Following a superb year for Irish Show Jumping on the international stage at underage and senior level in 2017, a host of Ireland's top athletes gathered at the Killashee House Hotel in Naas Co Kildare last Saturday for the prestigious Irish Show Jumping Awards Gala.
Among the accolades given out on the night, 14 Irish riders were awarded prestigious 'FEI Badges of Honour' in recognition of their performances for Ireland on the international stage. Gold FEI Badges of Honour were awarded to seven Irish riders, with two Irish riders receiving Silver Badges and five receiving Bronze Badges. The FEI Badge recipients were congratulated via video message by FEI president Ingmar de Vos and were presented with their awards by Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy.
The Gold Badge recipients were:
• Shane Breen
• Shane Sweetnam
• Cian O’Connor
• Cameron Hanley
• Dermott Lennon
• Denis Lynch
• Billy Twomey
The Silver Badge recipients were:
• Bertram Allen
• Darragh Kenny
The Bronze Badge recipients were:
• Greg Broderick
• Anthony Condon
• Thomas Ryan
• Nicola FitzGibbon
• Conor Swail
Depending on the number of appearances, Gold, Silver and Bronze Badges of Honour are awarded by The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), to riders who have competed in a Nations Cup, Olympic Games and The World Championships.
This is the first round of FEI Badges of Honour to be awarded since the establishment of Horse Sport Ireland and the National Federation is working closely with the FEI to uncover more athletes with the potential to acquire such coveted honours.
A number of Irish Eventing and Dressage riders are also set to receive FEI Badges of Honour in the coming months.
IRISH SHOW JUMPING AWARDS
> The Horse Sport Ireland Team of the Year Award went to Ireland's European Championship winning team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange of Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch, Cian O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam and Mark McAuley.
> Cian O’Connor was named GAIN Equine Nutrition International Rider of the Year, while Mark McAuley received the Acadami Rookie of the Year award. The Horse of the Year title went to Denis Lynch's stallion All Star, owned by Thomas Straumann.
> The EquiVET Ireland Junior Team of the Year went to the 2017 GAIN Irish Pony (Under 16) European Championship winning team of Harry Allen, Kate Derwin, Ciaran Nallon, Abbie Sweetnam and Seamus Hughes-Kennedy.
> Lucinda Roche was named TRI International Young Rider of the Year while Jack Ryan picked up the Cromwellstown Stables Young Rider Champion title.
> The MyShowAdvisor Show of the Year went to Portmore Autumn Championships, and the Tredstep Groom of the Year was awarded to Lizzie Aldridge of Ballypatrick Stables.
> The Tattersalls Horse Trials Special Achievement Awards were presented to Ger O’Neill for his Six-Year-Old World Championship win on “Columcille Gipsy” and to Richard Howley for his Under-25 Grand Prix win in the Lövsta Future Challenge held during the European Championships in Gothenburg.
> Greg Broderick was honoured for winning the TRM/Horseware New Heights Champions Series and National Championship.
> Sven Hadley received an award for winning the Spring Tour while Liam O’Meara was the Showjumping Ireland National Grand Prix Champion.
> Joanne Penfold and Sara Gorman were named the Cavan Equestrian Centre National Amateur and the West Wood Speed Amateur Champions respectively.
> The final and much-anticipated award of the evening was the Showjumpers Club Hall of Fame. This year, four very special names were added to the Roll of Honour. The late Paul Darragh, James Kernan, Eddie Macken and Captain Con Power from the three-in-a-row Aga Khan “Dream Team” from 1977-79 were inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2017.
ABOUT FEI BADGES OF HONOUR
FEI Badges of Honour for Jumping are awarded to those athletes who have completed the first round of a Nations Cup, the Team and/or Individual Competition at the Olympic Games and the World and Senior Continental Team and/or Individual Championships, without retiring or being eliminated on the following scale:
Gold Badge for completing 40 Nations Cup competitions
Silver Badge for completing 20 Nations Cup competitions
Bronze Badge for completing 10 Nations Cup competitions
FEI Badges of Honour are also awarded to Athletes who complete Olympic Games, Continental Championships and World Championships to the following scale:
Gold Badge for three completions
Silver Badge for two completions
Bronze Badge for one completion