Team Ireland Equestrian claim four medals at European Youth Championships in Fontainebleau, France
Ireland won four medals, two gold, one silver and one bronze, in the FEI European Youth Championships in France last week. It was a fantastic week of competition with all the riders doing themselves and their country proud. GAIN Equine Nutrition once again sponsored Team Ireland Equestrian and are delighted for all riders on their brilliant results.
The first medal was silver, won by the Children on Horses Showjumping team on Tuesday. The team of Sarah Fitzgerald, Rhys Williams, Lucy Morton, Ciaran Foley and Isobel Hughes Kennedy (individual), managed by James Kernan, finished on 8 penalties. Germany claimed gold on 4 penalties and Belgium secured bronze with 13 penalties.
The Irish Under 18 (Junior) Show Jumping team took the Bronze medal after a battling performance on Friday. The Irish quartet of Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan, Athlone’s Kate Derwin, Clare’s Jason Foley and Wexford’s Harry Allen, were in fourth place after Thursday’s second round of the team competition and overtook Italy in Friday’s decider to claim a place on the podium. Belgium took the gold on 14.55 while Britain claimed silver on 22.29 – less than a fence ahead of Ireland.
Team Ireland Equestrian won its third medal at the European Championships after Co Clare’s Rhys Williams on Saturday claimed the individual Gold Medal in the Under 14 Show Jumping competition. Williams was part of the Irish Under 14 team that won silver on Wednesday. He completed a fault free performance to be crowned the new individual European champion on Saturday in France.
On Sunday, Ireland has won its second gold at the European Youth Championships after Carlow’s Jason Foley was crowned European Under 18 (Junior) Show Jumping Champion. It was a fantastic achievement, bridging a gap of 42 years since Ireland last won European Under 18 Gold.
Riding the Irish Sport Horse Castlefield Vegas, Jason Foley jumped his fourth clear round of the week in the first round to remain in Gold medal position heading into the medal decider. When he entered the arena as last to jump, he knew he could afford one fence down to take the Gold. He picked up four faults midway through his round but he kept his composure to finish with just a single fence down and claim the individual gold medal. Britain took silver ahead of Belgium who claimed the bronze. Athlone’s Kate Derwin produced a brilliant performance on the final day, rising 13 places to finish under a fence off a medal in fourth, while Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan also made it into the final and finished 23rd overall.
The result crowns a fantastic week for Irish Youth team manager James Kernan, who himself won the Under 18 (Junior) European Gold medal 44 years ago in 1974 – a result that before today was only repeated once, by Brian McMahon in 1976.
“I am an incredibly proud man today. Jason is just a brilliant horseman and deserves incredible credit for what he has achieved. There was a great team spirit, we all pulled together. I have to thank all involved, Liam Buckley and the support staff, parents, sponsors and Horse Sport Ireland; their support meant we could have the best possible preparation. For such a small nation as ours to win four medals at this European Championships is unbelievable and the other nations are looking up to us after our results.”
GAIN Equine Nutrition are incredibly proud to support and sponsor such successful teams and would like to congratulate all the riders on a brilliant set of results.