Olympic medallist Cian O’Connor is hopeful that Team Ireland can handle the favourites tag as they look to defend their Aga Khan Nations Cup title at the RDS today.  

Robert Splaine has selected O’Connor, Bertram Allen, Greg Broderick and Denis Lynch as the men to carry Irish hopes, with Darragh Kenny the man to miss out on the showpiece event which begins at 3pm (live coverage on RTÉ One from 1.30pm)

The Team Manager has said that the expectations will not affect the team – “We got to beat the course and if we do, and they all jump up to expectation, we’ll be fine” – and O’Connor admits that he is hopeful of repeating the success of 12 months ago.

“We’ve got a good team, but you never know in show jumping if anything goes wrong or if we all have an unlucky fence, but we’re quietly confident,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“Hopefully we can give the home crowd something to cheer about.”

Ireland has been drawn third to jump, behind the United States and Great Britain, and Splaine admits that it isn’t the ideal running order for his side.

“The draw is okay. It’s not as good as fourth, or fifth, or sixth, but somebody has to go third and that’s us. We’ll handle that.”

Dublin is traditionally the last of the Nations Cup Series but that is not the case this year with a changed calendar due to the Olympic Games.

Team Ireland currently lie in sixth place in the series, with Dublin being their last Nations Cup at which they can gain series points. Seven of the 10 nations that have competed in Europe Division I this season will qualify for Rio.