Tournaments REPORTS

Ladies International Tournament in France

Two of Irelands top lady players, Siobhan Herbst and April Kent, returned last week end from playing in the First Ladies Open in France, where they came third. The tournament was held In Chantilly and top players from jamaica, USA, Luxembourg, Germany, England, France and Ireland made up the eight teams that played over two weeks. Our girls were in the team La Victoire with two french Ladies, Marie Victoire de Coulange (team Patronne) and Charlott Garaud and fought their way to the subsidiary final which they then won, giving them third place overall in the tournament.

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Ladies Tournament;  (L-R) Charlott Garaud, April Kent, Siobhan Herbst and Patronne Marie Victoire de Coulange showing their €3,000 handbag prizes.

Wicklow End of Season Tournament 2012

1 Jamie McCarthy of Taupiri nearly unseated, just clings onto his horse watched by Facundo Matilla of Horseware/Labstock.

With the Polo season drawing to an end, Polo wicklow held their last tournament on grass for this year, play will move to the arena for the winter months.

Five teams played for the End of Season cup, they were, Taupiri, Bunclody, Horseware/Labstock, Revolution and El Nino/Kelleher while a further two teams of more 'senior' players, Ballyhenry and Keane & Mean, competed for the Masters cup.

Saturdays matches culminated in Taupiri and Horseware going through to the final, with the remaining three teams left to battle it out in a round robin to establish the subsidiary winner. The Masters had a warm up three a side match with Ballyhenry winning.

2 Facundo Matilla of Horseware (in green) chases the ball as Sophie Robin of Taupiri rides him off the line.

The first match on sunday was the subsidiary final with Revolution and El Nino/Kelleher the first on the field, which after a hard fought battle in lashing rain, ended in a draw at 1 all. Next Revolution faced Bunclody which also looked as if it might end in a draw, when shortly before the final bell Alejo Tagle was able to slip one through the posts to secure a 2 - 1 win for Revolution, then in the final leg of this match Bunclody and ElNino/Kelleher came on and with the sun now out a very exciting match got underway, Bunclody opened the scoring but El Nino/Kelleher were quick to rally scoring two goals by half time. Coming out in the second half they continued to keep up the pressure with an early goal by Colm Kelleher while Bunclody's one goal to a further two by Joachin saw El Nino emerge victorious by 5 goals to 2 giving them also the title of overall winners of the subsidiary.

3 Neil Breheny takes the ball on for Keane & Mean with team-mate Jimmy Keane following in support.

The Final was the next match to take place and the Taupiri line up of Paul Ronan Jnr., Jamie McCarthy, younger brother Keelan, and with Andrew Magill and Sophie Robin each playing alternate chukkas, confronted the Horseware/Labstock quartet of Tom McGuinness, Derville Hoey, Dan "The man" Laverty and Facundo Matilla. A battle for dominance ensued with fast play up and down the pitch until McGuinness broke the ice with a goal for Horseware/Labstock close to the end of the first chukka. Taupiri then regrouped in the second and were rewarded with a penalty goal by Ronan, but this seemed to get Horseware/Labstock ignited and a goal by Hoey and two more by Matilla put them in a strong position at 4 to 1 1/2 by half time. Again Taupiri came out of their corner fighting with a goal by Magill but most further attempts were wide of the mark except one by J.McCarthy, while Matilla and Laverty were more accurate with their shots and this pattern was repeated in the final chukka with one more goal by K.McCarthy against two by the Laverty & Matilla giving Horseware/Labstock the match by 8 to 4 1/2.

The masters, now up to 4 a side, was the last game for the day and a very good natured and fun match it was, with Joe O'Connell scoring three goals for Ballyhenry with one more scored by the team to give them a total of 4 1/2 to Keane & Mean's total of 3, with 2 scored by Jimmy Keane.

