Ardee man Mark McAuley was the star performer for the Irish Showjumping team on Friday as they finished runners up on the return of the Nations Cup today, as Prague’s Chuchle arena hosting teams from around the world.
The Millockstown jumper was on Jasco VD Bisschop and produced two perfect clear rounds, the only Irish jumper to do so on the day as Michael Blake’s team finished in second place to the Netherlands.
Ireland were in a four-way tie for the lead at the halfway stage on a zero score after clear rounds from McAuley, Wexford’s Bertram Allen (Gun Powder) and Waterford’s Anthony Condon (SFS Aristio), meaning they could discard the four faults picked up by Michael Duffy with Jeff Ten Halven.
Slovakia, Egypt, Argentina, New Zealand and Poland all missed the halfway cut while Austria, Italy, the Dutch all had zero scores, just like Ireland. Host nation Czech Republic were in fifth at that point on a single time fault while Germany. Belgium and Japan also made it through to the second round.
McAuley was up first again in the second round and he completed a double clear performance, however that was to prove the last Irish clear of the competition.
Allen picked up eight faults second time out while both Duffy and Condon finished with four faults apiece. That left Ireland as runners-up on a two round total of eight faults while victory went to the Dutch team on a four fault final total.
Afterwards, team manager Michael Blake paid tribute to the McAuley and the team as a whole. “Full congratulations to Mark [McAuley] for going in first and jumping double clear. Everyone had a counting score so it was a great team effort,” he said.
“Obviously we would have liked to win but we had 13 teams here, some very strong nations and I think we gave a very good account of ourselves. It was a little evident that some of the horses were a bit out of match practice which is to be expected but all our lads were excellent.”
According to the Longines rankings, McAuley is currently ranked 67 in the world. The Nations Cup team are back out again in action next weekend in Norway.