Munster Ball Awards Roundup

Note from Munster Eventing Region


Author: Amelia Hegarty /Friday 8 November 2019/Categories: General News

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, Tom Busteed took to the floor to announce the winners of the 2019 Munster Eventing Awards. The Leading Senior Event Rider title was awarded to Brian Morrison for the second consecutive year. The Global Event Horses brand has become synonymous with world-class sport horses through the partnership of Brian with Chris Hunt and the Co. Cork based rider maintained a completion rate of 83% across nearly 100 eventing starts in a season which has included 7 wins and 34 top five placings. Their impressive record this year included a one, two, three in the CCI1* Introductory class at Kilguilkey International and a top 6 placing in the CCI4*L at Millstreet in August. Morrison was part of the Irish Eventing Nations Cup team that took the runner-up spot at Camphire in August and ends the season as the highest Munster based member in the National event rider rankings.

The Munster Region has a long-standing record of producing top riders at the underage levels and 2019 has been no different. Tipperary’s Maresa Ronan picked up the Leading Young Rider award on the night. Despite a late start to her competition year due to exams, top 6 placings at Kilguilkey and Ballindenisk in July prepared Ronan and her partner Superjumbo for a trio of three-star level Munster International completions at Camphire, Millstreet and Ballindenisk. With top 6 placings recorded at nearly two thirds of their 2019 event starts, Heather O’ Connor’s achievements earned her the Leading Junior Rider title. The Waterford rider completed her season with a podium placing at the Eventing Ireland National Championships having taken a respectable 7th place in the CCI2*L at Hartpury International with HSH Has It All just a few weeks beforehand.

The Irish Pony eventing team that took bronze at the European Championships for Ponies in Strzegom last August was well represented on the night but it was individual rider Olivia Swan that went home with the Leading Munster Pony Rider title. Olivia’s 2019 season got off to a winning start in Tyrella at the end of March. Finishing in the top 3 on seven of her eleven starts this year, a win at Kilguilkey International in July aided their selection for the Irish pony squad and with Rockon Pedro, the Tipperary rider went on to finish 13th individually in Poland and keeps the Munster award in the household for another year; 12 months after brother Harry received the same accolade.

Amateur Eventing in the Munster Region has never been stronger and the Region were delighted to honour two riders that stood out on the national amateur leaderboard. Sharon Power had an exceptional season at both EI110 and EI100 level while Jane Grace secured victories on two trips to Crecora with her Cheeky Imp; securing her the EI90 title. Regrettably, neither rider were able to be present on the night.

Many of the guests seated in the Palatine Suite had been involved in one way or another with the Irish Eventing underage teams during the 2019 eventing season. Grace Tyrrell, Alex Connors, Olivia Swan and Brian Kuehnle collected awards on behalf of the Pony Team that brought home the Team Bronze medal from Poland while Chloe Fagan, Lilly Keogh and Jennifer Kuehnle were on hand to represent the Junior Eventing team that finished just outside the team medals in Marsbergen (NED). Ella Boyle, Luke Coen, Anna Kelly, Christine O’ Donnell, Robyn McCluskey and Megan Telford Kelly took to the stage to collect awards for their 4th place finish in the Young Rider Eventing Championships at the same venue.