Cork venue hosts eventing opener
Strong British contingent for international competition at Ballindenisk
Ireland's international three-day eventing season kicks off next weekend at Ballindenisk, Co Cork where the home riders will be vying for top places in each of the feature classes.
Just 12 combinations will contest the inaugural three-star, a new addition to the schedule this year.
The Irish will be represented in this class by two riders, Joseph Murphy (DHI Top Story) and Michael Ryan on Dunlough Striker. Murphy's mount has shown great promise and won on his first outing of the 2015 season at Kedrah Castle last month.
Heading the six-man British challenge will be Andrew James and Ben Hobday, while Katherine Coleman rides for the USA with Courage Under Fire.
British riders also dominate the entries in the two-star, with Oliver Townend taking over four horses - Note Worthy, Mr Hiho, Red Andes Fanfare and Colonel Joe. Piggy French, Andrew James and JP Sheffield are also among those travelling south. Tipperary-born Padraig McCarthy now rides for Britain, the birthplace of his partner Lucy Wiegersma, and brings over Philadelphia.
Among the Irish entries here are Michael Ryan (Apogee), Louise Lyons (Theatreworld), Ciaran Glynn (Gee Que), Jayne Doherty (The Precious One), Steven Smith (Bonito) and Aoife Clarke (Wasting Light).
As in previous years Ballindenisk will host the FEI Nations Cup, but this time just three nations will contest the second leg of this series. Ireland will be joined by riders from Britain and France, winners of the opening leg in Fontainebleau last week.
Irish riders here include Camilla Speirs with Portersize Just A Jiff, who finished a creditable sixth individually in the CCIO three-star in Burgham three weeks ago.