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CLARE’s Coen Williams was part of the Irish show-jumping team which made history at the FEI European Championships.

Since the start of the European Championships in 1978, Irish riders have never taken gold, silver and bronze but an outstanding performance from the GAIN Equine Nutrition Irish Pony (U16) Show Jumping team saw them crowned European Champions on Friday in Strzegom, Poland.

Williams with Saxton Freedom (ISH) formed part of the Irish team alongside Kilkenny’s Eoin Brennan with Glor Tire Cruise (ISH), Kilkenny’s James Brennan with MHS Glow (ISH), Sligo’s Paddy Reape with Valma De Fougnard, and Westmeath’s James Derwin with Rincoola Babog (ISH). Managed by Gary Marshall, they finished on a zero score to take the gold medal ahead of France who took the silver on 4 faults while Netherlands collected the bronze on 12 faults.

Ennis teenager Coen, of PARC Stables outside Ennis, added an individual bronze medal to his haul on Sunday, with his compatriots James Derwin and James Brennan taking gold and silver.

Irish pony Show Jumping team manager Gary Marshal said, “We are over the moon. We worked hard, had a plan and the team all executed it brilliantly. They are a great bunch of kids and were well prepared. We didn’t have the best preparation last year with Covid but this year we were prepared. I want to thank all the support staff at Horse Sport Ireland, all the people on our committee that helped me with everything I needed, our fantastic sponsors and of course the riders and their families”.

CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, Denis Duggan commented, “This was an absolutely fantastic performance from our Irish pony team to win the European Championship gold medal against the very best riders around Europe”.

He added, “It is a really positive refection on our High Performance Programmes which continue to deliver European medal success”.

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