victory at the European Championships in Fontainebleau, France.
Galway's Cathal Daniels added to the under-16 triumph by winning the individual gold, and Tipperary's Ana O'Brien - daughter of racing's Aidan O'Brien - claimed bronze.
Last week, the Irish young rider team took the silver medal at the European Eventing Championships in Malmo, Sweden.