Ballyhenry 4 Goal and Herbst Perpetual Cup 0 Goal 2012

(for more photos check out http://imagebunny.com/gallery/index.php?cat=120)

Polo Wickolw held their july tournament last week end, happy to be able to get out of the arena and play on the grass at Ballyhenry. Teams travelled form all ends of the country and in the high goal (3 to 4 goal handicap) of the four teams participating three came down from Northern Ireland, Two Neptune teams and Tyrone, whilst the forth, Killabraher, came up from Cork. In the low goal, the Stones rolled down from Dublin (father David and sons Mark and David) and Joined with Micky Herbst to make up team Pegus to compete against the two other local teams, Keelings and Collette Ward.

creightonBoydSaturdays playoffs Saw Neptune A defeat Killabraher by 8 to 5 to take their place in the next days finals. Tyrone then took the honors against Neptune B by 7 to 4 to also assure their place in the final. The three teams in the low goal, played an american style round robin with the score accumulating over the two days. Saturdays end saw Pegus in the lead having won both of their legs, and Keelings lying in second place having also defeated Collette Ward.

On sunday it was decided to play the high goal final first, in case the weather turned, so Neptune A consisting of Creighton Boyd, Colm Kelleher, Siobhan Herbst and Ruso Sorzana took to the field to face Eamon Laverty's Tyrone, with Son Dan, Jamie McCarthy and Facundo Matilla who started with a 1/2 goal handicap in their favor. Within minutes Neptunes Sorzana scored with a mighty shot from half way down the field, and quickly backed this up with two more goals giving them a strong lead by the end of the first chukka. Herbst then added to this before Mc Carthy was able to put up Tyrones first point with a good run down the field to score, but two more goals from Ruzo increased Neptunes lead to 6 to 1 1/2 by half time. Coming out after half time Matilla was able to accumulate another point for Tyrone, and indeed it looked as if they might yet turn the tables, but again Neptune gained the upper hand with goal by Kelleher followed by yet another from Sorzana, whilst a penalty goal from Matilla was all that Tyrone could manage, giving an end score of 8 to 3 1/2 to Neptune A and earning them the Ballyhenry Trophy.wicklowJuly2012

The subsidiary final between Neptune B and Killabraher, was a hard faught contest, with Killabraher gaining a 4 - 0 lead by half time. Tightening their defences Neptune were able to stop the run of Killabraher goals and by the final chukka were able to put two points on the board, but it was too little too late and at the final whistle Killabraher emerged victorious by 4 to 2.

In the low goal, Keelings increased their lead over Collette ward to win that leg by 9 1/2 to 3. Pegus then came on and played Collette Ward, luckily the former had built up a good lead the previous day of 4 points as they were unable to increase this any more and Collette Ward were only able to gain 1 goal. The final encounter of the day between Pegus and Keelings saw Pegus increase their lead over Keelings to an end score of 7 to 3, thus giving them title to the Herbst Perpetual Cup.

 

Wicklow End of Season Tournament & Masters Tournament

1With the Polo Season drawing to a close, Polo Wicklow had a great turn out with 8 teams attending their end of Season Tournament last week-end, with most of the country's clubs being represented at it. 2The MIPS Masters Cup, for the veteran players, had 2 teams competing for the cup and was played over the two days with the score accumulating. The Mellow Yellow team of Joe O'Connell, James Kennedy and John and Claudia Roche started with a 2 1/2 goal handicap in their favor against the Mean Green line up of Tom McGuinness, Micky Herbst, Jimmy Keane and Robert Patton. By the end of play on Saturday Melloy Yelow had managed to keep that lead intact ending at 8 1/2 to 6. Play resumed on Sunday and despite hard work by the Mean Greens, the opposition was to slowly widen the gap, with some classic goals by Kennedy and O'Connell, to give an end score of 15 1/2 to 11 in favor of the Mellow Yellows.

