Limerick man helps Ireland secure 2020 Tokyo Olympics place

Limerick man Paul O’Shea has helped Ireland’s Show Jumping team qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Hailing from Kildimo, O’Shea, along with his Irish teammates won the €1.25 Million Longines FEI Nations Cup World Final on Sunday in Barcelona. The result means the group will represent Ireland at the Toyko Olympics next year.

The victory also means that for the first time in history, Ireland will be represented at an Olympic Games by teams in Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping.

A stellar performance from Rodrigo Pessoa’s team of O’Shea, Peter Moloney, Darragh Kenny and Cian O’Connor, saw them finish the competition on a score of just one-time fault, to beat the best teams in the world and book the all-important ticket to Tokyo 2020. 

The Kildimo man reflected on the day’s events after his clear ride on Machu Picchu:

“Machu Picchu jumped great  – I was really happy with him. On Thursday he jumped great and I made a mistake and I can assure you on Thursday night I wasn’t happy with myself and it was a while before I could get to sleep. We were determined today and he really gave it 100 percent and was just a pleasure to ride. Macchu Picchu is owned by a syndicate and not all of them could be here today but I am very grateful to them for keeping him for me to do this and I wouldn’t be here without them,”

Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa paid tribute to the team and said:

“We had a very clear objective coming here, to get the ticket [to Tokyo] and the five riders that were here fought really hard.”

“It’s a lot of pressure. People don’t really realise the amount of pressure that is on these riders  to bring this qualification home.”

“The weight of the country is on their shoulders. It was a big ask for them today and to do it the way that they did, hats off to all five of them.”

Peter Moloney added:

“This was our goal all year to qualify for the Olympics. I am very lucky to have a very good horse in Chianti’s Champion and that makes it a little bit easier.”

“We are very fortunate to  have great backing from all the guys on the team and from Rodrigo and from Horse Sport Ireland and all the High Performance Committee.” 

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Ronan Coughlan