He said ” They qualified late but we were able to work closely together to ensure that they had the best possible support available in Hong Kong, it was a very positive performance”
Best of the Irish in the show jumping phase was Cork’s Austin O’Connor with ‘Hobby du Mee’, who returned a zero score and qualified for this evening’s Individual Final.
Capt. Geoff Curran and the Minister for Defence’s ‘Kilkishen’ returned just two time faults, while Louise Lyons and ‘Watership Down’ had two fences down and a single time fault.
Patricia Ryan from Bandon in Co. Cork with ‘Fernhill Clover Mist’ ran up 13 faults in total during show jumping, and she and Wexford’s Niall Griffin on ‘Lorgaine’, who had 12 faults this afternoon, were Ireland’s discard scores.
HSI High Performance Coach Ginny Elliott said afterwards: “This was a very solid accomplishment from our five riders and horses, who have all finished in the Olympic top 45. I am very proud of all of their performances, particularly in jumping and cross country, and the fact that we added just 11 penalties in the show jumping phase here today tells its own story.
“I believe we need more work in dressage but we now have something really worthwhile to build on. I am treating this as the beginning, not the end, and I will be announcing Ireland’s 2009 squad for the European Eventing Championships next month. The preparations for those championships start now.”
Ginny Elliott, who took up her High Performance role with the team in March this year, also paid tribute to Team Vet Marcus Swail and the Irish grooms. She said: “To get five horses all the way from Ireland to Hong Kong, and then to get them to the finish through a gruelling four days of competition here is a fantastic accomplishment. We could not have done it without them. We also owe a debt to Michael Quirke, who helped us so much with the show jumping.”
The Olympic Team Championship was won by Germany on 166.10 penalties, with favourites Australia having to settle for runner-up spot on a score of 171.20.
HONG KONG OLYMPIC THREE-DAY EVENTING FINAL RESULT
Tuesday August 12, 2008.
1) GERMANY 166.10 penalties
2) AUSTRALIA 171.20 penalties
3) GREAT BRITAIN 185.70 penalties
8) IRELAND 276.10 penalties
Patricia Ryan; Fernhill Clover Mist 126.50 (Discard)
Niall Griffin; Lorgaine 109.00 (Discard)
Capt. Geoff Curran; Kilkishen 94.10
Austin O’Connor; Hobby du Mee 87.20