Tributes have been paid to Irish showjumper Paul Darragh, who died suddenly at his home in Co Meath yesterday at the age of 51.

The Minister for Sport, John O'Donoghue, said that Mr Darragh was one of Ireland's best known international showjumpers and he would be a great loss to the showjumping community.

The President of the Equestrian Federation of Ireland, Avril Doyle, said that Mr Darragh was a huge loss to showjumping.

Mr Darragh's international career spanned a quarter of a century.

He joined Eddie Macken, Con Power and James Kernan on the Irish team that won the Aga Khan trophy in three consecutive years from 1977 to 1979.

He had many individual successes as well, including victories in the Hickstead Derby and the Grand Prix at the Dublin Horse Show.

A full 20 years after the first of those successes, Mr Darragh was on the team that won the trophy again in 1997 - his last major win on an Irish team.

Mr Darragh, who ran Waterside stud near Ashbourne, Co Meath, is survived by his wife and three children.