Leading riders missing from Irish showjumping squad

  • The Irish showjumping squad for the European Championships has been announced, but there are omissions for top riders Denis Lynch and London 2012 individual bronze medallist Cian O’Connor.

    Denis — who is Ireland’s top rider in the FEI world rankings, sitting at 23 — and Cian, 42nd on the rankings, didn’t even make the longlist.

    The highest ranked rider to make the squad is Shane Breen (Balloon), ranked at 45, followed by Shane Sweetnam (Amaretto Darco), who lies at 50.

    Both Denis and team manager Robert Splaine declined to comment on his notable omission.

    Denis hasn’t represented his country since a controversial episode in the run-up to London 2012. His horse Lantinus 3 failed a hypersensitivity test in July 2012 and Denis was dropped from the Olympic line-up (news, 12 July 2012). A legal wrangle ensued.

    But Cian told H&H that his own omission indicated “nothing suspicious”.

    “My new horse Cooper is still only nine; he’s just starting to jump the big classes,” he said.

    “So the main aim is the World Equestrian Games next year, as it’s an Olympic qualifier.”

    Also included is Cameron Hanley, who is back competing after two years off due to injury. He ruptured his knee in a freak accident playing with his children at home in Germany (news, 26 January 2012).

    “I’m delighted,” he said. “Antello Z has been great all summer and it’s great to have the chance to ride on an Irish championship team again.”

    Billy Twomey and Tinka’s Serenade and Conor Swail with Lansdowne complete the line-up.

    “These are five combinations with good form,” said Robert Splaine.

    The European Championships take place in Herning, Denmark, from 20-24 August.

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (25 July 2013)

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