Rodrigo Pessoa has named the Irish Show Jumping squad for this month's hugely important Longines FEI European Championships, which take place at Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Ireland will arrive at the Dutch venue as reigning European Champions, having taken the team gold medal in spectacular fashion at Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017.
Along with having team and individual medals on offer, the 2019 European Championships present the second-last opportunity for teams to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Irish Show Jumping squad, sponsored by Devenish & The Underwriting Exchange, for the 2019 Longines FEI European Championships is as follows: (alphabetical order)
Offaly’s Darragh Kenny with Balou du Reventon - owned by Ann Thompson
Waterford’s Peter Moloney with Chianti’s Champion - owned by Team Harmony
Meath’s Cian O’Connor with PSG Final – owned by Ronnoco Jump Ltd
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Alejandro – owned by Seabrook LLC
Rodrigo Pessoa (pictured) is hopeful that Ireland can achieve a positive result at the Championships and knows that it promises to be a hard-fought battle:
"We are aware of the importance of this event. This is what we have been waiting for now for a while. We have prolonged this by not qualifying [for the Olympic Games] last year so this is now our chance to do it. We are very respectful of the nations whom we are competing against and we will be very focused on obtaining our qualification and fighting for a team medal," Pessoa said.
The 2018 World Equestrian Games saw USA, Sweden. Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Australia take the six Olympic places on offer. That leaves several top teams including Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Ireland set for a titanic battle at the Europeans, where just three more Olympic team places will be up for grabs. Following the Longines FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, one final Olympic team qualification place will be on offer at October's FEI Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona.
The 2019 European Show Jumping Championships get underway on Wednesday August 21st with the opening speed competition. The first round of the team competition takes place on Thursday August 22nd before the team medals and Olympic qualification places are decided on Friday August 23rd. The European individual final takes place on Sunday August 25th.
Ireland will also send teams to compete in the European Championships for Dressage and Para Dressage which also take place in Rotterdam, starting on Monday August 19th, with the Irish squads set to be named in the coming days.
Further details on the 2019 Longines FEI European Championships for Jumping, Dressage and Para Dressage are available on the official website HERE