THERE was joy for the Borris Vocational Schools equestrian team who sealed a memorable victory in the All-Ireland Interschools Championships recently.
The winning team of Tómas Kearney (1st year), Catherine Kavanagh (3rd year), James Kavanagh (5th year) and Tadhg Kearney (6th year) sealed the title at the TRI Interschool Equestrian Final in Mullingar.
The All-Ireland Interschools Championships is one of the mostly hotly-contested championships in the country. To come out on top you need a close and dedicated group of individuals, excellent organisation, a hard-working back-up structure and, of course, no little talent.
The Borris team went into the final with a a four-point advantage over Newbrige College and St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, but it was all to play for. Seventeen teams competed on the day and just five teams got into the jump-off.
Catherine was Borris’s first rider to take on the jump-off. The pressure was mounting, knowing there was no room for error. She also took a gamble in order to record a quick time and carried it off in fine style.
Tadhg knew when entering the arena that if he put in a clear round Borris could not be beaten in the overall league. However, in order to win the final leg of the league, with a prize of competing in Hickstead in England, one of the most prestigious showjumping arenas in the UK, he had to undertake a task that seemed almost impossible, which was to slice 10 seconds off St Kieran’s College’s total.
Tadhg’s competitive side meant he didn’t just want to win the league; he wanted to ensure Borris won the final leg to bring the school’s tally for the year to seven victories. He carefully weighed up all the options and took well-planned and calculated risks for a magnificent round.
Anxious minutes passed before Borris Vocational School were declared not only winners on the day, but also winners of the league outright. This is the first time the school has ever won this championship, and it’s also a first for the county.
During the year the team also won league events in Coilog, Co Kildare, Kildare Equestrian, Killoserry Equestrian on two occastion, Mullingar Equestrian, also on two occasions, and Galway Equestrian.