Beecher and Danqu Crowned 2016 Munster Grand Prix Champions

September 20, 2016

Waterford’s Paul Beecher was crowned 2016 Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League Champion for the very first time, following the conclusion of the series at Banteer Gymkhana on Sunday, 18 September.

Paul Beecher wins 2016 Munster Grand Prix
Photo: 2016 Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League Champions Paul Beecher and Danqu (l-r) John Gerety (Connolly’s RED MILLS)  Gareth Connolly (Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS), Tony Hurley (SJI Munster Chairman), Liz Wheeler and Jerry Sweetnam (Banteer Gymkhana) (Photo: Marie Wheeler)

Beecher from Tallow in the west of the county, had been involved in a titanic struggle with fellow Waterford rider Francis Connors, who was looking to defend the title he won for the last three years in a row. Beecher accumulated a total of 73 league points with the Seryna Van Kuelen owned gelding Danqu who at just an eight year old looks to have a bright future in the sport. The pair scored four wins in total, at Kingdom County (Kerry), Ballinamona (Waterford), Maryville (Cork) and at the Limerick/Clare branch show.

Francis Connors finished just three points behind in runner-up spot on the league table with Capitol Cruis, while he also filled third place with Uskerty Diamond Lady. The Waterford pair really dominated the series, with Paul Beecher finishing fourth overall with Loughnatousa Eric and Connors taking fifth place with Newmarket Clare Lady. Tralee’s Maura Counihan took sixth place on the league table with Coral Du Carel.

2016 Munster Grand Prix league leading Young Rider Timmy Doyle

Photo: 2016 Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League leading Young Rider Timmy Doyle with (l-r) Gareth Connolly (Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS), Tony Hurley (SJI Munster Chairman), Jerry Sweetnam (Banteer Gymkhana) and John Gerety (Connolly’s RED MILLS) (Photo: Marie Wheeler)

Cork’s Timmy Doyle was crowned leading Young Rider of the series after several prize winning performances during the season. It was a fantastic result for Doyle who missed much of the 2015 season through injury.

The final round of the Connolly’s RED MILLS sponsored league took place at Banteer Gymkhana, at a new venue, the St. Joseph’s Foundation’s Liskennett Farm in Granagh, Limerick, who will be the benefactors of funds raised at Banteer.

St. Josephs foundation purchased the farm in Liskennett a number of years ago with the aim to be the first farm in the country devoted to service users with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. The facility includes four separate residential care units, a craft centre and an equestrian centre  – which is a key component given the therapeutic benefits of horse riding for those with Autisim and Asbergers.

2016 Munster Grand Prix league champions Paul Beecher and Danqu
Photo: 2016 Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League Champions Paul Beecher and Danqu (l-r) John Gerety (Connolly’s RED MILLS)  Gareth Connolly (Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS), Tony Hurley (SJI Munster Chairman), Liz Wheeler and Jerry Sweetnam (Banteer Gymkhana) (Photo: Marie Wheeler)

Tipperary’s Liam O’Meara produced a perfect double clear round score a win with Mr Coolcaum. They had just over two seconds to spare over runner-up Carolin Huuva riding Caspian. League winner Paul Beecher slotted into third with Loughnatousa Eric, while Maura Counihan and Dicksgrove Silver came home in fourth, with one of four double clear rounds. Patrick Joyce Piltown S finished fifth, while Tadhg Beecher and Loughnatousa Sheldon completed the top six.

Speaking afterwards, Gareth Connolly. Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS said: “I would like to congratulate Paul Beecher and Danqu on a superb achievement in winning the series this year. They, along with all the competitors throughout the season, provided us with some thrilling competitions, with the result still in doubt until the final leg in Banteer.”

Results – Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix league – Banteer Gymkhana, 19 September 2016
1. Liam O’Meara/Mr Coolcaum 0/0 41.98
2. Carolin Huuva/Caspian 0/0 44.00
3. Paul Beecher/Loughnatousa Eric 0/0 44.33
4. Maura Counihan/Dicksgrove Silver 0/0 44.57
5. Patrick Joyce/Piltown S C/4 43.77
6. Tadhg Beecher/Loughnatousa Sheldon 0/4 46.22
20 Starters
10 in jump off
2016 Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League Overall Result
2016 Champion – Paul Beecher & Danqu – 73 points
Runner-up – Francis Connors & Capitol Cruis – 70 points
Leading Young Rider – Timmy Doyle