The Ballina Show attracted superb crowds over the weekend in mixed weather conditions and produced some sterling performances from Mayo riders. Sunday’s Puissance was a prime example with Knockmore’s Alex Dufffy and Killala’s Shane Quinn sharing first place in a dramatic finale to the show.
Duffy was jumping on Courtown and cleared 2m 10 before Quinn equalled his height on Green. Among those in equal third was Crossmolina’s Jonathan Gordon on Flarenco. There were two rounds of the Connaught Grand Prix league held at the north Mayo venue over the weekend as well as the latest round of the National Premier League Grand Prix. All had dramatic finishes to keep the crowds enthralled.
On Saturday, Carl Hanley and Peter Glynn’s Kalipso Du Marais extended their lead at the top of the overall standings with a superb victory in a hugely competitive Grand Prix. His main challenge for the overall title, which is given to the best horse rider competition over the three month league, has come from Damien Griffin and Lissyegan Clover Diamond. The Ballinasloe native set the target early in a massive jump off field and was only just pipped in the end taking second place.
That keeps things in the balance at the top but Hanley’s lead is now 10 after the superb performance on Saturday. In Sunday’s Grand Prix both qualified their main horses for the 16 rider jump off but for a change they both had fences down and didn’t feature among the top 10 in a class won by Leinster rider Conor Drain. The main event of the weekend was the Premier Series Grand Prix which was won by leading Irish rider Marion Hughes. Local riders failed to make an impact with the exception of Ballina’s Padraic Joyce on Hello Spider. Joyce lifted the local crowds with a superb first round clear to make the jump off before making a fine effort in the jump off knocking just one fence to finish 10th. Olive Clarke from Oranmore took ninth but would have hoped for more. Mayo’s other big winner over the weekend came in the 1.10 m talent spotter class with Claremorris native Shane Goggins taking a credible first place on board Elaine Quinn’s Jack, beating some stern competition in the process.
There was some encouraging news from the Cavan four nations pony Grand Prix last weekend also, with a number of riders from the west playing their part in a great show for the Irish teams. Mayo rider Denise Hopkins’ 'Say Nothing' started things off with a great round for Ireland to help them win the under 10s class. Then Claremorris’ Cormac Hanley was in superb form on Fabco Duchess, along with Aoife McDonagh from Ardrahan, as they helped Ireland to first place in the 128cms class. The event is always hugely competitive and Ireland have rarely managed such a superb showing in all classes with three victories out of four.