Award in memory of Rescue 116
It was a bitter-sweet moment for Alicia Devlin Byrne recently as she accepted The Connemara Championship award at the annual Wicklow Branch of the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association.
The show took place in Spruce Lodge, Redcross on June Bank Holiday Monday by kind permission of The Keogh Family. Branch member Alicia won seven of the 23 classes on the day as well as the Irish Draught working hunter qualifier with her horse 'King Flagmount'.
They will go forward to defend their title as winners of last year's inaugural Irish Horse Gateway working hunter class at the national show which will be held in Punchestown later in the season. The Connemara Championship was dedicated to the crew of Rescue 116 who tragically lost their lives on March 14. Alicia was presented with the trophies for both Connemara Champion and Reserve Champion by Mr John Fitzpatrick, father of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick of Rescue 116.
Having won both the ridden and working hunter classes on her prolific award-winning pony 'Blackwood Fernando' it seemed that fate had a hand to play in this result.
Alicia's parents Bernard and Claire are close friends of the Fitzpatrick family and knew Dara from early childhood.
Taking home these perpetual trophies dedicated to their friend and her crew was bitter sweet but they were carried away with great pride and will be treasured like no other.