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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
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Ireland's showjumpers deliver under pressure to win $100,000 Nations Cup in Florida

Cian O’Connor’s double clear steers Ireland to Ocala win.

The Irish team (L-R): Kevin Babington, Cian O’Connor, Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake, Richie Moloney and Shane Sweetnam.
The Irish team (L-R): Kevin Babington, Cian O’Connor, Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake, Richie Moloney and Shane Sweetnam.
Image: Simon Stafford/FEI

CIAN O’CONNOR SAVED his best until last to clinch an Irish win in the $100,000 Nations Cup event at Ocala in Florida.

The four-man Irish team of O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam, Kevin Babington and Richie Moloney led USA by just four faults ahead of the final ride of the competition.

Knowing that a single mistake on board Seringat would see Ireland drop into a jump-off with the hosts, O’Connor shrugged off the pressure and produced a second clear round of the day to take victory.

“Sometimes winning becomes a habit, and in Ireland we need to get back into that habit,” he said afterwards.

“Nations Cups are the best because they teach riders to work together, and we need to do that to get back to where we belong!”

Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake promised that there is even more to come from Ireland on the Nations Cup circuit this year.

We are a small country but we keep doing it all the time and these are great guys to work with.

“We don’t need to make too many changes in the future, we have eight riders in the world’s top 50 and that’s not an accident.

“We just need to circle our wagons now, and we intend to do 24 Nations Cup events this year and we intend to be sitting at this winner’s table many times again!”

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Niall Kelly

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