THE Irish Pony Club/Audi Naas national Tetrathlon championships were held in very hot conditions last weekend in Blanchardstown (swimming and shooting on Saturday) and Punchestown (running and riding on Sunday).
There were some standout performances at the championships such as the two wins from just two representatives of the Cavan Branch, the win and second-place finish of two West Waterford brothers and the individual breakthrough success of a Ward Union member who had been knocking on the door for a few years.
However, we start with the team competitions and both senior events were won by teams consisting of just three competitors.
The Kildare Branch may well have the largest number of members in the IPC and were competing on home ground, but they still had to go out and prove themselves as did the Lillies trio of Emily Martin, Eliza-Jane Queally and Ruth Sargent who won the senior girls’ event on a total of 11,780 points.
Back in second on 11,480 points was the Bray trio of Aisling Marriott, Holly Smith and Eva Marriott with the Tipperary Talents (Jane O’Donnell, Emily Fox, Katie Healy and Ruby Ffrench Davis) finishing third on 11,440. O’Donnell, who placed seventh individually, was presented with the Rhona Barry Salver as winner of the shooting phase with 920 points.
Sargent, who placed second individually overall (on 4,192), won the running phase with 1,028 points while all three of the Lillies held on to their 1,400 points across the country – as did 16 other starters. This number included Cavan’s Lucy Hogan who won the swim with 1,140 points (and with it the Gabriella Weaver trophy) and went on to be crowned individual senior girls champion on a total of 4,288.
Wicklow’s Robert Cherry joined forces with Feargal de Barra and Jack Hanrahan of the Clare Branch to win the senior boys’ championship on a total of 11,886 points. While all kept their 1,400 ride points, as did 10 others from a starting line-up of 17, none of the trio won any of the other phases with De Barra faring best when third in the swim.
A mixed team of the Golden Vale’s Ben Nolan, West Waterford’s William Verling and the Tipperary pair Bob Barton and Ben Coleman were second on 11,747. Amazingly, given the numbers involved, there was a divide for third place when both the mixed team of Wexford’s Caolan Costello, Muskerry’s Diarmuid O’Halloran and Warrington’s Adam Hutchinson completed with 11,593 points to their credit as did the Limerick Lads’ trio of Tim Collins, Ben Buckley and Sean Alfred. As the highest-placed team comprising members of the same Branch, the Limerick Lads were presented with the Purser Joblin cup.
The individual champion on 4,383 was the Ward Union’s Jed Collins while the phase winners were Alfred in the shoot (870) and swim (1,191) and Verling who recorded 1,183 points in the run to claim the John Deakin Cup.
The Golden Vale Branch, who left last year’s championships with the title best newcomer club, took on board all advice proffered then and trained hard during the winter. Their efforts paid off when their Avengers squad of Alexander Maher, Evan Nolan, Leo Cleere and Shane O’Dywer won the junior boys’ championship with 12,506, claiming the IPC trophy in the process.
Two other teams recorded over 12,000 points – the Tipperary Titans (Max O’Reilly, Zach Palmer, Harry Barton and Conor Hayes) who amassed 12,093 and the Limerick Legends (Sonny McCartan, Harry Buckley, Eamon Collins and Hugh Collins) who completed on 12,013.
The overall individual honours went to West Waterford’s Peter Verling whose total of 4,700 included 830 for winning the shoot and 1,400 points for being one of 21 to go clear across the country. South Westmeath’s Tom O’Rourke was presented with the Cahill Dulow Cup for topping the standings in the swim phase (1,372) while the run was won by Carlow’s Jamie Hargaden on 1,280 points.
Teams out in force
Twenty-five teams contested the junior girls’ championship where there was a very comprehensive victory for the Duhallow Diamonds team of Ella Lombard, Caroline Roche, Victoria Roche and Grace Forde, all of whom were clear across the country on their way to accumulating 13,075 points. Also holding on to all their ride points to finish second on 12,707 were the Kildare Cobras (Lucy Martin, Isabelle Walsh, Ellie Dillon and Katie Dillon) while the Wexford Gold quartet of Cora Finn, Emma Hickey, Lucy Minihan and Molly Hennessy Murphy) did have a few cross-country blips on their way to finishing third on 12,700.
The overall individual winner on 4,474 was one of the last to compete on the day, Cavan’s Sahara Smith who won the shoot with 890 points and was clear across the country. Best in the pool was Leitrim’s Grace Quinn (1,280 points) while the highest run score of 1,125 was recorded by Emma Hickey.
John Flood, chairman of the IPC’s Tetrathlon committee, was pleased with the entry numbers which would have been higher had there not been a clash with the JCB Pony Club championships in Offchurch Bury as this prevented competitors from Area 17 (Northern Ireland) and Britain attending the IPC event.