Munster Region Ball 2018

Note from Munster Region

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Author: Alison Packman/06 November 2018/Categories: General News

Munster Region Ball 2018

The Great National Hotel, Ballykisteen formed the centre of the Irish eventing world last Saturday as over 160 guests came together to relive the highs and lows of the past season. Organised by a small group of Munster Eventing Committee members, Eventing Ireland Munster Region chairman Marion Donegan welcomed all to the Tipperary venue; with a special word to those that had travelled from outside the region.

After dinner, regular eventing commentator Chris Ryan took to the floor to announce the winners of the 2018 Munster Eventing Awards. The Leading Senior Event Rider title was awarded to Brian Morrison who enjoyed one of the most successful seasons of his career which now spans fifteen years. The Global Event Horses rider holds a completion rate of 83% from 101 starts this year; with eleven wins and thirty-one top five placings. The 2018 CNC3* National Champion, Morrison ended his season with top twenty results in the Boekelo Nations Cup Final (Global Milchem JJ) and World Young Horse 7YO Championship at Le Lion d’Angers (Global Mentor). Described as one of the most consistent Munster performers, Morrison’s award was collected on the night by Allan Fox. 

The Munster Region has a long-standing record of producing top riders at the underage levels and 2018 has been no different. Tipperary’s Luke Coen picked up the Leading Young Rider award on the night after a season that included top five placings at Lisgarvan and Clyda on his upgrade to two star level. A double clear jumping performance at the Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International saw Coen take third place on the podium. Also stepping up to two star level was the Leading Junior Rider Ruth MacDonald who enjoyed top 10 placings at Tattersalls and Camphire Internationals. Bringing the curtain down on his eventing career after four years, the achievements of retiring pony rider Harry Swan were next to be recognised. Swan was part of the Irish Pony Eventing team that brought home the Silver medal from the European Championships at Bishop Burton in August having taken 11th place individually. Since then, he has transitioned effortlessly into the National Hunt ranks; notching up his first win at Worcester in September.

Earning the first standing ovation of the evening, Cathal Daniels, Sam Watson and Patricia Ryan took to the stage to reflect on their Team Silver Medal performance at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon. The squad members were on hand to congratulate the visiting underage squad members on the night, at Pony, Junior and Young Rider level. Unfortunately not able to be present, Tipperary rider Padraig McCarthy received the International Result of the Year title for his Individual Silver medal result with niece Romy McCarthy collecting the award on his behalf.   

2018 has been another successful season at Amateur level and the Munster Region Committee presented awards to Katie Frazer, Ita Walsh and Jean Tuohy for their achievements at CNC1*, EI100 and EI90 level. One of the most consistent visiting professional riders to Munster Region events, Fraser Duffy was also amongst those to be honoured on the night. The Fernhill Sport Horses rider recorded 42 of his 55 Eventing Ireland starts in Munster; finishing in the top five on 27 of those occasions and including wins at Clyda, Millstreet, Grove and the CIC1* at Kilguilkey International.  Another prolific supporter of Munster Region events in recent years, Richard Ames received the Best Munster Region Supporter title. Belline Equestrian resident rider Daniel Alderson collected the award in recognition of Ames’ contribution as an owner throughout the season and a sponsor that stepped in to ensure that Camphire International could take place after a period of uncertainty earlier this year. The standard of eventing venues in the Munster Region continues to rise and Ballycahane, Crecora in Co. Limerick received praise throughout the season for their affiliated competitions and Try Eventing days. Gerald and Carolyn Furnell were delighted to receive the award for Outstanding Munster National Event, along with their son Dominic. 

In a new addition to the Munster Eventing Awards, the Committee honoured Munster Region riders who stepped up a level in their International careers. Receiving Upgrade Awards on the night were Meabh Bolger, Enda O’Gorman, Alice Copithorne and Robbie Kearns for their successful completions at three-star level while fresh from her completion in the Pau CCI4* the previous weekend, the achievement of Sian Coleman was also recognised on the night.

As the Munster Eventing Awards drew to a close, Marion Donegan stepped forward to present the ‘Prestige Awards.’ Having announced his decision to retire from commentating duties during Ballindenisk International Horse Trials in September, one of the long-standing voices of Irish eventing, Tom Busteed was called forward to receive a specially crafted canvas featuring messages from leading riders and memories from some of the many events he has covered in recent years. Interviewed by his regular co-commentator Chris Ryan, Busteed told those present that he would be spending more time supporting the rising competition career of his eleven-year-old son Josh and the Busteed family may well be seen at one day events in a different capacity in a few years time!

Also receiving something to hang up on their walls, the unique achievements of father and son World Championship Silver medallists John and Sam Watson were recognised by the Munster Eventing Committee who commissioned a collage of photos from the 2018 and 1978 championship successes of the Tipperary riders. 

The Bill Powell ‘Free Spirit’ sculpture crafted by Mona Croome-Carroll is presented each year to someone who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the Irish eventing world. In recent times, the award has graced the mantelpieces of eventing stalwarts Mary Steadford, Pat Coleman and Maurice and Rosemary O’Connor to name but a few. Fethard veterinarian Don Hannigan was the worthy 2018 recipient; in recognition of his years of support to the eventing scene, as a vet, committee member, Eventing Ireland Board member and high performance involvement.

As the curtain came down on the 2018 season, Tom Busteed took to the microphone to auction off 20 exclusive items including training, hunting trips, event entries and more; all raising funds which will be split between the David Foster Injured Rider’s Fund and the continuing work of the Munster Eventing Committee to provide training initiatives and improve venues throughout 2019.Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing


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A full gallery of pictures can be found on Munster Region Facebook page  here

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