3Meanwhile the other 6 teams completed their rounds on saturday resulting in Tyrella facing El Nino in the first subsidiary final on Sunday, with El Nino dominating the match from the outset and emerging the victors by 8 to 3 1/2, whilst in the second subsidiary final Bunclody engaged Wicklow in a tightly fought game, which was only decided by a penalty goal scored by Wicklow in the last chukka giving them a narrow 2 to 1 win. The Mumms Cup final saw the Lamorlaye quartet of Stephen Power, Fergus Lawlor, Jeanine Hugo and Ivan Ghaona take to the field against Tom Mc Guinness' Horseware with Colm Kelleher, Keith Robertson and Juan Godina in a most exciting contest. Ghaona opened the score for Lamorlaye in the first chukka and by half time he had put away two more goals to give them a 3-0 lead. Coming out in the third quarter, Ghanoa again slipped through the Horseware defenses, but overconfidence opened up a chink in their armor which McGuinness and Godina were quick to capitalise on putting their first 2 points on the board. 4An early penalty goal in the last chukka by Godina put them in serious contention, however further missed penalty opportunities and other attempts at goal which went wide of the mark, were to cost them the game as McCarthy topped up Lamorlayes lead. I have witnessed complete turn-arounds happening in the last minute, and a goal by Godina a minute before the end of play looked as though Horseware might just crack it, but Lamorlaye kept their defense tight and despite numerous attempts Horseware were unable to successfully break through again leaving Lamorlaye victorious by 5 to 4.

For further pictures check out http://www.imagebunny.com/gallery/


12th International Ladies Polo 2011

Tom McGuinness & Whitney VogtPolo Wicklow's 12th International Ladies Polo Tournament took place in Ballyhenry at the end of August. The play off matches on the Saturday attracted the usual rain showers but some spectacular polo was in evidence. First up was the Horseware Ireland team of ladies from Yale University, U.S.A. sponsored by Tom McGuinness, and Ireland's Boodles team. Play was even up to the third chukka when the ever threatening Boodles hammered three goals home in as many minutes and suddenly the balance changed, the shock tactics worked and Horseware could not recover. The second match was between last year's winners and tournament favourites, representing The Women's Fund charity and the Bearpark Babes. A break out at the throw in and Bearpark's Janine Hugo scored immediately, seven minutes later they had claimed another three goals to the Women's Fund's one! With Lucy Taylor on the team the only way was up and after two chukkas the scores were level, goal for goal the game ebbed and flowed and after four chukkas was 6 all. Fifth chukka and golden goal added a twist, to rescue a big ball from the Women's Fund goal line Lucy Taylor's backhand rebounded off a team mate's horse and through the goal. A win for the Babes 7 to 6.

The sunshine of Sunday encouraged families and friends and people new to the sport of polo to come and watch. Gazebos and tents were set up all around the grounds, picnics arranged on rugs and tables, teddy bears, their owners and the spectators watched the two matches in true 'tailgating' fashion.

12th International Ladies Polo 2011 - Teams
The subsidiary final between The Women's Fund team, captained by Caroline Keeling and the team of ladies from Yale University captained for the tenth year by Eileen Flint, playing for Horsewear Ireland set the action rolling. Professional commentator from England Roy Law made sure with his 'soft spoken' words that everyone, new to the game or not, could follow what was happening. The match was hectic, fast and furious, brilliant play from both sides kept the result in doubt until the final chukka when The Women's Fund team eased away to win.
Hound runTo herald the Final match the East Wicklow Hunt brought their hounds and hunting horns to canter round the field, this thrilling exhibition of horses and hounds in full flight was followed by a parade of the teams and the main confrontation of the afternoon.
TeamsThe Boodles team captained by Siobhan Herbst of Polo Wicklow, faced the Bearpark Babes captained by Naomi Shairp , two evenly handicapped teams on paper but Boodles threw down the gauntlet in the opening seconds. Newcomer Roisin O'Brien slotted into the established team of Siobhan Herbst, Alex Jacob, and Claire Brougham and the Bearpark Babes, Janine Hugo, Hillary Jackson and Allie Wicks had thereafter to play catch up. Bearpark patron Andy Bearpark had flown in to see his team fight for every ball and challenge every break but Boodles were always in charge, team play and very few penalties produced virtually nonstop action. A resounding victory for Boodles, 7 to 3. Both teams acknowledged the spectators by circling the field and touching outstretched hands.
Best Playing Pony 2011Rosalinda a dark bay mare from Polo Wicklow was judged by the umpires to be the best playing pony and was given a hand embroidered rug from Horseware. The Ladies Cup was presented by James Amos from Boodles.
Fifty eight teddy bears were judged during the afternoon but it was 9 year old Hugh Hogan who scooped the prize from Bear Essentials for his own 'teddy bears picnic'. His group of bears enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and lemonade from his grandmother's best china.

