Twenty-two-year-old Cathal Daniels from Co Galway and the Irish Sport Horse mare Rioghan Rua (ISH) have produced a magnificent performance at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships at Luhmühlen in Germany, to claim the individual bronze medal to add to the World Championship team silver medal they won last year.
Daniels had been lying in 13th place after Friday’s Dressage after he scored an impressive 29.0. A fantastic clear Cross Country round on Saturday well inside the time, saw Daniels and the Margaret Kinsella-owned 12-year-old mare rise to sixth place heading into the final day and crucially were less than a fence off the medal places. Another perfect clear in the final Show Jumping phase saw Daniels put pressure on those above him. As fences began to fall, Daniels rose to third place at the finish to take home the second championship medal of his career.
“It’s an amazing feeling!” Cathal Daniels said. “I’ve gone through Juniors, Young Riders and now Seniors with this mare. Unfortunately, the team didn’t get as strong a result as they wanted, but I was glad I was able to get a medal and keep spirits high and build again for next year on the road to Tokyo.”
Germany’s Ingrid Klimke riding SAP Hale Bob defended her European title to claim the gold medal with a score of 22.2, while her German team mate Michael Jung collected the silver with FischerChipmunk FRH on 24.9.
Cathal Daniels’ bronze medal is the first Irish Senior European Eventing medal win since 1995 when Lucy Thompson claimed gold with Welton Romance at Pratoni del Vivaro in Italy where Ireland also won team bronze.
Sally Corscadden’s Irish team of Sam Watson (Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH), Ciaran Glynn (November Night (ISH(TIH), Sarah Ennis (Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (ISH) and Cathal Daniels with Rioghan Rua (ISH) finished in sixth place overall of the 12 teams.
Germany took the team gold medal ahead of Britain who took silver while Sweden collected the bronze.
The European Championships are also an Olympic qualifier however Ireland have already qualified for Tokyo following their silver medal win at last years World Championships.
A delighted Irish Eventing team manager Sally Corscadden said:
“It is absolutely outstanding for a boy of his age [Cathal Daniels (22)] to finish in this company with Ingrid Klimke and Michael Jung on the podium. Cathal has worked very hard to improve his Dressage with this mare and that enabled him to pull off this result. It is very exciting with Tokyo just around the corner. We planned for this from a long way off and it really stood to Cathal that he competed here in Luhmühlen last year and this result has really put him on the world stage
“It was a great effort from the team overall. It was unfortunate that Ciaran was forced to pull out before the final phase and this along with the 20 penalties Sam picked up that put us out of contention for a medal, but that’s the way it goes.. We were really going for it and I am happy that once again we were very competitive and we will have learned a lot from another Championships. I want to thank all our trainers and backroom team and most especially all our horses’ owners for their support,” Corscadden said.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy added:
“This was a superb performance from Cathal Daniels to win an individual bronze medal and from all our squad who were very competitive this week. This the perfect build up for the Tokyo Olympics next year and I want to thank our Eventing Team Manager Sally Corscadden, all of the High Performance coaches, support team, riders, owners and the team at Horse Sport Ireland.”