Springbulben steal the cup but Letterkenny keep plenty of red rosettes in the county

On a day when rain teemed relentlessly from the sky,” The Show With The Roof” provided excellent entertainment as riders from Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal fought it out in some thrilling competitions. None was more closely contested than the Northwest Team Show Jumping Challenge. With just the Advanced Intermediates left to jump, there were three teams still in contention for the cup. When both Marina for Letterkenny’s Team 1 and Fiona Tansey of the Springbulben team registered 4 faults at the same fence, it all came down to a jump off. Gallant Armstrong’s single time fault kept Letterkenny’s Team 3 out of the finale as they settled for third place.

With the Intermediate riders responsible for jump-off duties, Finola Murphy on Jessie faced off Paddy on Lizzie. They both rose to the occasion magnificently and produced immaculate clear rounds. Finola just pipped Paddy on time and the Springbulben team pried the cup from Letterkenny’s hands for the very first time. Congratulations all of you. We hope you’ll be back to defend it next year.

The individual classes provided great entertainment and excitement with the Primaries kicking things off in style. Karen Logue had a lovely round on Jack at her very first riding club show but had faults in her first round. This was the case for rider after rider and the course was quite obviously proving tricky. Just as it looked as if nobody would manage an error-free round, Ryan McBride and Clyde of the Gaeltachts jumped an effortless double clear to take the lead. Rising to the challenge, Dave entered the arena on Britney for his first ever competition and promptly delivered the winning double clear to take the class in brilliant style for Letterkenny.

The Advanced Primary class was equally hotly contested and Cathriona Goaley from Springmount Riding Club in Galway was rewarded for her stalwart support of this show with both first and third placings on her own Curra Whoopi and partner Ciaran’s Cash Customer respectively. Leo and Cool were marginally wide of the winning time, taking second spot with a spirited performance.

Cathriona almost stole the Primary & Advanced Primary Accumulator for Galway but Keary saved the day for Donegal when pipping her by .2 of a second for a thrilling victory on Arthur.

The Intermediate class produced just three clear rounds, proving again that Seamus’s coursebuilding was challenging horses and riders. Again we had a rider with two horses in the thick of things — this time Ann Chambers riding her own Molly and Keary’s Arthur. Although she rode two masterful rounds, it was the unbeatable combination of Finola Murphy and Jessie Kildalton Delight from Benbulben who once again took the red ribbon for Sligo.

Despite a healthy entry, the combined Advanced Intermediate & Open class failed to produce a single clear round. Damien and the indomitable Armstrong were the only combination to clear every jump in the correct order and deservedly won the class despite their single time fault.

That left just the Intermediate & Above novelty class, the Accummulator, to bring down the curtain on the day. And what a finale it proved. After breathtaking rounds from numerous competitors, it was Kean O’Hara and Ted who took first prize for Benbulben.

It was a wonderful day’s competition with lots of new faces and plenty of entertainment and excitement. A huge thanks to everybody who helped in any way, in particular to Rachel and Martina who coordinated the whole event; to our judge Jane Conway and her righthand man, Mike; to Seamus for his intensive coursebuilding, and to Maura and Orla for scoring the team challenge. Most of all, thanks to everybody who travelled to support the show. Here’s to 2012.

Full results shortly and more photos in the Gallery in due course.

Pictured below: Some of the winners on the day. Congratulations to all of you.