 

The Stolen Spurs Tournament

The rescheduled -2 to 2 Stolen Spurs tournament took place in brilliant sunshine at Polo Wicklow's Ballyhenry grounds last week end. Jack Armstrong's Revolution v Tom McGuinness's Horseware v Brian Lynam's Lamorlaye kicked off the action in a round robin match of 6 chukkas. Fiercely contested by all three teams the umpires proved to be vital. Horseware claimed the spot in the Finals on Sunday by a narrow margin.
Siobhan Herbst's Polo Wicklow 'A' then took on Eamon Laverty's Tyrone team. An off form Polo Wicklow team allowed Tyrone to establish an early lead which they could not overturn.
On the new Ballyhenry field the lower goal matches were played out again in a round robin format. Polo Wicklow 'B' captained by Michael Herbst v Horseware v Naomi Shairp's Durrow Castle.
On Sunday the Final between Horseware and Tyrone proved a very even contest, in the dying moments Tyrone struck the winning goal claiming the 'Stolen Spurs' trophy which was presented by the retiring President of Polo Wicklow, Robert Patton.
The winners of the Subsidiary final was Revolution.
In the lower goal matches victory was for Polo Wicklow's B team and a joint result for Horseware and Castle Durrow.

 

Ireland V Deauville, France 2011

Seb and Carlos

The strong visiting team from Deauville Polo Club brought out the best in the Irish opposition from Polo Wicklow. Everard de Spa, Sebastien Decommer  and Bastien Mestrallet threw down the gauntlet on Friday evening in the first  two chukkas against Bryan Lynam, Sean Reynolds and Paul Moran  and  were leading by four goals  going into the second half. A radical change of plan was required and successfully executed by the Irish to overcome the deficit and bring their score up to level the match at 8 all.


One down and two to go, Saturday's match pitted Michael Herbst, Caroline Keeling and Carlos Caminito against the French , long shots from both sides created an open game, scores were ticking up for both teams but the French could not touch Carlos Caminito, he swirled freely around the arena despite the very close marking, Caroline used her horses to clear the way for him and Micky backed up every shot. Within seconds of the fourth chukka starting Caminito hammered four goals home, he and the small bay mare Princess were unstoppable. A fantastic game but with a result which does not give justice to the play from the French team, it was the wrong day for them to face Caminito who was at his best ! Ireland win by 11 goals to 5

SupportersSunday's match produced some spectacular play from both sides. Siobhan Herbst, Robert Patton and Roisin O'Brien were representing Polo Wicklow. Once again an even long hitting start, but there was an air of craic agus ceol  from the previous day hanging over the arena for the first chukka!  As the game progressed however the pace increased . Everard de Spa showed the way by escaping the attentions of Patton and slicing a perfect shot from the boards, Sebastian and Bastian challenged for every ball, but the three Irish players responded immediately, Roisin rode off like a Trojan, Siobhan whipped up shots from nowhere and a great battle was on. Umpire Bryan Lynam had very few infringements to deal with in such a fast and exciting game and until the dying seconds the result was unpredictable. An 8 to 7 win for Ireland.

