'We couldn't afford another DQ at Olympics' say horse jumping chiefs

Denis Lynch lost his spot on the team heading for the London Games yesterday and has been replaced by Cian O’Connor.

Ireland's Denis Lynch on Night Train last year at the RDS.
Ireland's Denis Lynch on Night Train last year at the RDS.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

HORSE SPORT IRELAND have insisted that withdrawing Denis Lynch from Ireland’s Olympic equestrian team was ‘a very hard decision’ but insisted their concerns were not addressed.

The Tipperary rider has been replaced on the plane to London by Cian O’Connor, who was stripped of a gold medal in Athens eight years ago.

O’Connor’s mount Waterford Crystal tested positive in 2004 for banned — but not performance-enhancing — substances and lost his medal. Having avoided similar trouble since, he now heads for England ahead of Lynch whose gelding Latinus was disqualified at an event in Germany because of ‘hypersensitivity’ last week.

“The reality of the situation is that horses ridden by Denis have been disqualified three times over the past 12 months,” HSI spokesman Damian McDonnell told RTÉ radio earlier.

“And you know I don’t need to tell people that in the last Olympic games Denis was disqualified and if it so happened that the horse that Denis is bringing to the Games was found to be hypersensitive — even if there wasn’t any wrongdoing — the horse would be disqualified. And I think, the reality of the situation is that our sport can’t afford to have anyone disqualified the Olympic Games again.

Asked by presenter Joanne Cantwell to explain why Lynch’s name was put forward in the first place if the organisation had doubts, McDonald added: “I suppose to be fair, Denis and his owner secured a place for Ireland.

Gavin Cooney
Reports From Qatar

Get Gavin's exclusive writing and analysis from the 2022 Fifa World Cup

Become a Member

“Ireland didn’t qualify a team at the Gaems — we qualified two individual spots. Billy Twomey and Denis Lynch won both of those. And I suppose what happened on Friday — it was the proximity to the Games and it was the tipping point. In any decision you make when you have an incident likes this.. third time was one time too many and it was very close to the Games. And we had concerns and I think deep down as a governing body, I think if we have concerns and Denis couldn’t give an explanation that would satisfy those, we had to make a hard decision.”

Lynch last night lashed out at the decision, saying the diagnosis was made after cuts and abrasions that the horse received in competition on Wednesday. Lantinus was passed fit to compete in the Nations Cup on Thursday, but tested positive for hypsersensitivity on Friday morning and was disqualified from the event.

“At no stage, was there any inference from the FEI veterinary commission that the hypersensitivity was anything other than natural occurring. This is extremely important to note,” the 36-year-old said.

Read: Denis Lynch’s full statement >

Cian O’Connor replaces Lynch in Irish Olympic team

About the author:

Read next: