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Irish showjumping team named RTE Sport Awards “Team Of The Year”

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Photo (c) Horse Sport Ireland. Taylor Vard, Gerry Mullins, Cian O’Connor, Ronan Murphy (HSI CEO) and Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy pictured at the RTE Sport Awards where the Irish Show Jumping team were named “Team of the Year”. Photo (c) Horse Sport Ireland.

The Irish showjumping team have beaten off competition from the best teams in Ireland to be crowned 2017 RTE Sport Awards “Team Of The Year” during a show broadcast live on RTE TV last night (Saturday).

Ireland’s showjumpers, who won team gold at the European European Championships in Gothenburg back in August for the first time in 16 years, were among seven teams who were nominated, with the winner decided by public vote. The All-Ireland winning Galway Hurling and Dublin Football teams, Cork City FC, Dublin Ladies Footballers, Cork Camogie and Irish Rowing duo Mark O’Donovan & Shane O’Driscoll, were among the nominees, however the public decided that our equestrian stars were the team of 2017.

Rodrigo Pessoa’s squad of Mark McAuley, Bertram Allen, Shane Sweetnam, Denis Lynch, and Cian O’Connor, came out on top on a thrilling night in Gothenburg, with three clear rounds on the final night clinching the gold medal.

Cian O’Connor who made a dash from Olympia Horse Show in London where he was competing to attend the RTE Awards, was asked by RTE’s Joanne Cantwell if this Team of the Year Award win was expected:

“No not at all, it’s a big surprise and i’m delighted to accept the award on behalf of the lads,” he said. It’s incredible, a lot of the lads are based abroad and when they come home to Ireland they know they have a lot of support here. Everyone has put in so much work behind the scenes to make it happen – the first time in 16 years that Ireland has won a team gold medal at the European Championships. We are obviously thrilled, we have a big year next year, we have the World Championships which is a qualifier for the Tokyo and this is certainly a great boost.”

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy was keen to thank everyone who voted:

“I want to congratulate Rodrigo Pessoa and the team on a fantastic achievement in winning the RTE Team of the Year Award. It is a fitting accolade following what was a fantastic year for Irish showjumping and I want to thank our sponsors, owners, grooms and the HSI High Performance Committee. This year has given us a great platform as we work towards the 2018 World Equestrian Games and Toyko 2020. I want to pay tribute to our HSI Press Office. We are one of the only National Federations to have a 24/7 press office and they did a fantastic job raising awareness of these awards through our social media on Team Ireland Equestrian. Most importantly I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote for our team and help us win this award. It is great to see this level of engagement from the Irish public with equestrian sport and helps to increase participation and future development of the Sport Horse Industry.”


Source and picture: Press release from Horse Sport Ireland

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