Category Archives: AIRC National Competitions

Memorable day for Donegal in Mullingar Masters

The news flashes coming in throughout the day told the story of a fairytale outing to the Masters Series Finals in Mullingar on Sunday. What all began at the Northwest League at Templemore in January came to fruition on the AIRC’s national stage.

Well done Donegal. Well done neighbours. But most of all, well done to our very own Rachel, Dawn, Cormac, Shauna and, last but not least, the club whippersnapper, Emma. We are incredibly proud of your achievements.

Masters Series Final Results 2016

Northwest League edges past the half-way mark

Cold alright, but it was dry, sunny and very successful for Letterkenny at the third leg of the Northwest League at Templemore last Sunday. On a day when not only league points but also Masters Final qualification spots were at stake, our riders covered themselves in glory winning all three of the senior classes and mopping up with plenty of placings.

Congratulations everybody.

NWL Spring 2016 | Week 3 Points Table
NWL Spring 2016 | Week 3 Results

Magnificent Flowerhill

Perfect weather, a fantastic challenging course, beautiful riding and driving conditions and lots of success combined to make Flowerhill 2015 a vintage renewal of the best loved event on the calendar.

Congratulations to Denis and Dawn on their 3rd place in the AP Pairs, to Leo and Marina who landed the prized red rosette in the Intermediate Pairs, to Anne and Keary who took the green ribbon in the same class, and to Francis, who after a challenging round in the Pairs swooped to take second place in the ultra-competitive Intermediate Championship. Hot on his heels came new member Shauna Boyle in joint 4th place. Well done everybody who won or placed, and well done everybody who competed. You brought great credit to the club.

A gazillion thanks to Marina for yet again ensuring that we had our usual quarters on site. It just wouldn’t be the same any other way and Marina’s promptness each year in booking stables is the key to our enjoyment of the whole expedition.

A gazillion thanks too to Ann for organising such a wonderful volunteer rota that allowed the riders to concentrate entirely on enjoying the riding, and for herself (and Keary) for shouldering a substantial part of the workload.

Thanks to all the club’s foot soldiers for helping out with the volunteering, with the horses, with the camping, and with the craic. And thanks for support on the course — there may not be time for the riders to acknowledge the roars as they pass but they really do give a great lift.

Thanks to all our pals of the Donegal Gaeltachts, Tirconaills and Inishowens who themselves enjoyed a very successful event and who help us make Flowerhill our own. Just 12 months until we hit the road again…

Congratulations, Cormac!

While his club mates kicked back in Bundoran at the weekend, Cormac hit the long road to Mullingar with Santa Fe to represent Letterkenny at the finals of the prestigious Masters Series in show jumping. They duly delivered the goods and brought home a treasured national ribbon. Huge congratulations on your sixth place in the Advanced Intermediate Welcome Stakes, Cormac. That’s a brilliant achievement in a truly competitive class.

Full results can be viewed on the AIRC website.

Running order for Team Show Jumping Qualifier, Sunday 25 May

The big day is approaching fast and the running order for teams at the RDS qualifier has now been published — and Letterkenny is first into the lions’ den! No better man for that job than Leo on the aptly named Cool! Best of luck everybody.

TSJC Regional Qualifier Programme | 2014

Pictured below: Leo on Cool delivering one of their two fine clear rounds at last year’s qualifier in Tubberbride.


Regional dressage qualifier confirmed for Beach Show

Great news on the dressage front: Donegal will host one of two dressage qualifiers in the western region this year. Our qualifier will take place at the beach Show on Sunday 1 June.

Our Donegal Gaeltacht hosts will operate a pre-entry system for ‘Teams’ with allocated times in the dressage. Entries close on Wednesday 28 May and the entry fee is €40.00 per team.

Sadly for Letterkenny, several of our key dressage enthusiasts are unable to make the show this year. Hopefully we’ll be able to field a competitive team nevertheless. Anyone who would like to compete on a team (and is willing to commit to going to the Championships in Mullingar in the event that we qualify!) should contact Vera without further delay. Full details of the dressage championships can be found on the AIRC or Gaeltacht’s website.

Pictured below: Nadine and Millie (aka Nellie) at the Beach Show, 2013.


Ace team announced for RDS qualifier

Leo on Cool and Ann on Armstrong will be joined by Cormac on Sante Fe and Damien on Millie as the club tries once again to qualify for that elusive place at the RDS in August. The qualifier takes place on Sunday 25 May at Kerins’s in Collooney. It’s a really great day’s sport for spectators as well as competitors and we hope there’ll be lots of support for the team on the day.

