The AIRC Team Show Jumping Championship final makes a welcome return to the Dublin Horse Show on Sunday where the line-up includes three debutantes and a former champion.
Almost 100 teams took part in qualifiers around the country in recent months with nine going forward to the final in the Simmonscourt Arena.
Six of this years finalists are making a return visit including Benbulben, Carrickmines, Gap of the North, Mill Road, Tinahely while Greenhills are the only returning club from the last final in 2019. Castle Hill, Headfort and Lismore are lining out for the first time in the final.
Former champions Greenhills will make its tenth appearance since 2002 having won the title on five occasions, three of those were back to back from 2002 to 2004 and again in 2014 and most recently in 2017. The Kildare club had to settle for the runners-up spot in 2019 after they lost out in a two-way jump-off.
The Mill Road club will be aiming to lift the title on their sixth time of asking as the title has eluded them so far. The Tipperary club last appeared in a final in 2017 and will be hoping to improve on their ninth place on that occasion.
Benbulben, who will be making its fourth appearance in the final, will be hoping to improve on their last outing in 2014 when they finished in third place.
Headfort will make its first appearance in the final after they were the only team to finish on a clean sheet at the Midlands qualifier to secure their golden ticket.
Tinahely emerged from a field of 18 teams at the South East qualifier and will be bridging a 17-year gap when they take to the Simmonscourt arena on Sunday. The Wicklow-based club finished in fourth on their last appearance in the final 2005.
This will be Carrickmine’s second appearance in the final after they finished in sixth place back in 2006. The Dublin-based club took the top two places at the South Leinster qualifier in May.
Lismore, which was formed in 2002, will contest the final for the first time in the club’s history. They were the only team from a field of 9 starters who completed the South West qualifier on a clean sheet to book their place.
The Castle Hill club secured their spot after a three-way jump-off at the North East qualifier from a field of 12 teams. They registered the only clear round in a three-way jump-off to book their place in the final for the first time.
The Gap of the North club will be making their third appearance after they won the wildcard qualifier at the AIRC Riding Clubs Festival in June. The Armagh-based club’s best performance came in 2009 when they took home the green rosettes in fourth place.
Gap of the North will get the competition underway with the first rider entering the arena at 3:45pm on Sunday after the parade of teams from around 3:20pm. The Armagh-based club will be followed by Headfort, Castle Hill, Lismore, Carrickmines, Mill Road, Greenhills, Benbulben and Tinahely.
Online scoring of the competition will be available on our website at www.airc.ie/news throughout the competition.
(Main Image: The winning Mosstown Team at the 2019 Dublin Horse Show)
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