Heartache as Irish miss out on Olympic berth
Ireland's last-chance attempt at Olympic qualification was smashed to pieces yesterday by 24 expensive faults in the deciding round of the team competition at the FEI European Jumping Championships in Madrid.
And for Billy Twomey, the dream of individual glory was snatched away when Tinka's Serenade lowered three fences towards the end of the course.
Robert Splaine's side were holding onto the third of the three available qualifying spots for London 2012 as the class began, with just nine nations lining out due to the withdrawal of the Portuguese.
Ireland were overtaken by two other countries also vying for that third qualifying spot -- the Swiss and the Spanish -- with the Swiss joining the Dutch and Swedes in the Olympic ring at the end of the day.
So Ireland's only chance of show jumping representation at London 2012 will be through individual qualifying spots on the Olympic rankings list.
"I'm hugely disappointed" said team manager Splaine.
"We haven't achieved what we came here to do -- to get Olympic qualification.
"Billy was very good, but the team is not about one man, everyone has to make their score contribute and that just didn't happen".
Asked about his own position as team manager now that Ireland failed to qualify, Splaine said: "I have a contract that takes me up to the Olympic Games."