The Irish Show Jumping team won a silver medal in the team final of the FEI Jumping European Championship in Milano, Italy, this afternoon.
Michael Blake’s team of Michael Duffy, Trevor Breen, Shane Sweetnam and Eoin McMahon headed into the team final with less than a time fault separating the top four nations.
Germany held the lead following the first two days of jumping on a score of 9.31, Sweden were second on 9.51 and Switzerland next on 9.92. The Irish team was just outside of the top three on 10.00 with over a fence in hand ahead of Austria in fifth place.
Clear for Michael Duffy and Cinca 3
Galway’s Michael Duffy was first into the arena for Ireland, riding the 14-year-old grey mare Cinca 3. This combination had jumped two clear rounds on Wednesday and Thursday.
This excellent form continued as they again went clear to give Ireland a brilliant start.
Germany’s first line rider Marcus Ehning withdrew from competition, while the final fence fell for Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann. A clear round from Steve Guerdat got Switzerland off to a strong start.
Trevor Breen and Highland President
Trevor Breen was next in for Ireland with Highland President. The Tipperary rider and the 11-year-old gelding were unlucky to roll the final part of the combination, but the result was enough to help move Ireland up to third spot overall.
At the half way stage Ireland were in bronze medal position as Germany dropped to fourth following a fence down for Philipp Weishaupt.
Sweden moved to top spot with a clear from Wilma Hellström, while Switzerland held second though they had two fences down from Bryan Balsiger.
Four faults for Shane Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and the Irish Sport Horse James Kann Cruz were unlucky to add four faults as Sweden extended their lead with a Jens Fredricson clear.
Despite the four faults from Sweetnam, Ireland actually moved into the silver medal position on a score of 14. Switzerland’s third rider, Edouard Schmitz, had three fences down, forcing them to count Balsiger’s eight faults and putting the Swiss on a team score of 17.92.
Ireland move into silver medal position
Tipperary’s Eoin McMahon and the 11-year-old grey mare Mila had one fence down, leaving Ireland on 18 faults in third place.
Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs needed to jump clear to hold onto the silver medal, but eight faults from the Swiss saw Michael Blake’s Ireland side move up to second.
Sweden claimed the gold medal and European title on a team score of 9.51, with three of their four riders jumping clear. Ireland took silver with Austria third, ahead of Germany in fourth and Spain in fifth.