Ireland netted a second win in the FEI Nations Cup series, finishing top at their home leg in Dublin. The win moved them up to third place in the official standings, behind France in second and Germany - who held on to their considerable lead despite finishing last at Dublin.
The German side has now won five times in the 10-year history of the top-level league.
A 29-fault total put paid to German chances in Dublin, but, as Chef d’Equipe Sonke Sonksen said afterwards: “We are still walking away with a big cheque!” having collected the winner’s prize of €100,000.
“We’ve had a fantastic season right up until Hickstead, and then the Irish showed us that they are getting stronger and stronger. This is one of the best teams they’ve ever had," he added.
The comparatively young foursome of Clem McMahon, Richie Moloney, Darragh Kerins and Cian O’Connor secured the home win with considerable comfort, with anchorman O’Connor not jumping in the second round as the destination of the coveted Aga Khan trophy was already decided.
France finished second ahead of Great Britain in third, while The Netherlands slotted into fourth ahead of Belgium and Switzerland in equal-fifth place. Sweden finished seventh when their 28-fault score left them just ahead of Germany in eighth and last place.
Irish Chef d’Equipe, Robert Splaine said: “I’m over the moon! I wasn’t over-confident at the halfway stage because I’ve been around this game too long. I knew we were in a good position but we had to keep our heads down and keep going, but what a result!. A fabulous double-clear from Clem, Richie with just one time fault, Darragh was brilliant, just unlucky at that last fence, and Cian would have gone clear in the second round if we needed him."
It has been a remarkable recovery for the Irish team, moving from second last in the standings up to third.
"It’s incredible to come from where we were to where we are now," said Robert. "A lot of people came here for a great show, and we gave them something to cheer about."
Nations Cup jumping is set for changes in the 2013 season - previously the teams that finished in the bottom two would be relegated, but there has been no confirmation of the format for 2013.
Draft copies of new plans are currently in circulation.
Result, FEI Nations Cup of Ireland
1. Ireland 5 faults: Pacino (Clem McMahon) 0/0, Ahorn van de Zuuthoeve (Richie Moloney) 1/0, Lisona (Darragh Kerins) 0/4, Blue Loyd (Cian O'Connor 4/DNS.
2. France 8 faults: Topinambour (Penelope Leprevost) 4/Elim, Nippon d'Elle (Roger Yves Bost) 0/0, OHM De Ponthual (J Hurel) 8/0, Reveue de Hurtebise HDC (Kevin Staut) 0/4.
3. Great Britain 9 faults: Carlo (Nick Skelton) 16/0, Voila (Robert Smith) 5/4, Hello Sailor (Tina Fletcher) 0/0, Argento (John Whitaker) 0/Ret.
4. Netherlands 16 faults: Tobalio (Albert Voorn) 4/0, VDL Bubalu (Jur Vrieling) 4/0, Sterrhof's Opium (Marc Houtzager) 4/4, BMC Quality time (Jeroen Dubbeldam) 12/4.
5. Belgium 24 faults: Challenge vd Begijnakker (Ludo Phliippaerts) 4/0, bufero Vh Panishof (Dirk Demeersman) 4/0, D'Athlantique Royale (Francois Mathy Jr) 8/8, Cabrio van de Heffinck (Olivier Philippaerts) 12/8.
5. Switzerland 24 faults: Luis Della Caccia (Arthur Da Silva) 4/4, Carpalo (Steve Guerdat) 8/12, Palloubet D'Halong (Jannika Sprunger) 4/8, Verdi III (Pius Schwizer) 4/0.
7. Sweden 28 faults: Lunatic (Jens Fredricson) 0/0, SIEC Livello (Angelica Augustsson) 0/8, Glory Days (Daniel Zetterman) 4/16, Matrix (Lisen Fredricson) 4/20.
8. Germany 29 faults: Corradina (Carsten-Otto Nagel) 0/4, Chopin (Tim Rieskamp-Goedeking) 8/12, JK Horsetrucks Commanchi (Jorg Naeve) 12/8, Magnus Romeo (Hans-Dieter Dreher) 9/0.
FEI Nations Cup™ 2012 - Final Standings after Round 8 at Dublin (IRL)
1. Germany 48.00
2. France 44.00
3. Ireland 39.00
4. Great Britain 38.00
5. Switzerland 35.00
6. Netherlands 34.50
7. Sweden 33.50
8. Belgium 32.00