Following 15 hard fought rounds, the HSI Bluegrass Spring tour came to a spectacular end at Coilog Equestrian. The Kilmeague venue which is well known for its high profile events once again attracting Ireland’s top showjumpers. Leading international riders such as Andrew Bournes, Conor Swail, Nicola Fitzgibbon and Cian O’ Connor were among the competitors battling it out in the final round.
Sponsored by Kilmeague Landscape Services Ltd, the final round boasted a strong start-list of 80 combinations. International course designer Tom Holden built a challenging course which resulted in a nail-biting jump-off. Spectators were kept on tender hooks until last to go John Floody and PMR Rehy Irish All Star crossed the line.
Double handed in the jump-off, Conor Swail was keen to secure a win on home soil. First to go with Landsdown, he set the bar high when delivering a clear in 47.80, which proved good enough for eventual sixth place. Returning with his second charge Martha Louise, Swail sliced seconds of his time, crossing the line with nothing to add in 41.62 for third place.
Returning from international Duty, Greg Broderick also put in a gallant attempt with Mrs Quinn and his time of 40.11 proved good enough for the runner-up spot.
Wicklow rider Darryl Walker has been unlucky in the last few rounds, with four faults keeping him out of the winnings. This time however, things went according to plan as he piloted Alfurist into fourth place when clocking 41.80. Captain Michael Kelly slotted into fifth place when he delivered a clear in 42.41 with Ringwood Abbey.
Master against the clock and using his late draw to the best of his advantage, Cian O’ Connor knew what was required to take the lead. Setting of in a determined pace with his new mount Da Vinci’s Pride, he didn’t disappoint as he cross the line in 39.73 to take the honours.
Also decided on the day were the leading rider and young rider title of the series. Similar to previous years, only a small margin separated those on top end of the leader board.
Despite recording a win at the penultimate round the day before, John Floody still remained four points behind young rider Daniel Coyle going into the final, but with points and a half on offer, it was still all to play for.
With Coyle failing to make the jump-off, he could only wait to see how Floody, who had got through would fair out in the final line-up.
Last to go, the pressure was certainly on Floody, but Spectators didn’t have to wait long for the outcome, as four faults at the first fence ruled him out of contention and Coyle’s points held to secure the winning young rider and leading rider title along with €2000 prize fund and the Kep Hat from Darragh Equestrian Solutions.
Floody didn’t go home empty handed as he took €750 for the runner-up and the owner of PMR Rehy Irish All Star, Paula Rafter received €500 Euro as owner of leading Irish Sport Horse, which was sponsored sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland.