Ireland qualify for show jumping team final in North Carolina

Anchorman Cian O’Connor produced one of only five clears at World Equestrian Games

Ireland has qualified for Friday's final team round of the show jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

At lunchtime on Thursday, a place in the final didn't look at all likely for the Rodrigo Pessoa-managed team as Cork's Shane Sweetnam, who had gone clear on Wednesday, had picked up nine faults with Chaqui Z while Tipperary's Shane Breen finished his round on Ipswich van de Wolfsakker with an additional 14 faults.

Things didn’t improve when the action resumed in the afternoon as Limerick’s Paul O’Shea had two fences down with Skara Glen’s Machu. However, anchorman Cian O’Connor produced one of only five clears within the time on Good Luck to give Ireland a two-round total of 27.10. The Meath rider, who was temporarily in the individual silver medal position, finished the day in fifth place on a penalty score of 2.69.

While Switzerland continues to lead the team standings (11.64) ahead of the USA (12.59), Germany (18.09), Sweden (20.59) and The Netherlands (24.35), Swiss rider Steve Guerdat, who was in the lead individually after the opening round with Bianca, dropped to eighth (4). Italy's Lorenzo de Luca now tops the leaderboard with Irenice Horta (1.19).