‘That’s what we came here to do’: Ireland’s showjumping team secures Paris 2024 Olympic qualification

  • Ireland has finished fourth – and secured Paris 2024 qualification – in a dramatic team final at the Agria FEI World Showjumping Championships.

    The Irish entered this evening’s proceedings in ninth place – and came within touching distance of team bronze – but an unfortunate five faults from Cian O’Connor on C Vier 2 and a shock retirement from Daniel Coyle and Legacy – led to them finishing in fourth place in the World Showjumping Championships results.

    Cian O’Connor has enjoyed a fantastic week with Susan Magnier’s 14-year-old gelding, with clears in the first and second rounds of the competition – but the pair just ran out of steam in the final combination, knocking the vertical at fence 13b. The pair go into the individual final on Sunday on a score of 9.70, after also picking up one time-penalty.

    It was a different story however for Ireland’s final combination, Daniel Coyle and Legacy, who retired mid-round. The pair had started confidently, but knocked the triple bar at fence six and the vertical at fence seven. They briefly regained their composure, but took down the second part of the combination at fence nine and after rattling the next fence, Daniel looked to the scoreboard before sensibly calling it a day – with only the three top scores counting in the team competition. The round will be a blow for Daniel, who produced a clear on the 12-year-old mare in the first day, and added just two time faults to his round on day two.

    Denis Lynch started proceedings for Ireland this evening with a clear round and one time-penalty with Brooklyn Heights, and second to go Bertram Allen came out fighting on Pacino Amiro with a lucky clear, despite a few rattles.

    The fourth place means Ireland has secured Olympic qualification at the Paris 2024 Games.

    “We’re delighted to finish in fourth place,” said Cian. “Obviously we just miss out barely on a bronze medal, but we’re thrilled because the group of horses that we have here are all a little bit new to us in the team at this level; particularly C Vier 2 – I only got him this year – and Denis’s horse is also new.

    “Olympic qualification [at the first attempt] is a real monkey off our back because it’s something that’s eluded us [previously]. In all my career we’ve never managed to do it the first time anyway, so I’m not sure when the last time Ireland qualified in its first attempt.”

    It was tight at the top with Britain finishing in bronze on 22.66 – only 0.49 less than Ireland – and pathfinder Denis Lynch reflected on the score.

    “If I didn’t have the time-fault, or maybe yesterday if we didn’t have the time-fault for example, we were thereabouts for a medal, so that’s a pity,” he said. “But ok, we qualified for the Olympics – that’s what we came here to do and I’m very proud of my horse and my teammates.”

    In what was a rollercoaster evening, Sweden claimed team gold, the Netherlands won silver, and Great Britain took bronze in the World Showjumping Championships results.

    Three members of the Irish team will next jump in the individual team final on Sunday, which features the top 25 combinations. Denis is currently in 19th, Cian 20th and Bertram 21st.

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