Bríde do enough to make leaders jumpy
Defending champions Newbridge College have a narrow lead at the top of the leaderboard after last weekend's round of the Hoofprints Inter Schools Showjumping League at the Boswell Equestrian Centre in Ashford, Co Wicklow.
Of the 21 teams entered, 16 made the jump-off, including both Newbridge, Pres Athenry and Coláiste Bhríde Carnew, which are all still in contention for league honours.
Over a heightened track, Coláiste Bhríde's team of Chloe O'Connell (Bellissima), Aaron Gethins (Guinness), Lorna Kinsella (Jizzy Jazzy) and Claire Redmond (Stan) took the competition by the slimmest of margins from the Newbridge College quartet of Alyssa O'Neill (Zina), Leanne O'Sullivan (Ballysax Alice), Carolyn Harty (Mulgrave Freddie) and Ashley O'Sullivan (Snapdragon).
O'Connell, jumping off in the first round, got Coláiste Bhríde off to the best possible start with the fastest time of the round. This was matched by O'Neill, jumping second for Newbridge, and when her team-mate Harty also produced a fast time it was all down to Kinsella for Coláiste Bhríde.
Riding her speedy pony Jizzy Jazzy, Kinsella just pipped the Newbridge time to secure the win.
With St Andrew's finishing third, Presentation Athenry's hope of league victory took a knock when they finished out of the placings and they are now two points behind Newbridge with Coláiste Bhríde closing the gap in third.
Individual league leader O'Neill from Newbridge, riding Rathkenny Snapdron, again proved best in a specially constructed derby style track with a mixture of showjumping and natural style fences.
Four seconds behind O'Neill was Chloe O'Connell of Coláiste Bhríde on Bellissima, with Taylor Cummins from Scoil Mhuire Trim on Misty Rocket in third.
Winning the novice derby was Maria McNamara from Presentation Athenry riding her novice horse Cochise.
Interschools showjumping now takes a break to allow the competitiors to concentrate on the All-Ireland Inter Schools Hunter trials Championships on March 14.
A week later on March 20, the league competition moves to Claregalway where Presentation Athenry are the hosts.
This is the last league competition before the final and with all contenders chasing vital points, it promises to be an exciting pre-finale!