Don’t forget: Festival entries close Wednesday 7 May

Entries deadline looms. Check out the AIRC website for full details!

Flowerhill smiles


Smiles and laughter say it all! Thanks to Anne for sending on the photo. See the rest of them in the Gallery.

Peerless Flowerhill

The fondness with which Flowerhill is regarded amongst the Donegal riding clubs was more evident than ever this past weekend. Half the county’s members descended on the sprawling Galway estate near Portumna to enjoy the hospitality of its ever-welcoming and energetic owner, Oliver.

The first competition of the weekend began around 10am on Saturday at various points dotted around east Donegal. There was a near-perfect convergence of vehicles just south of Ballybofey with Damien and Francis in the vanguard. Not for the first time did Marina and Damien take each other on, this time in a relentless slow-motion race south. Marina, tired of annually arriving Paddy last and having to squeeze her sizeable horses into the last crack in the stable walls, had evidently sent Enda out for a winter course of lorry driving and he delivered spectacularly on the day. The big St Johnston lorry pulled victoriously into Flowerhill marginally ahead of the gallant red van with its super-sized load of custom-built 4-legged cross-country machines.

Entertainment on the journey included a Physical & Spritual Flowerhill Travellers Sweepstake on the Grand National. Evidence is provided below of the scrupulously fair drawing of the horses. All insinuations of trickery and skullduggery are being vehemently denied by the organisers. Maura was the lucky winner of the winner-takes-all pot.

With horses comfortably installed in familiar quarters, tents pitched and carefully stowed in trailers and lorries, man and beast properly fed, the real entertainment was cooking up nicely in the large informal kitchen of the hospitable house. The only thing more impressive than the extraordinary number of Donegal club members gathered in a room in Galway was the same group’s phenomenal production of homemade alcoholic beverages. There were several suspiciously unlabelled bottles from a bona fide brewery on the Fanad peninsula, fine turnip wine and its sibling, turnip poitin, from the wildest west of the county, a truly remarkable sloe gin from Burt direction, and a memorable brandy-ball liquer from the banks of the Finn. Together they contributed to a hell of an atmosphere and there was little residual damage when things got earnest on Sunday morning.

Rain came down early in the day but it quickly cleared to a bright and breezy day. The ground was softer than we’re used to in Flowerhill but that was no deterrent to Donegal horses. In the usual sequence, the starter dispatched the Pairs and then the Individuals at each grade. Refusals, run-outs, navigational crises and the odd topple off (too much turnip wine?) were a feature of the Pairs classes but Anne and Keary were in top form and claimed a famous victory at Intermediate level on Molly and Arthur. Huge congratulations to you both. Damien and Francis squeaked in for fifth spot and some ribbons to shorten the journey home. Otherwise the day was fruitless in ribbon terms but the yield of smiles, laughter and exhilaration hit its usual peak. Nobody goes to Flowerhill expecting to win.

The Gaeltachts brought home their usual fine quota of rosettes and it was particularly thrilling to see Liz Potter and Clyde finish a brilliant fourth in the Advanced Primary Championship. Not too long ago Liz wouldn’t have dreamed she would ever have the courage to ride at Flowerhill. Quite an achievement!

Three Inishowen riders made the club’s first foray to the magical destination and they surely won’t be the last.

A very, very big thanks to Marina for organising all our stables and to Kelly and Jade for their hours of fence-stewarding. Let’s hope they don’t grow up to riding club age for a good while yet.

Congratulations to all our competitors, particularly to Anne and Keary, and to Denis and Christopher who rode superbly and entertainingly on their first assault on Flowerhill. Respect to Teldel who powered around the course like a juvenile at the ripe old age of 24. Sympathy to Anne and Damien who completed their individual rounds on zero scores yet missed out on placings purely by fate and a whisker. Hats off to Leo and Dawn who completed masterful clear rounds on inexperienced youngsters. Finally, thanks to our valiant foot soldiers, led by Louise, Linda and Dympna and bolstered by the younger generation.

Full results are up on the AIRC website and photographs can be seen on the Equestrian Photographic Services site. The Letterkenny colours are as easy to spot as ever. Great colours for a great club.

Pictured below: The Sweepstake Draw. If there are any more photos out there, send them on!