MILLSTREET Horse Show organisers expressed delight at the turnout to the annual gathering in the picturesque Green Glens setting.
The drawing power of Millstreet was again borne out by the huge level of entries and attendances. On doing so, Millstreet maintained its status as a celebration of the strong equestrian tradition within Ireland. Over six days, patrons from far and wide flocked to the spacious Green Glens venue. They were provided with the opportunity to view some of the country's best Irish riders jump for honours while some of the foremost young horses and their owners searched for honours in the showing classes.
A combination of features helped to maintain the show's interest inside and outside the arenas.
Many people holidayed at home this summer and a trip to the South West Region took in a visit to Millstreet. And a newly married couple whose dedication to equestrian sport knows no bounds saw Welsh couple Taylor and Helen Croke honeymoon and compete in Millstreet.
"We got married the previous Friday and it was a case of loading up the horses and getting to the Millstreet Show via Dublin", said Helen.
Huge attendances convened on the Green Glens location and amongst those present were social personalities Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin with Apprentice star Brian Purcell, musician Liam O'Connor and Chef de Equippe Robert Splaine.
A beaming Show Director Noel C Duggan expressed delight at the success of the show, boosted by increased entries, attendance and trade exhibits.
"We worked extremely hard on continually improving our facilities and we had many new additions and surprises for spectators and competitors. Entries flooded for all categories with the new National Eventing Discovery proving popular," he said.
International rider Cian O'Connor blazed a victory trail to dominate the €21,000 Grand Prix on the closing day.
Blowing away the opposition, O'Connor took first place on Ballymore Eustuce and for good measure added second place with Carpe Diem. Staged on a sand-based arena, only five riders survived the opening round from a starting field of more than 30.
In the jump off, O'Connor and Carpe Diem went clear in 49.24 seconds. Waterford's Francis Connors incurred faults with Dansson as did Touch Of Aldatus and Vincent Howley.
Back came Cian O'Connor to better his previous time by a mere 0.04 of a second with Ballymore Eustuce.
Francis Connors had a late chance to salvage matters but the highly rated Heracross had time and jump faults.
Paying tribute to Millstreet, Cian O'Connor was delighted with his success rate in North Cork.
"This is a super place to develop a horse and its terrific when the plans work out", he said
O'Connor added the prestigious Boomerang Championship. The competition identifies potential stars of the future. Outright victory belonged to O'Connor and Everything, the duo scooped the pot to deliver a spectactular display in the jump off to enjoy a second clear round.
Saturday's Millstreet Derby saw the arena buzzing where the thrills and spills of a big course tested the resolve of both horse and rider. Just seven survived the first round and in the jump off, Tom Byrne and Olive Clarke had fences down.
Former world champion Dermot Lennon took up the running and set a formidable target with Marko Poulo with a clear in a staggering 44.03seconds. The nearest to challenge saw UK based Shane Breen in runner-up place on Milord D'Elle while Cork's Billy Twomey who's also UK-situated secured third place aboard Tinka's Serenade.
The Speed Derby attracted a big entry with a Cork combination securing success. Newmarket Clance owned by Billy Daly and ridden by David Blake produced a dare devil clear round in a time of 63.93 seconds to earn a win. Runner up place belonged to Daragh Kenny and Le Roi de Noir with Jordan Coyle and Lorco Gii in third position.