Equestrian: Rhys Williams becomes Ireland’s latest European champion

Rider wins gold in Fontainebleau, Bertram Allen to represent Ireland in Sweden

Irish show jumping has another European champion in its ranks following the Gold medal win in the children on horses individual competition at Fontainebleau on Saturday by County Clare’s Rhys Williams.

Following the conclusion of Wednesday’s team competition, in which Ireland won team Silver, the top 30 combinations progressed to Saturday’s individual decider of this event which is confined to riders under 14 competing on horses as opposed to ponies.

These included Armagh's Lucy Morton, who finished equal 21st on Paul Boyle's Delton, and 13-year-old Williams who, competing with Marie Burke's home-bred CES Cruson, was one of six riders who went into Saturday's final round on a score of zero but was the only one to complete on a clean sheet to claim Gold. Five riders jumped off for the minor medals with Germany taking Silver and Bronze through Chiara Reyer on Cederic (34.30) and Henry Munsberg on Asterix (35.28).

Irish Youth team manager, James Kernan, was impressed with the composure shown by Williams in a tense final round, saying: “Rhys showed nerves of steel. It was an exceptional performance from him all week. He rode according to his plan and it was an exhibition of jumping from him and his horse. Rhys really is a star for the future. It has been an incredible week and again I want to thank all involved in helping us deliver these results.”


Ireland will be represented by Jack Ryan (currently seventh on Cavalier Teaca), Kate Derwin (14th with AHG Whiterock Cruise Down) and Jason Foley (30th on Castlefield Vegas) in Sunday’s individual Junior championship and by Susan Fitzpatrick (eighth with Fellow Castlefield) and Lucinda Roche (19th on WCE Falco) in the young riders’ section.

Bertram Allen (Gin Chin van het Lindenhof), Mark McAuley (Utchan de Belheme), Daniel Coyle (Cita) and Paul O'Shea will represent Ireland in Sunday's Longines FEI Nations' Cup at Falsterbo in Sweden having been named on Saturday by team manager Rodrigo Pessoa. This will be the third of Ireland's five points-scoring rounds in this year's series.

The competition gets under way at 1.0pm local time and Ireland have been drawn first to jump of the eight nations competing.

At the Swedish venue on Saturday, Ireland's Billy Twomey (Ardcolum Duke) and Paul O'Shea (Skara Glen's Presence) finish third and fourth respectively in the 1.50m Derby. This was won by the host nation's Peder Fredricson whose second round clear on Forget Me Nots came in a time of 51.27 while The Netherlands' Kevin Jochems, who also went double clear, was home in 53.09 with Evita.

Co Waterford-born Anthony Condon won Saturday’s 1.45m jump-off class at Chantilly, France on his own and John Hales’s 12-year-old Arko stallion SFS Artistio while later in the day, Co Cork native Shane Sweetnam partnered Main Road (74.95) into fourth place in the 1.60m speed competition won by Britain’s John Whitaker on board Argento (72.58).

Under lights at the two-star show in Tryon, North Carolina on Saturday night, Kilkenny's Richie Moloney won the featured Grand Prix with Equinimity's 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion Button Sitte, a grey by Ogano Sitte. The Irish combination were home clear in 38.336 in the second round beating the USA's Todd Minikus into second with Excel (38.402). Ireland's David O'Brien finished fifth as he had two fences down against the clock with Kirschwasser SCF.

In eventing, there were disappointing results for the Irish teams competing in the European Championships in Fontainebleau with the Young Riders’ squad in last place as only two riders remain in the competition after cross-country while the Junior team, on a penalty score of 128.40, is still in eighth spot.

The highest-placed Irish Junior rider is Co Down’s Katie Riley who was lying 20th overnight on Versace Biscuit while the best of the Young Riders’ squad going into Sunday’s concluding show jumping phase, is Co Kilkenny’s Christine O’Donnell who is in 17th place on Blessington Prince Royal.