Ireland produced a breathtaking display of world class show jumping last nights Canadian Nations’ Cup to win the trophy with a total of six clear rounds.
Under Team Manager Robert Splaine, the Irish quartet of Conor Swail, Darragh Kerins, Richie Moloney and Cameron Hanley delivered a remarkable succession of zero scores in the first round at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, with Swail and Hanley both repeating the magic in the second round to secure a definitive victory over six other teams from the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Co. Down’s Swail was the pathfinder for the Irish team on Susan and Ariel Grange’s stallion Lansdowne, with Sligo’s Darragh Kerins next to go clear aboard the grey gelding E Muze Yek, which is jointly owned by the rider and Maarten Huygens.
Kilkenny’s Richie Moloney and the stallion Carrabis Z, which is owned by Equinimity LLC, delivered Ireland’s third clear round, while Mayo’s Cameron Hanley, making his Nations’ Cup debut after an almost two year injury lay-off, gave Ireland a remarkable fourth consecutive zero score on Eleonore Paschoude and Yves Bouvier’s gelding Antello Z.
With the USA team close behind on five faults at the halfway stage, Swail and Lansdowne rose to the challenge with a double clear round, and although both Kerins and Moloney faulted on their second attempts, 40 year-old Hanley and Antello Z fought through the driving rain of a thunderstorm to give Ireland another clear round and a total tally of just four faults.
The United States finished second on nine faults after collecting a further four in the second round.
Afterwards Team manager Robert Splaine said: “This was a great achievement by the Irish team at an extremely high level, by taking on the best of the USA, Canada and Mexico and winning so convincingly. All our riders jumped a clear round, with double clears coming from Conor Swail and Cameron Hanley. It was great to see Cameron back at the top of his game in his first Nations’ Cup since his long injury lay-off, but overall I have to say it was a magnificent team performance, and I’d specially like to thank the owners, who made tonight possible.”