All-Ire­land glory!

Fab­u­lous first for Cour­town Golf Club

New Ross Standard - - SPORT -

COUR­TOWN GOLF Club achieved its first All-Ire­land ti­tle re­cently in Knights­brook in the I.L.G.U. Ju­nior four­somes fi­nal.

De­spite at­tend­ing na­tional in­ter-club fi­nals in the past, Cour­town had been un­suc­cess­ful in pre­vi­ous at­tempts to win a green pen­nant.

On the Fri­day they had over­come Bal­lina in a nail-bit­ing semi-fi­nal. With one match in the bag when Mary Kil­bride and Stella Court­ney won on the 15th, the fi­nal pair­ing of Eileen Cullen and Mairéad Sun­der­land were forced to go down the 19th, hav­ing fin­ished all flat af­ter 18 holes.

Much to the de­light of the Cour­town con­tin­gent, a place in the fi­nal was se­cured.

It was an es­pe­cially emo­tional week for Eileen Cullen, who missed the Dis­trict fi­nals due to the death of her hus­band, Michael, just the night be­fore, but team man­ager Laura Funge was in­sis­tent that he was keep­ing an eye on Eileen and the team at Knights­brook.

‘Our match in the Dis­trict fi­nal went to the 22nd hole and there is no doubt that Michael put us through,’ she said.

‘The whole team played for Eileen that day and it is great that we have her on the team this week.’

Fast for­ward to Satur­day and the All-Ire­land fi­nal. Cour­town had high hopes of end­ing their long wait for a na­tional ti­tle and they were not to be de­nied an All-Ire­land vic­tory af­ter an his­toric 2.5 to 0.5 win over Shan­don Park.

Lady Cap­tain Catherine Quinn and Mary Os­borne put Cour­town one-nil ahead with a 6&4 win, and with Stella Court­ney and Mary Kil­bride claim­ing a 4&3 win, Eileen Cullen and her part­ner, Mairéad Sun­der­land, were called in and the cel­e­bra­tions be­gan.

Laura Funge was keen to point out that while a par­tic­u­lar six played on the day, the vic­tory would not have been achieved with­out the help of a ded­i­cated panel of sub­sti­tutes who had stepped in when needed.

These were Mairéad Carty, Kate Shee­han, Julie McCar­tan, Pat Wal­ters and Ann Bernie.

The team would also like to thank in a spe­cial way all the sup­port­ers who trav­elled to sup­port them both at the Dis­trict fi­nals in Tul­lam­ore and at the fi­nals in Knights­brook.

‘This is a won­der­ful day for Cour­town Golf Club,’ Laura said. ‘Af­ter 75 years we are here as All-Ire­land cham­pi­ons and it’s a won­der­ful feel­ing.

‘I am so de­lighted for the play­ers, the lady Cap­tain, lady Pres­i­dent, and the club. We will be hold­ing a spe­cial event in the club on Fri­day, Novem­ber 16, to mark the oc­ca­sion and all club mem­bers, fam­ily and friends are wel­come.’ THE NA­TIONAL dres­sage cham­pi­onships took place at Ca­van Eques­trian Cen­tre re­cently.

With al­most 270 en­tries and 574 tests rid­den over three days, the com­mit­tee did a ster­ling job to run this show so smoothly.

Classes were run from Ju­nior trail­blaz­ers (Un­der-12) up to grand prix which is the high­est level in dres­sage. Qual­i­fi­ca­tion was re­quired for all classes which ran from shortly af­ter the win­ter fi­nals, held at the same venue in April, un­til Septem­ber 9.

There’s been an in­flux of young­sters into dres­sage in re­cent years. Al­to­gether, 42 trail­blazer tests were judged, show­ing that this ini­tia­tive has been a roar­ing suc­cess in at­tract­ing young rid­ers into the sport.

The judg­ing panel were com­prised of in­ter­na­tional judges, some of whom also gave their time gen­er­ously in an in­for­mal Q&A ses­sion on the Fri­day evening. Judges’ training ran con­cur­rently to the na­tion­als, with sev­eral Ir­ish­based judges tak­ing their ex­ams to up­grade.

The 14-strong trail­blaz­ers Ju­nior pre­lim­i­nary A (for Un­der-12s) was won by Youth De­vel­op­ment Squad (Y.D.S.) mem­ber Os­car O’Con­nor rid­ing his eleven-yearold geld­ing, Tre­friw Pepsi, on 73.8%. This com­bi­na­tion also took sec­ond in the Novice cat­e­gory on 72.08%.

