The Irish Club Pony mounted games team were winners at the recent Royal Windsor Horse Show. Despite tough competition from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland the Irish team claimed victory in the DAKS International Mounted Games Championship on Sunday May 13th 2012.
Trained by Chris Ahearne of Tipperary Hunt branch of the Irish Pony Club, the team consisted of Laois Pony Club member Andrew Devitt from Timahoe, (14) on Kelboy, Peter McCarthy (14) on Little Vic Buddy, (Kildare PC), Philip Weldon (14) on Riverstown Blondie, (Meath PC), Darragh Kavanagh (15) on Doogra Dunne (Paolo), (Shillelagh PC) & Niall Hughes (13) on Smartie, (Monaghan PC). The reserve team member was Molly Furlong, (Shillelagh PC).
The competition started well for Ireland winning Joint 2nd & 1st place rosettes from Thursday’s sessions, with Wales in overall 1st position. Friday again saw Ireland taking third and joint first with Wales over two sessions while Wales remained in pole position.
All that changed on Saturday as Ireland won the first session and came third in the next leaving Wales trailing by 3 pts overall on the leader board.
Going into Sunday’s final Ireland were in pole position but with double points on offer it was all to play for.
The excitement in the main arena was palpable as watched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, the Irish team increased their lead to an unstoppable 11 pts going into the final race.
With a score of 202 points the Republic of Ireland won the DAKS Challenge Trophy, in 2nd place was Wales on 191, followed by England on 185, Scotland in 4th on 171 & Northern Ireland in 5th place.
The team & supporters were ecstatic at a wonderful finish to a thrilling competition. Ireland were deserved winners who had put in a huge effort training hard since the end of February combining hard work , determination and indomitable team spirit to see them through to success in this prestigious international competition. The team was ably trained by Mr. Chris Ahearne and the hard work paid dividends when the competition pressure was applied.