Ireland's European Championship winning Show Jumping team attend medal reception in Dublin

Ireland's 2017 European Championship winning Show Jumping teams were honoured today (Monday) at a special medal reception in Dublin, where guests included The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, TD, and Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.

A historic year for Irish Show Jumping saw the Irish senior team win the gold medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden in August, while the Irish Pony team (under 16) also won European Gold at Kaposvár in Hungary last July.

All five members of the victorious Irish European squad, Mark McAuley, Bertram Allen, Shane Sweetnam, Denis Lynch and Cian O'Connor who also won individual bronze at the Championships, were in Dublin together for the medal reception. They were joined by Ireland's European Championships winning pony team of Ciaran Nallon, Abbie Sweetnam, Seamus Hughes Kennedy, and Kate Derwin who won individual silver and Harry Allen who also won individual Gold.

Speaking at the reception, held at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, TD said:

"I am delighted to honour the extraordinary achievement of our Irish Show Jumping team and manager Rodrigo Pessoa - winning the European Championship Gold Medal this year for the first time in 16 years along with individual Bronze. Ireland has a proud tradition of success in equestrian sport and this was further enhanced by an historic performance by our riders in Gothenburg. It is also hugely exciting to see we continue to produce exceptional talent at underage level and this was underlined by our under 16 pony riders also winning European team and individual Gold in Hungary."

Guests at the reception also included Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy, Irish pony team manager Gary Marshall, and Irish Show Jumping assistant manager Michael Blake.

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy said:

"2017 was an excellent year for Ireland's show jumpers with the standout moment being the European Championship Gold Medal won in Gothenburg in August. Ireland is synonymous with equestrian sport and our showjumpers continue to be excellent ambassadors for the country all over the world. I am particularly pleased to see our young showjumpers perform so well in Hungary this year which bodes well for the future. As we head into a very important period ahead with the World Equestrian Games just around the corner Ireland is well place to make its mark on the international stage once again."

Horse Sport Ireland interim Chairman Jim Beecher said:

"It is fitting to see our riders honoured at this medal reception for what was an historic day in Irish sport. This is the first time all five members of the Irish squad have been together in Dublin since their win and we are delighted to have Minister Shane Ross and representatives from Sport Ireland here to meet our European Champions. The Sport Horse Industry contributes more than €800 Million to the Irish economy, and success for our senior team and underage riders level gives a huge boost to all involved. We have another massive year ahead in 2018 with the World Equestrian Games on the horizon and we wish all our athletes the best of luck in their preparations."

The Irish senior Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, while the Irish Pony team is sponsored by Gain.