 

Newport International Series 2010 (Ireland V USA)

The polo team representing Ireland for the 19th successive year made an impressive arrival at Rhode Island's Glen Farm Polo Club, arriving by helicopter and landing in the centre of the field to play their annual International Polo Series match against the U S A. Watched by more than four thousand spectators tension was in the air as a tropical storm also made its way minutes later to the venue to hang overhead with lightning bolts, thunder and rain. Amazingly an hour later the field had dried out well enough for play to commence as Polo Wicklow's Siobhan Herbst , Dr. Keith Robertson and David Stone from the All Ireland Polo Club were lead out by team captain Michael Herbst.


There were as many green white and gold flags as the red white and blue which was reassuring to the Irish team, Cork,Kerry and Limerick Irishmen were everywhere. In 90 degrees of heat and heavy humidity the match began.  For the first chukka all the players tested the surface and as confidence grew the pace increased, a couple of infringements by both teams resulted in goals to either side. In the second chukka a fast charge by Siobhan Herbst created the most spectacular moment as her horse slid from underneath her as she leaned for a shot, totally out of the saddle and her stick hand on the grass the horse saved himself and Siobhan stayed on board. "Any other horse and I would have been off…."


As the match progressed the goals were piling up for both sides, but the Irish were running out of steam and unused to the heat and humidity the USA team were able to take advantage, with a deficit of five goals by the fifth chukka the result looked certain. Throwing caution to the wind the four Irish players put their hearts and souls into the last seven minutes, picking up goals one by one they closed in on the opposition but when within one goal the match was over. Final score 13 to 14 to the USA.

 

Ireland V Yale 2010

The volcanic disruption and the beautiful weather greatly affected the end of season programme of Polo Wicklow. Of the American team from Yale University only Liz Brayboy managed to fly into Dublin before the airport was closed. One week later two more of the team arrived, Vanayek and Anant Singh, so the last international tournament of the winter season was relocated and rescheduled with Robert Patton substituting for the still stranded Eileen Flint.


The U.S.A. v Ireland match was played for the first time on the polo field at Wicklow's Ballyhenry Polo Club. Paul Monahan umpired a fast clean match, with the Americans not expecting to be out on grass the Irish had the edge over the visitors, very good team play from Siobhan Herbst, Micky Herbst, Elaine Monahan and Derville Hoey, who shared the no 1 position, and Carlos Caminito resulting in an easy 7 to 2 win to Ireland.


Rain determined a return to the arena for Sunday's match, Keith Robertson, substituted for an injured Liz Brayboy and they faced Mark Stone, Caroline Keeling and Paul Moran with Siobhan Herbst umpiring. Tables were well and truly turned, very comfortable in the arena the Americans took control of the game early in the first chukka, not firing on all cylinders the home team tried everything they could but were outwitted by some excellent team play from Anant Singh and his father Vanayek. A final score of 7 to 3 evened the balance.

 

Ireland V Barcelona, Spain 2010

Spain versus Ireland was February's International arena tournament at Polo Wicklow. From the Barcelona Polo Club and captained by Stephan Spengler, the team of Martin Bellocq and the Club manager and professional player Federico Espanol,  began their conquest of the Irish on Friday evening playing against a team drawn from the Royal College of Surgeons,Ireland. Captained by Fiona Seagar, Tom Brannigan and Max Treacey put up a tremendous fight against a much stronger and experienced team, bowing to the inevitable the three medical students challenged to the last ball, losing by 9 goals to3.


Saturday's team was Polo Wicklow's Micky Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Colm Purcell, Starting very fast and with the Spanish tails up the match seesawed constantly, every goal was matched, every attack countered, and despite minimum infringements throughout the game the final score line was decided on a missed penalty in the third chukka and a spectacular goal from more than 60 metres by Federico Espanol in the closing moments.  Spain won by 11 goals to 10.

Caroline Keeling's team of Siobhan Herbst and Tim Bearpark headed out to change the luck of the Spanish on Sunday but the Barcelona players were still in charge.  Much more familiar with the arena and the horses the game appeared very evenly poised for the first two chukkas until the Spanish turned up the heat. Their shots reached the target every time and despite a whirlwind of three Irish goals from Siobhan Herbst in the final minute the five gaol gap was too big. Final score 16 goals to 11. A deserved win for the visitors and the Irish players had experienced three matches of the highest quality.

