Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Portadown girl Lucy (13) to the fore as Irish stars are honoured


By Ruth Loney

Irish equestrian athletes - including 13-year-old Lucy Morton from Portadown - have been honoured at a reception and awards dinner hosted by Horsesport Ireland at Druids Glen Spa and Resort in County Wicklow.

James Kernan (Crossmaglen), Becky Cullen (Gilford) and Gary Marshall (Ballyclare) were some of the team managers from Northern Ireland who received accolades.

Marshall was Sports Manager of the Year 2018 for his European Pony gold success.

During the last year, Irish riders won 12 World and European medals at senior and youth level, with the Irish eventers clinching both the silver medal for individual and the team world silver at the finals in Tryon, USA. They have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

A special award was given to Saintfield's Olympic and major championship vet Marcus Swail, who travelled to the USA and attended to the welfare of all of the equines competing.

Claire Maria Campbell, the Coalisland physiotherapist, attended to the riders' welfare for two weeks in the US and was a special guest at the dinner.

Teenager Morton, a team silver medallist at the Children on Horses European Championship in Fontainebleu, France in July, received an award with her fellow team members Ciaran Foley, Isobel Hughes-Kennedy and Rhys Williams.

James Kernan, chef d'equipe, said: "It was a wonderful result, we had a dedicated team of riders and we are grateful to everyone who supported us."

Morton, a pupil at Killicomaine JHS, added: "We had a fantastic time in France. James is a great tutor."

Williams also claimed individual European gold.

Padraig McCarthy, the individual world silver medallist, attended the event with his team of Sarah Ennis, Cathal Daniels, Sam Watson and team manager Sally Corscadden. Also honoured was team trainer Ian Fearon.

The GAIN Irish Under-16 (pony) eventing squad of Isabelle Comerford, Chloe Fagan, Holly Love, Harry Swan and Sophie Foyle - who are led by County Armagh's team manager Becky Cullen - won European team silver, with the individual silver also going to Sophie Foyle.

Tipperary's Max Wachman claimed the Under-16 (pony) European Championship silver medal, with Ireland narrowly missing out on a team bronze by just one place.

The GAIN Irish Under-18 show jumping squad of Cian Harrison, Jason Foley, Harry Allen, Jack Ryan and Kate Derwin took team bronze at the Europeans, once again tutored by team manager James Kernan.

Jason Foley, meanwhile, took individual gold.

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