Equestrian: Irish trio shine on continent
Cian O'Connor, Trevor Breen and Denis Lynch all recorded strong third-place finishes in Grand Prix events across Europe last weekend as the annual migration of Irish riders to sunnier climes gained further momentum, writes Louise Parkes.
O'Connor is campaigning on the Spanish Tour, and finished his first week at 3-Star Vejar de la Frontera with another great performance from Larkhill Cruiser, which was less than a second off the winning time recorded by Brazil's Pedro Veniss in the Grand Prix.
This competition was a qualifier for the European Championships and a world rankings points-earner,
It further improved the position of Meath man O'Connor, who is rapidly rising up the rankings once more thanks to the sheer consistency of the Irish-bred gelding he purchased last November and which has brought him a string of successes ever since.
At Comporta in Portugal, Breen steered his 2009 Hickstead Speed Derby champion Adventure du Kannan into third in the 2-Star Grand Prix.
At Bremen in Germany, Lynch and All Star slotted into third in the 3-Star feature class.
This week Irish riders are heading for Arezzo in Italy, where the Tuscan Tour has attracted riders from all around the world.
Meanwhile, following former Defence Minister Eamon O'Cuiv's recommendation that the Army Equitation School should be retained, Fine Gael's defence spokesman David Stanton confirmed that its existence is secured.
Established in 1926, Irish riders in uniform have been flying the flag with distinction ever since, and rising army star Capt Michael Kelly has recorded back-to-back wins in the national HSI Chippison Tour over the last two weeks.