EQUESTRIAN: Allen stars for Irish in medals bonanza
Irish riders collected a massive medal haul at the European Pony Championships in Jaskowo, Poland, over the weekend.
The showjumpers and eventers took team silver, 15-year-old Bertram Allen claimed individual jumping silver and eventer Jodie O'Keeffe won individual bronze.
The event organisation was chaotic, with the pure dressage delayed to rectify the poor going in the arena, and there was disappointment for the British who were awarded joint-bronze only to have their medals taken back when a scoring error was discovered.
In the showjumping team competition, however, the British pipped the Irish for gold by just a single fault while Holland took bronze.
Irish pathfinder was 2010 individual gold medallist Allen -- with the wonder-pony Acapella Z -- who kept a clean sheet first time out. And when Max O'Reilly-Hyland (Rock Dee Jay) had one time fault and both Michael Duffy (Kadia Mouche) and Emma O'Dwyer (Jacknell Street) had one fence down, the Irish were trailing by five faults at the halfway stage.
Clears from O'Reilly-Hyland and O'Dwyer second time out saw them threaten for the lead, but the British completed with eight on the board while Ireland's total was nine.
In yesterday's individual final the medals were decided in a three-way jump-off between Britain's Beth Vernon and Jessica Mendoza and Allen. Vernon and her mare Falaza pipped Allen for gold, leaving Mendoza with bronze while Ireland's Emma O'Dwyer finished fourth.
The eventers missed team gold by a smaller margin as Josh Pim, Lucy Latta, Ana O'Brien and Jodie O'Keeffe completed with a combined score of 157.8, just 0.1 behind the victorious French.
O'Keeffe clinched individual bronze with Castleview Rakish Milly.