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Young Irish Team Second At Zagreb Nations Cup

WITH echoes of the glorious 99/2000 season, a young and inexperienced Irish Nations Cup slotted into second place at the Zagreb Nations Cup in Croatia today (Friday).

Only one member of the squad (Michael Kerins) had ever competed at senior Nations Cup level before, and that only weeks before, yet the Irish ran riot through the competition, missing sharing the top spot by just one fence.

Twenty-one year old Ryan Crumley from Derry, riding the 10 yr old stallion <Baltimore> racked up an impressive double clear round, while Dave Quigley and Paul O'Shea took four faults apiece in the first round, with O'Shea just having a foot in the water jump, but both had clears second time out. Michael Kerins was less fortunate, having been eliminated when he failed to hear the bell in the first round, and was not required to jump in the second round, to give Ireland a total of just eight faults overall.

Pitted against top flight international teams, the Irish were essentially a development squad, sent to Zagreb by the SJAI selectors mainly for Samsung Nations Cup experience, but, as in the 99/2000 season, emulated the likes of Dermott Lennon, Billy Twomey, Cian O'Connor and Lt. Shane Carey by showing that youth was not necessarily a hindrance at this elite level of jumping. (Tellingly, two of O'Connor's riders, Paul O'Shea and Ryan Crumley, were on the squad at Zagreb today.)

Afterwards, Irish Chef d'Equipe Lt. Col. Gerry Mullins said: <<This was a very impressive performance by a young team brought here to give them experience for the future. The selectors have given six new caps to young Irish riders over the last number of weeks, and the excellence of people like Ryan Crumley, who jumped a double clear in his first ever senior Nations Cup, is an indicator of the latent talent we have available for the teams of tomorrow.

He went on: <<Michael Kerins was very unfortunate in his elimination, as there was a mix-up over the bell, which could not be heard by the competitors or the chefs d'equipe over the background music. But to give an indication of the standard here today, the senior Swiss rider, Beat Mandli, was eliminated in the second round after three refusals at the first fence. So I think we did incredibly well.>>

Nine teams in all competed, though some did not make it to the second round of the Nations Cup.


Friday, September 26, 2003

1) AUSTRIA 4 Faults
2) IRELAND 8 Faults
Baltimore; Ryan Crumley 0/0
Ashdale Spirit; Dave Quigley 4/0
Mahon Point; Paul O'Shea 4/0
Polanski; Michael Kerins E/-
3) ITALY 21 Faults
=4) GERMANY 29 Faults
=4) SLOVAKIA 29 Faults
6) POLAND 31 Faults
7) SLOVENIA 45 Faults


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