Irish make hay in the Sunshine state
Irish show jumpers have been on top form in Florida of late, with the Nations Cup in Ocala being included in the list of wins achieved recently.
Competing in the warm Florida sunshine, the team of Darragh Kenny, Lorcan Gallagher, Kevin Babington and Conor Swail swept to victory in the FEI Furusiyya Nations' Cup when finishing on a total of just four faults.
Ireland's victory was made remarkable by the fact that it was the first time all four horses had competed at Nations' Cup level, while 23-year-old Gallagher from Co Down was making his debut in a senior team.
Ireland was up against five other teams, and the USA and Canada were favourites to win, but the Irish quartet were in command from the outset with four consecutive clears in the first round.
Carrick-on-Suir native Kevin Babington, riding the 10-year-old mare Shorapur, delivered another clear in the second round, as did Swail with Grafton, ensuring an against-the-odds Irish victory.
The USA finished on eight faults, while Canada and Colombia tied for third place on 12 faults.
Afterwards Irish show jumping team manager Robert Splaine said: "Four clears in the first round with four new horses was exceptional, and then to get double clears from Kevin and Conor was superb. Man of the match has to be Lorcan Gallagher, who did an exceptional job in his first time at this level.
"There is a great tradition between the US and Ireland with so many of our riders now based here, and Ocala proved to be a superb show. Our victory was only made possible by the great owners who support the team."