Great weekend for Team GAIN riders at European Championships
After five intense rounds of jumping which began last Wednesday, Team GAIN rider Cian O’Connor and the 11-year-old stallion Good Luck, finished on just 6.25 penalties to take third place at the European Championships last weekend , adding to the team gold medal they won just 48 hours earlier at the Ullevi Stadium, while, Team GAIN rider Denis Lynch with All Star finished in individual 10th.
Rodrigo Pessoa’s Irish team of Shane Sweetnam, Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Cian O’Connor had earlier been crowned European Champions in Gothenburg on Friday night, 16 years after Ireland last claimed the title.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Cian O’Connor was keen to pay tribute to his horse and thank his support team,
“I’m over the moon, it’s been an excellent week to win team gold and to finish with three riders in the top 10 individually. As our assistant manager Michael Blake said, the famine is over. It could have been even better, the lightest of rubs cost us gold but that’s the sport with small margins at this top level.
“Good Luck has been incredible. He has learned now to go fast against the clock which he showed on the opening day. I am very lucky to have a huge support team around me at Karlswood and I want to thank them all for their effort and support. In particular I want to thank Good Luck’s groom Alan O’Brien, along with Ross Mullholland and Michael Kelly who do so much work behind the scenes riding our horses and with our training.”
London Olympic bronze medal winner O’Connor, joins an elite group of Irish European Championship individual medal winners which includes Peter Charles who won gold at St Gallen, Switzerland in 1995 riding La Ina, and Eddie Macken who won the silver medal in Austria in 1977 riding Kerrygold.
After an incredible result at his first championships as Irish team manager, Rodrigo Pessoa was already looking forward to the next challenge,
“We are very happy. Championships are always really tight. For Cian to win a bronze medal and three riders in the top 10 along with our team gold is fantastic. Our next event will be the Nations Cup world final in Barcelona. We will digest this now and see how these horses come out of this Championships first before picking a team [for Barcelona]. We then have to sit down and make a plan for next years World Equestrian Games, save these combinations and try to also create new ones for next year.”