The pre­lim. Cat. 3 class was dom­i­nated by the South East Rgion where they took first through to fifth places all on scores above 70%.

Rose­mary Gaffney won on her nine-year-old Dan­ish mare Werona (73.42%), with sec­ond and fifth places go­ing to Y.D.S. found­ing mem­ber Rachel Dow­ley rid­ing her five-year-olds, In­sti­ca­tor B.S. and In­trique Aim­bry.

2016 and 2017 na­tional cham­pion, Anne Marie Dun­phy, took third on her five-year-old geld­ing LEG Hugo, with Elaine Pot­ter, rid­ing her Wo­man­izer geld­ing CLH Big Red, slot­ting into fourth.

Ten-year-old Os­car O’Con­nor won the Novice Cat­e­gory 1 class, rid­ing his re­cently pur­chased eight-year-old Dutch pony Top Hero 2, on 73.3%.

Rose­mary Gaffney was back in ac­tion to take the Cat. 3 ti­tle on her Painted Black-sired mare Werona.

U.K. bred Hart­pury Sky Is The Limit, rid­den by S.E.R. mem­ber Gabrielle Le Guay, won the Ele­men­tary Cat. 2 on 70.63%, with Han­nah Field­ing winning the Cat. 3 on her Fider­tanz mare Florentina DWS on 73.2%.

The Ad­vanced Medium was won by Y.D.S. grad­u­ate Sive Kear­ney and her 13-year-old Ger­man-bred geld­ing Rob Roy on 67.62%.

U.K.-based and list 1 judge Dane Rawl­ins and his nine-yearold Ehren­mann geld­ing Espoire took sec­ond place in both the In­ter 2 and G.P. classes.

The five-year-old class was won by Rachel Dow­ley on the Floren­cio-sired geld­ing In­sti­ca­tor B.S., with a huge score of 85%. This com­bi­na­tion also won the Novice Freestyle (F.S.) with a jaw-drop­ping per­for­mance of 83.06% - the top F.S. score of the cham­pi­onship.

Anne Marie Dun­phy won the Grand Prix Kur on her 17-year-old Ron­aldo-sired geld­ing Ur­banus, with 70.6%, a per­sonal best for this com­bi­na­tion.

Para-eques­trian classes were well sup­ported with en­tries for grades 1 through to 5. Grade 3 was won by Kate Kerr-Ho­ran on Ser­a­fina T with 70.6%.

Rose­mary Gaffney took first and sec­ond place with Werona on 71.3% and 70.23% on her twelveyear-old Krac C-sired geld­ing Bink in the Grade 4 class.

Given the dom­i­na­tion demon­strated by the South East Re­gion (S.E.R.) in the above re­sults, it’s no sur­prise that they won both cat­e­gories of the team events.

The Se­nior team com­prised Rose­mary Gaffney/Werona, Anne Marie Dun­phy/LEB Hugo, Gabrielle Le Guay/Hart­pury Sky Is The Limit, and Han­nah Field­ing/ Florentina DWS.

The Un­der-25 team was made up of Rachel Dow­ley/In­sti­ca­tor B.S., Rachel Carr/Calel­vador May Blos­som, Emily Kate Robin­son/ Ed­vaard, and Os­car O’Con­nor/ Top Hero 2.

See www.dres­sageire­land.ie/ re­sults/na­tional-cham­pi­onships for full re­sults.

The qual­i­fi­ca­tion pe­riod is now open for the na­tional win­ter fi­nals in April, 2019. The next South East Re­gion show is in Danville House Farm in Kilkenny on Oc­to­ber 21 by kind per­mis­sion of Bar­bara Stal­lard.

Up­com­ing shows will be added to the Dres­sage Ire­land web­site through­out the sea­son.

En­quiries re­lat­ing to the Youth De­vel­op­ment Squad should be di­rected to Jil­lie Rogers or Anne Marie Dun­phy (de­tails on ser. dres­sageire­land.ie).

The Y.D.S. training course is a S.E.R. ini­tia­tive set up and run by Jil­lie and Anne Marie. Its pur­pose is to iden­tify tal­ent early and nur­ture it for the in­ter­na­tional scene. Y.D.S. mem­bers travel from all re­gions to par­take in the training.

The All-Ire­land winning ladies from Cour­town Golf Club.

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