IRELAND'S show jumping team finished equal fourth with Brazil at Wellington in Florida in their first Nations' Cup of 2014 on Friday night, after a marathon competition that saw 12 teams taking part.
A clear round from Cian O'Connor and Quidam's Cherie helped the Irish make the cut for the second round, in which eight nations took part, and a further clear from Richie Moloney on Carrabis Z in the second round ensured that the Irish team stayed within the top rank.
While Ireland was not competing for points in the American and Caribbean section of the Furusiyya FEI league, they were nevertheless battling with teams from Canada, Mexico, and the host nation USA, for whom points were essential.
Canada ended up winning the competition, with the USA in third place and Mexico in sixth.
Irish team manager Robert Splaine said: "The Canadians and the USA are always particularly strong at this show, as it is part of the qualification series for them in the Furusiyya league.
"However, our performance was encouraging and we had some new partnerships making their debut in a Nations' Cup.
"Once again, we owe a huge debt to the owners. We need top horses and without owners we cannot fulfil our ambitions, and it was pleasing to see a new one being involved last night.
"It is important also not to underestimate the huge challenges ahead, and of course we must build on last night's performance."
Ireland finished on a 17-fault total over the two rounds, and the Irish team scores were as follows:
Shane Sweetnam/Eregast Van’T Kiezelhof (Owner: Spy Coast Farm LLC ) 4/4
Richie Moloney/Carrabis Z (Owner: Equinimity LLC) 8/0
Paul O'Shea/Lilli (Owner: Georgina Bloomberg) 5/4
Cian O'Connor/Quidam's Cherie (Owner: Adena Springs Stables) 0/8