Horse Sport Ireland chief Damian McDonald has explained exactly why the decision was taken to replace Denis Lynch in the Irish Olympic team.
Lynch was replaced by Cian O’Connor in the Irish show jumping team after the disqualification of his mount Lantinus during the Nations Cup event at Aachen last week.
“Unfortunately Denis Lynch’s horse Lantinus was disqualified in Aachen last Friday. His horse was found to be hypersensitive,” McDonald said on RTÉ’s Sport At 7.
“Hypersensitivity can be naturally occurring and there was no finding of wrong doing against Denis Lynch out of that.
“Unfortunately two other horses ridden by Denis in the past twelve months have tested positive for hypersensitivity and that meant this was the third incidence of hypersensitivity. He was disqualified from the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 so obviously that caused us a great deal of concern.
“We have a procedure which is set out in our selection criteria under article 2.8 to deal with matters like this, that was sent to the riders back in 1 March.
“We made it very clear that if we had any concerns about riders that we could require them to appear in front of the monitoring committee and that the monitoring committee could deal them ineligible for selection if their concerns weren’t satisfied.
“On Monday Denis attending a meeting of the monitoring committee in Dublin and after hearing (his) explanation and commitments and so on, the committee decided that its concerns hadn’t been satisfied and we had to take the decision to withdraw Denis’ nomination from the Olympic Council.”
When asked why Lynch’s explanations at the meeting had not satisfied the committee, McDonald pointed to those similar past occurrences of hypersensitivity and concerns that his horse could be disqualified in London.
“I think the reality of the situation is that horses ridden by Denis have been disqualified three times in the past twelve months. If it so happened that Denis’ horse that he was bringing to the games was found to be hypersensitive, even if there was no wrong doing, the horse would be disqualified.
“Our sport can’t afford to have anyone disqualified at the Olympic Games again.
“This is not about what happened in Aachen, it’s about concerns we have arising out of the fact that this has happened to a horse ridden by Denis three times in the last twelve months,” McDonald stressed.