Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

News: August, 2015

Ireland wins Aga Khan Trophy at Nations Cup, Dublin

Darragh Kenny, Bertram Allen, Greg Broderick and Cian O’Connor are the winners of the Aga Khan trophy that goes along with the Nations Cup at Dublin in the €200,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup held earlier this month. This trophy was last won by Ireland in 2012.

The Irish collected a cheque for €64,000 after finishing on a total score of four penalties, ahead of the Netherlands on eight penalties. They have also qualified for the Barcelona Furusiyya Nations Cup final of the European Division 1 league final in September.  3rd place went to Team Switzerland, with Germany 4th and Spain coming in 5th.

20-year-old FEI ranked World No. 5 Bertram Allen, made his first appearance on a senior Nations Cup team on the 17-year-old KWPN gelding Romanov. He was the first to jump and tipped a vertical, but he crossed the timers with zero faults in Round 2.

It was Cian’s 100th cap for Ireland and his third Nations Cup triumph. He was the veteran of the group and today he was aboard 9-year-old Good Luck, a Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Adena Springs. He had a fence in hand. Good Luck knocked a fence, but horse and rider kept their nerve.

Newcomer Broderick delivered two clear rounds with the Irish-bred 9-year-old MHS Going Global. “He’s not afraid of big occasions or big rings,” Broderick said.

Ireland was in the lead after round one with a zero score. They held their act together and finished the day on four faults without even needing their fourth rider, Kenny, to jump in Round 2. The watching crowd were hysterical with joy.

Last year’s winners of the Aga Khan, Team USA, achieved a dismal score of 32 faults and landed them in an unusual last place.

Team Great Britain was another favourite but they had numerous small problems across the track.

Several of the horses balked and refused to complete the turn away from the ingate toward fence 6, with The Netherlands’ Vignet stopping in a rearing fit but rider Johnny Pals managed to calm him and continued to finish the course without jumping faults. Switzerland’s Guerdat and Corbinian faced a similar situation in Round 2.

“I think that sometimes horses give a big effort in that arena in the first round, and then they go back and they say ‘well I’m not going down there again’,” Cian explained. “What a day!! This is what justifies all the work and effort that all the riders and their vital background teams put in! It was a very special day to be part of the winning Team in Dublin on my 100th Cap. What a great bunch of lads to ride alongside and for the first time in a long time there is a great sense of want and desire to win in the Team and I believe this is something we can build on towards next year's Olympics!  I feel so lucky to have what I feel are the most incredible staff at Karlswood and an amazing back ground team of people who help make days like today possible. Thanks so much to you all and of course my amazing horse Good Luck and to his owners at Adena Springs!” 

The 2015 European Championships is coming up later this month at Aachen, where Ireland hope to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and push for a medal as well.
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