Ireland failed to secure a show jumping team place at next summer’s London Olympic Games when finishing ninth in the European championships in Madrid. The Irish squad of Shane Sweetnam, Nicola FitzGibbon, Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey went into the team finale in seventh place and they had to maintain their position to secure a place in London.
First to jump, Sweetnam and Amaretto d’Arco lowered two fences, as they did on Thursday, to complete in 30th position individually on a score of 19.46. Nicola FitzGibbon had a disappointing first appearance at the championships and, with 20 faults on Puissance, again provided the discard score.
Denis Lynch and Lantinus put in their best performance of the week with just one down but, in contrast, Billy Twomey and Tinka’s Serenade, who had two clears to their credit, had their worst round when lowering three of the last four obstacles for 12 faults on the day.
Ten nations took part in an exciting conclusion to the team event where the placings changed constantly. Germany, the most successful country in the history of the championships, eventually landed title number seven with France taking silver. Great Britain narrowly won bronze ahead of the Netherlands who secured one of the Olympic places with Sweden (fifth) and Switzerland (sixth) taking the other two.