The Devenish & Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team have finished the season on a high, taking an impressive third place finish on the podium after a thrilling Longines FEI Nations Cup World Final today (Sunday) in Barcelona (ESP), where the final result went right down to the wire.
An incredible competition saw the lead change several times over the closing stages, with Belgium eventually being crowned champions, while runners-up France and third-placed Ireland could only be separated by time. As the competition progressed it became clear that the demanding course would take serious jumping, with clear rounds at a premium. In fact just four of the 32 starters would manage to jump clear at the finish.
Rodrigo Pessoa’s Irish team included three horses making their first appearance in a Nations Cup, while 21-year-old Knockmore native Michael G Duffy was jumping in his first ever five-star Nations Cup for Ireland
Cork’s Billy Twomey was first out for Ireland with Kimba Flamenco and finished with just one fence down. Waterford’s Anthony Condon also came home with just four faults with SFS Aristio and Ireland were in a share of the lead at the halfway stage on 4 faults.
Michael G Duffy from Co Mayo looked to be heading for a clear round when third to go with The Irish Sport Horse Lapuccino 2, but just like many others, the last line proved costly as two late poles fell to the floor. The result hang in the balance as Ireland’s last rider, Darragh Kenny, came in with Balou Du Reventon. They were also clear coming to the last line but finished with 8 faults as they crossed the line.
Italy could win with a final clear from last to go Lorenzo de Luca, but two fences down dropped the Italians down the standings and handed victory to Belgium. France finished second with Ireland third, Italy fourth, Netherlands fifth, ahead of Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.