Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

News: August, 2012

Cian on winning Aga Khan team, third in grand prix

Cian had an incredible week at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show - a member of the winning Aga Khan team on Friday and coming home third in the Grand Prix on Sunday.

With pressure on both him and Blue Loyd after the great effort at the Olympics that won them a Bronze Medal, the duo nevertheless came though for the great Irish audience present at the show and watching on tv. Cian had been a member of Ireland's last Aga Khan triumph at Dublin in 2004, and was the only member of the team to have jumped in both.

On Sunday Blue Loyd came out again to do the business, this time a third place in the prestigious Longines Grand Prix. A single pole down in the first round nevertheless qualified Cian for the second round, where Blue Loyd delivered a terrific clear to finish just behind winner Carsten-Otto Nagel and runner-up Kevin Staut.

Horse and rider were later honoured at a special reception in Ratoath where Olympic Modern Pentathlete Natalya Coyle was also present.

Cian said: "Blue Loyd was fantastic on Sunday in the Longines Grand Prix at Dublin Horse Show, finishing third to round off a superb couple of weeks. I was humbled to see so many people turn out in Ratoath tonight to welcome home myself, Blue Loyd and Natalya Coyle who was 9th in London in the Modern Pentathlon. I've thoroughly enjoyed every single moment since winning the Bronze Medal in London and I want to thank everyone for all their support and well wishes. Onwards and upwards!!!"

It's an Olympic bronze medal!

Cian and Blue Loyd as first reserve moved onto the final startlist today in London when Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson’s stallion, Casall, was withdrawn after being sent to the holding box at this morning’s final veterinary inspection.

Despite being just second into the ring as today’s action began, Cian produced a copybook run with Blue Loyd to suddenly place himself very firmly in contention.

As round two began, Nick Skelton (Big Star) and fellow team gold medallist Scott Brash (Hello Sanctos) shared a zero scoreline with Cian, Frenchman Olivier Guillon (Lord de Theize), Steve Guerdat (Nino des Buissonnets) and Germany’s Marcus Ehning (Plot Blue).

When the round had finished, only Guerdat had a zero score, with Cian and Gerco Schroder forced into a jump-off for the silver and bronze medals as the only riders with one time fault each.

Schroder and London led the way in the jump-off for silver, setting the target with a clear in 49.79 seconds. Cian was well up on time with Blue Loyd, but kicked out the front rail at the final fence for four faults and bronze medal position. Asked afterwards why he hadn’t slowed to the last, considering he was almost two seconds quicker than his rival, the Irishman replied, “you had the benefit of looking at the clock. Unfortunately I don’t have a clock when I’m out there galloping around the place!”

Afterwards Cian said: “I came here to win a medal, and that’s what I did. Sure, I’d have loved to get the gold, but that time fault in the last round was tiny, but telling. I was disappointed to have the last rail down in the jump off, but I’m going home with an Olympic bronze medal, which I never imagined I’d have when I ended up on the reserve list after the third round.

“I’d like to dedicate it to all those who worked so hard for me to get here, and to those tens of thousands of Irish people who unreservedly supported me from the moment I touched down in London. They made it a truly magical experience for me.

"Special thanks must of course also go to my owners, the O'Reilly-Hylands, my coach Gerry Mullins for all his help and guidance and Team Ireland Show Jumping Manager Robert Splaine for all that he has done."

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