Cian O’Connor takes individual bronze at European Championships

Irish show jumper was part of gold-medal winning team on Friday night

Cian O’Connor of Ireland on his horse Good Luck during the FEI European Championships at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden. Photograph: Pontus Lundahl/TT News Agency via Reuters

Cian O’Connor, a member of Ireland’s gold medal-winning team on Friday night, claimed individual bronze at the European show jumping championships in Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday.

All three Irish team riders who qualified for the final stages of the individual competition were among the 12 who got through to the second round on Sunday. O’Connor progressed in the silver medal position with Good Luck on 2.25 penalties as the host nation’s Peder Fredricson, the Olympic silver medallist, maintained his lead on a zero score with H&M All In.

Sixth to jump in the fifth and final round of the championships, Tipperary native Denis Lynch had the first fence down with Thomas Straumann's 14-year-old Argentinus stallion All Star 5 and picked up a single time penalty for a total of 12.76 and an eventual 10th place finish.

Cork's Shane Sweetnam, who had been lying third overnight but had a fence down in the first round on Sunday to slip to fourth, notched up another four faults in the second to finish eighth with his own and Spy Coast Farm's Chacco stallion Chaqui Z (10.10).


In the bronze medal position on 5.52 penalties, The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders recorded a clear on Don VHP Z and he then moved up a place when O’Connor had the vertical at five down for a total of 6.25 with the Canturo stallion Good Luck which is owned by Adena Springs and Ronnoco Jump.

Having been faultless through the previous four rounds, Fredricson’s luck ran out in the last but even lowering the middle part of the combination and picking up a time penalty for a championships total of five couldn’t knock the Swede and H&M All In from the top spot much to the delight of the home crowd.

Speaking afterwards, a delighted O’Connor was keen to pay tribute to his horse and thank his support team,

“I’m over the moon, it’s been an excellent week to win team gold and to finish with three riders in the top 10 individually. As our assistant manager Michael Blake said, the famine is over. It could have been even better, the lightest of rubs cost us gold but that’s the sport with small margins at this top level.

“Good Luck has been incredible. He has learned now to go fast against the clock which he showed on the opening day. I am very lucky to have a huge support team around me at Karlswood and I want to thank them all for their effort and support. In particular I want to thank Good Luck’s groom Alan O’Brien, along with Ross Mullholland and Michael Kelly, who do so much work behind the scenes riding our horses and with our training.”

London Olympic bronze medal winner O’Connor, joins an elite group of Irish European Championship individual medal winners which includes Peter Charles, who won gold at St Gallen, Switzerland in 1995 riding La Ina, and Eddie Macken, who won the silver medal in Austria in 1977 riding Kerrygold.