Just a day after seeing his lead at the top of the Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix league cut to just four points, Waterford’s Francis Connors scored his sixth win of the 2014 series, at Dualla Show in Tipperary aboard the gelding Oilean Uno.
A brilliant clear round in 38.56 seconds was enough to give the reigning Munster champion the valuable 10 league points on offer with Karen Mc Anerney’s eight year-old Oilean Uno, who is by the stallion Le One out of a dam by Easy Lift.
Just five of the 25 starters made it through to the jump-off, with the time allowed playing a factor, as both Francis Connors with GRC Tadmus and William McDonnell riding Ballinagore Ice, finished the opening round with a single time fault each to leave them in sixth and seventh places respectively, while winners a day earlier at Scariff, Seamus Hayes and Twister, were the fastest four-faulters from round one taking eighth place overall.
Having finished in third place at the Scariff round in Clare, Ethen Ahearne went one better at Dualla when finishing as runner up with the Greg Broderick owned Billy Cevelle when clear in 38.67 against the clock.
Tipperary’s Seamus Hayes had collected all ten points when winning at Scariff to close the gap on Connors at the top of the table, but with “Fra” winning at Dualla, Hayes needed to finish in the top six to have any chance of lifting the league title at the final in Banteer later this month. The Fethard based rider did just that, taking third place with the Jerry Sweetnam owned Corphin when clear in 40.75.
In fact Seamus Hayes almost took victory in the jump-off with Chipolini VMZ, finishing one hundredth of a second faster than the winners time but agonizingly lowering one pole to finish fourth with the Tina McDermott owned son of Cassini II.
Colligan’s Peter Moloney also made it through to the second round with Ballyconnery Wood but two fences on the floor saw them finish fifth.
After 14 thrilling rounds of jumping spread across the province, the Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix league now heads to Banteer Gymkhana at Curraheen in Cork for the final round of the series on Sunday, 14 September, with the overall honours still hanging in the balance.
Francis Connors looks favourite to retain his title as he tops the league table on 93 points, however his long time rival Seamus Hayes is lurking just seven points behind in second place, while the battle for third and fourth places looks to be between Liam O Meara and Peter Moloney.
Results – Connolly’s RED MILLS Munster Grand Prix League – Round 14 – Dualla Show Tipperary – 31 August 2014
1. Francis Connors/Oilean Uno 0/0 38.56
2. Ethen Aherne/Billy Cevelle 0/0 38.67
3. Seamus Hayes/Corphin 0/0 40.75
4. Seamus Hayes/Chipolini VMZ 0/4 38.55
5. Peter Moloney/Ballyconnery Wood 0/8 45.20
6. Francis Connors/GRC Tadmus 1/ 78.72
7. William McDonnell/Ballinagore Ice 1/78.78
8. Seamus Hayes/Twister 0/4 72.86
5 Into Jump-off