Irish Show Jumping team tie for second place in Aga Khan cup at Dublin Horse Show
A fantastic result.
The Irish Show Jumping team tied for second place in at the Dublin Horse Show, in a historic competition which saw Mexico take home gold for the first time.
The Longines FEI Nations Cup of Ireland took place on Friday with all teams competing for the Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show.
A tense competition was not decided until the very last horse left the arena, with Mexico, led by Stanny Van Paesschen, finishing on a two round total of eight faults to take victory.
The teams from Italy, France and home team Ireland all finished on 12 faults, resulting in a three-way shared tie for second place, ahead of USA in fifth, Britain in sixth, Netherlands seventh and Switzerland in eighth.
The halfway stage saw Ireland take the lead as Cork's Shane Sweetnam got Rodrigo Pessoa's team off to an thrilling start when he jumped clear with Main Road when first to go.
Co Louth's Mark McAuley then also completed a "foot-perfect clear" aboard Utchan De Belheme, before Limerick's Paul O'Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu came home with just four faults.
Mayo's Cameron Hanley was last to go in the first round for Ireland riding 9-year-old Quirex. He jumped a brilliant clear round under pressure, meaning Ireland could deplete their previous four faults and finish up on a zero score.
With the just the last line riders left to jump, Ireland, France, Mexico and Italy were all tied for the lead on eight faults.
Cameron Hanley entered the arena as last to jump, knowing a clear round would put Ireland into a jump-off with Mexico.
He was clear coming into the closing stages of his round, however, a light rub at the combination saw a pole fall to the floor, leaving Mexico to celebrate a famous win.
Rodrigo Pessoa spoke afterwards, expressing tremendous gratitude to his hardworking teammates.
"Firstly I would like to congratulate the Mexican team and Stanny Van Paesschen on a fantastic win," he said.
"They were two fences behind us after the first round but they came back, they rode really, really well. We had a really good first round and put ourselves where we wanted to be. In the second round we had a couple of mistakes but overall our guys were good. We came close and one thing is for sure, we will be back next year to try again."
Ireland's share of second place saw them also finish as runners-up on the final league table in Europe Division 1, and will take their place in the Longines FEI Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona in October.
Irish attention will now turn to the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon USA, with Rodrigo Pessoa set to name his final squad in the coming days.