Ireland have qualified a dressage team for the Olympic Games for the first time ever.

There were three places at the Tokyo Games up for grabs At the European Championships in Rotterdam to countries which had not yet qualified, among them Austria and France.

The clinching performance for Ireland came from Judy Reynolds, who set a new Irish record score to lift her country into one of the qualification spots.

Reynolds has competed in the OIympics as an individual, and produced a star turn along with team members Heike Holstein, Anna Merveldt - both also previous individual Olympians - and Kate Dwyer.

They finished on a final score of 213.540 to finish second of the eight teams who had been chasing one of the three tickets to Japan.

The competition began on Monday with Kate Dwyer first in for the Irish team with Snowdon Faberge scoring 66.180%, while the second Irish rider, Heike Holstein with the Irish-bred Sambuca, scored 69.472.

The remaining riders started competition at 7am this morning, with Ireland's third rider Anna Merveldt scoring 67.717 with the 10-year-old gelding Esporim.As Judy Reynolds entered the arena as last to go, Ireland were lying just outside the qualifying places in fourth of the eight teams looking for a ticket to Tokyo.

A breathtaking performance saw Judy and the Joe and Kathleen Reynolds-owned Vancouver K smash their own Irish Grand Prix record to score 76.351%.

Reynolds said: "I can't believe we have actually done it. We talked about it two years ago and it was like 'hey lets try and get a team to Tokyo' and I was thinking in the back of my head 'this is not going to be all that feasible', because at the time we didn’t really have the back up horses to do it.

"But it all came together, this year especially. Heike’s mare improved so much and Anna got the horse and improved it so much, from doing no Grand Prix to this.

"I was surprised myself that we have got to this level. I had an absolutely amazing ride. JP [Vancouver K] was just fantastic today, he was really with me, he let me ride him and just did everything I could have asked of him, he was just super."

The combined scores saw Ireland secure the second of the three Olympic places on offer along with Denmark and Portugal. Britain finished fourth after blood was found on the flank of double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin's mount Mount St John Freestyle, which meant automatic disqualifcation.

The Ireland showjumping team begin their quest to qualify for the Games for the first time since 2004 when their European Championships competition starts on Friday.