 

Ireland's 10th International Ladies Polo Tournament 2009

For the tenth year of Ireland's International Ladies Polo Tournament, Polo Wicklow welcomed teams from Australia, and America to compete against the home based Irish teams. Bolstered by players from England, South Africa and France the anticipation of a great grass tournament was very high however the bad Irish weather played its part once again!
Friday's matches were played out in the arena of Polo Wicklow but with a lot of work on the field the grass beckoned for Saturday's play and after the three matches on soft conditions the final was determined between seven time winners Lamorlaye and the visiting Australian team.  An overnight deluge and rain forecast for the Sunday and once again the Ladies Tournament was transferred lock stock and barrel to Polo Wicklow's all weather arena.


More than three hundred visitors packed the club house and balcony to watch the final day's play.  After a spectacular rendition of the Irish National Anthem by opera singer Mary O'Donnel, and Australia sung by Philippa Fitzhenry , the ball was thrown in for the clash of the Titans. Australia's Katie Grimmond, Sadie Michell, Philippa Fitzhenry and Amanda Tolhurst had equalled the Irish Lamorlaye team with match after match wins against the North of Ireland team and the American team, whilst Lamorlaye had triumphed over Ireland's Mad Flower team and the Horseware team.


Ireland's Siobhan Herbst, Sandra Giles, Amber Clutton Brock and Claire Brougham gave away six goals to the Australians on handicap but both teams had two arena experienced players amongst their number so the arena held little threat. By the second chukka Ireland had drawn level but scoring was slow, Australia pounded home three goals and one of the best ever finals was evolving. By the fourth chukka the score line was 11 all. With the six strongest players in the arena for the final period, the play was brutal, fast and furious, exchanging goal for goal, thundering riding off and the tension was palpable. The spectators cheered and roared for both teams as Lamorlaye insidiously ground down the fighting Aussies who did not succumb until the last sixty seconds when a barrage of goals from the Irish ladies sealed their fate. Final score 22 to 13.


Difficult to follow such a match but the subsidiary finals provided great spectator value and were played out under ever disintegrating weather conditions. U.S.A. versus Ireland's Mad Flowers ended in a 14 goal draw. Ireland's Horseware  team versus Northern Ireland  gave victory to Horseware 17 to 7.

 

France V Ireland 2008 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.c) om/photos/keithjackpolo

The French polo team from Deauville Polo Club and one of Polo Wicklow's most popular visiting teams played the first of their three matches on Friday evening. Everard De Spa, Arnaud Claud and Ludovic Pailloncy lined up against Bryan Lynam, Micky Herbst and Dennis Connolly. From the first touch of the ball the players were in combat. Massive accurate shots opened up the arena as the play swooped from end to end, unusually under such immediate pressure from the visitors the Irish had to use all their arena experience to sneak four goals past the French. The standard had been set, the pace of the game was ferocious, infringement free open polo and immaculate team play from the French but the touch of luck that they needed evaded them. Shots missed the goal by inches and a ricochet off a French horse into the Irish goal added to their woes. Ireland kept up the pressure and slowly increased their score difference, the fourth chukka was electric, shot for shot, two by two end to end, both teams hammered in four goals but the result had been determined earlier in the game. A win for Polo Wicklow by 14 goals to 7.

Siobhan Herbst, Nicola Foley and Ronan Murphy were the Polo Wicklow team for Saturday. Lightening should not strike twice so hopes were high in the French camp, but not for long. Nicola, Siobhan and Ronan were impenetrable. The visitors matched the home team in speed and skill, but once again luck was not with them, using the boards they created space and tried everything they could to shake off the Irish but it was not to be. The French were running out of steam as the game slipped away from them, the addition of five goals to Polo Wicklow in the last two chukkas sealed their fate. Final score 13 to 7.

