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Monday 26 September 2016

Young Irish riders make history in Millstreet

Siobhán English

Published 10/08/2016 | 02:30

Irish chef d’equipe, Comdt. John Ledingham
Irish chef d’equipe, Comdt. John Ledingham

History was made recently as the Irish young rider team claimed its first ever gold medal at the European Showing Jumping Championships in Millstreet in Cork.

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After a tough afternoon of competition, the quartet of Michael Duffy (Felix), Matt Garrigan (Contino), Gavin Harley (Understone Van de Kapel) and Max O'Reilly Hyland (Ahmed Du Calvaire) emerged the best of 10 teams, with the Netherlands taking silver and bronze going to Switzerland.

Ireland were actually tied for the lead with Belgium on a zero score at the halfway stage following clear rounds from Duffy riding Felix, Garrigan with Contino and O'Reilly Hyland with Ahmed Du Calvaire.

The second round saw Ireland add just five faults to their total. Duffy came home with just a time fault, while Garrigan lowered a single fence. Ireland's last rider, Gavin Harley with Understone Van de Kapel, delivered a perfect clear to seal the gold medal.

Afterwards chef d'equipe, Comdt. John Ledingham, said: "We are absolutely thrilled. We have won many underage medals over the years but this is in fact our first young rider team gold.

"There was an incredibly strong line-up of Europe's top teams here in Millstreet and to come away with the gold is a fantastic achievement. A huge amount of credit must go to the riders, their parents and the owners who put their horses forward to represent Ireland.

"One of these owners, Stanny Van Paesschen from the Netherlands, has been a huge supporter of Irish show jumping over the years and he along with all our owners have shown enormous generosity."

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