Benbulben Riding Club won the TRI Equestrian intermediate team event after a mammoth contest involving almost 20 teams at the Riding Clubs Festival last weekend.
It turned into a one-horse race, however, as the Sligo club, which was second into the ring, completed the two rounds on a clean sheet and led the competition for the rest of the day.
Two members of the winning team jumped double clear rounds including Avril Burke (Rookery Apache) and Gavin Keenan ((Ardgaineen Waltzer) while Anna Burke (Rookery Sparkle) improved on her opening round of 4 faults to jump a clear round while Rachel Burke also jumped clear in the opening round but didn’t have to take to the field in the second round.
The club previously won the competition in 2014 where Anna, Avril and Rachel Burke were members of the winning team with Edwina Ruane.
Meath and Lakelands were level on four faults after the second round but the quartet of Ian Quinlan (The Plaster), Jamie Mc Guire (Cloonisle Killegar Melody), Joan Brady (Lisnaclea Abigail) and Mary Brady (Belle) from Meath were much faster to claim the runners-up position ahead of the Cavan-based club.
Benbulben’s chairman Finola Murphy said, “This team has really broken the mould this time around by winning this very competitive class for the second time in the clubs history.”
“Our team captain, Avril became unwell during the day and Gavin stepped into the breach and kept an eye on the class until the last team of the day notched up enough faults to ensure the win for us. We are very proud of their achievements,” she added.
Two Killeek members were back on the winning team in the TRI Equestrian primary team event as the club retained the title on a total of 12 faults.
Jennifer Kinsella provided the teams only double clear round on Nebula Sky. Kinsella was joined by her clubmates Amanda Ryan (Blue Mist), Linda Byrne (Drummond Annie) and Tracey Byrne (Rocky Delight). Second place went to a mixed team from Arderin, Castle Carraig, Corrib and Kerry on 20 faults.
Elsewhere, 12 teams contested the TRI Equestrian advanced primary team competition where no one managed to finish on a zero score over Tony Ennis’ track.
Two double clear rounds from Patricia McDermott (Baltydaniel Silver Prince) and Siobhan Geary (Rangers Choice) and clear rounds from Catherine Normoyle (Miss Murphy) and Kimberley Wilkinson (Nancy Meehan IRE) left Clonlara Riding Club the victors on 6 faults.
The Benbulben and Donegal Gaeltacht team was next best on a total of 6 faults while Newpark claimed third place for the Tipperary-based club who was a further time penalty adrift on 13.