Monday 20 November 2017

Pippa pips Ennis for Trials honours


Ireland's Nicola Ennis and BLM Diamond Delux finished fourth in the CCI 3-Star at Tattersalls International Horse Trials at Fairyhouse where Britain's Pippa Funnell clinched first and third places.

Ennis was disappointed with her dressage score of 53.3 which left her lying ninth going into Saturday's cross-country. But a clear over the solid timber moved her up four places going into the final showjumping phase in which she collected just two time faults to improve one further spot.

Funnell was on fire from the outset, holding first and second after dressage but allowing eventual runner-up Bill Levett (Improvise) to separate her two rides when picking up 6.8 cross-country time faults with Billy Landretti. The strength of her dressage performance with her leading ride was such that not even the addition of 7.2 cross-country time faults could oust Billy Beware from pole position. Ireland's Shane Power (TLB Interactive) finished eighth and Mark Kyle (Just Otto) ninth. Kyle also steered Coolio into third in the George Mernagh Memorial CIC 3-Star.

Ireland's showjumpers showed grit when finishing fourth and collecting valuable qualifying points in the Furusiyya Nations Cup at St Gallen, Switzerland which was cut short due to appalling weather conditions.

The four teams lying equal first with eight faults after round one, during which Cian O'Connor and his Olympic ride Blue Loyd produced a great clear despite rain-sodden ground, went into jump-off in which Laura Renwick clinched it for Great Britain. Germany withdrew before the start and now can't qualify for the series final in September.

Billy Coleman Award winner Daniel McKenna from Monaghan scored a clear win in the Rally Two category in the second round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Jim Clark Memorial International based in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders.

McKenna's Ford Fiesta, co-driven by Arthur Kierans, finished seventh overall and beat his closest class rival by almost two minutes after two days of rallying. This was enough to secure the second Pirelli Star Driver nomination of the season.

The Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year said: "We suffered with fuel pump problems all event but it has all been worth it. Our goal at the start of the season was a nomination for the Pirelli award, so I'm delighted that it has happened on just the second event."

The Monaghan driver also collected top points towards the FiestaSport Trophy and has closed the gap on series leader Steve Rokland of Norway to two points.

John Byrne from Carnew and Carlowman David Cullen shared the honours in Carlow CC's Hillclimb weekend, with Byrne taking victory on the opening day at Johnswell in Kilkenny, while Cullen narrowly beat Dermot Nolan at Bagenalstown.

Irish Independent

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