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Equestrian: Ireland out of traps early in Nations Cup

Ireland are drawn first in today's Nations Cup at Lummen, Belgium, while Billy Twomey will be hoping to repeat his 2011 victory at the second leg of the Global Champions Tour season at Valencia tomorrow.

Twomey is joined by Denis Lynch and Mark MacAuley at the Spanish, fixture, which offers a prize-fund of €285,000 in the Grand Prix.

The Irish were runners-up in the 2012 Nations Cup opener at Wellington, Florida in March.

Dermott Lennon (Loughview Lou Lou) will be first into the ring at the Belgian fixture, followed by Alexander Butler (Will Wimble), Edward Doyle (Samgemgee) and Shane Breen (Cos I Can).

A good result for Robert Splaine's side would be a boost ahead of next week's Nations Cup Superleague opener at La Baule in France where the squad will include Lynch, Jessica Kuerten, Cian O'Connor, Shane Sweetnam and Niall Talbot.

O'Connor lines out this weekend alongside Paddy O'Donnell, Andrew Bourns and Clem McMahon at Le Touquet in France, while Denis Lynch will fly from Valencia to Mannheim tomorrow to join Capt David O'Brien for Sunday's big classes at the German fixture.

Kuerten and Alex Duffy compete at Ebreichsdorf, Austria and Bertram Allen and Ivan Dalton are on the start-lists at Fontainebleau, France. Shane Carey is in action at Drammen, Norway.

Irish Independent