Wednesday 13 December 2017

Equestrian: Lynch unsure over Irish future

Denis Lynch. Photo: Getty Images
Denis Lynch. Photo: Getty Images

Louise Parkes

Show jumper Denis Lynch says he is still unsure whether he will compete on the Irish team this summer.

Ireland have yet to qualify for next year's Olympic Games in London, and Lynch would be a key player in the last-chance effort to make the cut through a good team performance at the European Championships in Madrid in September.

But speaking last Sunday following his superb victory in the last leg of the Western European League qualifying series at 's-Hertogenbosch, Holland, which earned him a place at next month's World Cup final in Leipzig, Germany, the Tipperary man said that concerns he raised recently with team management are still getting in the way of his commitment to the team.

After he met with Chef d'Equipe Robert Splaine on February 28, the national governing body, Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), stated that "progress was made on all the issues raised, and it is hoped that matters will be fully resolved shortly". But Lynch, who earlier this year threatened to transfer his allegiance to Germany if his concerns were not tackled, told the Irish Independent on Sunday evening that the situation remains unresolved.

Asked about participating on the Irish team this summer, the German- based rider said: "I spend 48 to 50 weekends a year on the road, this is a tough sport and I've always been happy to jump for Ireland and to make my horses available to the team -- but whether I'll be back this year, well, only time will tell. After today, I want to concentrate on the World Cup Final in Leipzig and then we'll see after that. As it stands at the moment, I am not jumping for the Irish team."

A HSI spokesman said yesterday that "negotiations with Denis Lynch are ongoing and we have no further comment to make."

Meanwhile Lynch, whose top horse, Lantinus, is now back in action after a three-month injury lay-off, will be joined at the Rolex FEI World Cup final at the end of April by Billy Twomey, who has been enjoying a spectacular run of form.

And an up-and-coming Irish rider will benefit from Twomey's great talent and experience later this year as a week's training with the British-based Cork man is the prize for the Leading Young Rider in the forthcoming Leinster Mini Grand Prix League.

This kicks off at the Horseware Louth County Show in Dundalk, where the Premier Grand Prix League series also gets under way on April 24.

Irish Independent

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