Sunday's match was played in brilliant sunshine as Sean Reynolds, Keith Robertson and Aiden Farrell wearing Rits colours took on the task of creating a clean sweep. A slow start from both teams, close marking and more than a few minor infringements before the game burst into life. The usual conservative play of Sean Reynolds became an onslaught; he rallied his team then fired shots that would have been at home in Palermo. A penalty from the centre never touched the ground but to no avail, the French were very settled and took advantage of any loose ball or scrappy play and slowly they achieved a well deserved win in front of their vociferous travelling supporters club. 12 to 6 to France.

The cup was presented to Bryan Lynam, his team had the greater goal difference but the surprise star of the week end was Sean Reynolds.

france108 france208

Ludovic take on the president Sean Reynolds                                                                                                                         Arnoud Claude, Keith Robertsona and Evrard De Spa

Spain V Ireland 2008 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithjackpolo)

Polo Wicklow's busiest winter season ever continued with the arrival of the Spanish polo team from the Real Club of Barcelona last weekend. 2008 had begun with an American team from the Glen Farm Polo Club, Rhode Island followed a week later by an official 18 goal team representing South Africa. They had been invited by England to play as part of a world series against England's best and made a detour on their journey to re visit Polo Wicklow.  The four players, long time friend of Polo Wicklow, Bradley Gace, Selby Williamson, Terence Spilsbury and James Kane-Burman split into two teams and joined Micky Herbst and Sean Reynolds for their first match on Saturday and Siobhan Herbst and Michael Connelly for their second on Sunday. The South African's used the experience as practice for their major confrontation in England whilst the Irish players had a match of a lifetime and the spectators saw arena polo of the highest standard ever played in Ireland.

Stefan Spengler, Jorg Becker and Adrian Matteu were part of a round robin competition on Saturday as Polo Wicklow had two Irish teams up for the challenge. First into the arena were the two local teams, Sean Reynolds, Robert Patton and Nicola Foley wearing the Rits shirts, against Polo Wicklow's own, Micky Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Dennis Connolly. A very fast and competent start by Wicklow, Siobhan and Dennis combined well to shower the goal with six well conceived and executed shots with just two in reply from Rits, the second chukka was much more even, Nicola Foley dedicated herself to keeping the main protagonist off the ball and the plan worked, goals from each player but still Wicklow managed to break through and add to the pot. After two chukkas an 11 to 6 win for Wicklow. The winning team stayed in the arena to meet the Spanish, warmed up and waiting they went for everything, before the Spaniards had settled the chukka was over and Wicklow had hammered 7 goals home to a reply of one. Once again the second chukka was more contained but the damage had been done, adding three to the Spanish and four to the locals another win for Wicklow, 11 goals to 4.

Rits now faced the Spanish who were the team ready and primed to go, fast and even play brought the ball up and down the arena, tight marking left little space for individual play but each team squeezed two goals from set pieces. The last chukka of the day and a flurry of activity from the Spanish, despite ferocious riding off from Nicola and superb shots from Sean's mallet the Spaniards had worked out their opposition's strategy and by passed the best of Robert Patton to put three goals home to a single one from Rits. Final score 5 to 3.

Sunday should have offered revenge for the under siege visitors but it was not to be. Seventeen year old Michael Connolly joined Aiden Farrell and Kieth Robertson in the most clement of conditions to determine the destination of the Cup. Standing to the side of the line up Michael Connolly was in the perfect place to pick up the deflected ball and run. First goal in. Everything went the Irish way, Michael and Aiden reversed supportive roles which kept up the ferocious pace, relying completely upon each other all three players had a role to play and the Spanish could not settle. By chukka two a real game was on. Adrian Matteu and Jorge Becker took control, Stefan vied with Kieth and had time to pop home a neat back hand from a distance, a brilliant shot from the centre line by Jorg crashed into the goal half way up which drew gasps from the spectators, and all the time the match was getting faster. The best chukka for the Spaniards was the third, they hassled and pushed, Adrian and Jorg found freedom, every shot and move was chased, relentless action but little result for them. Obviously tiring and possibly regretting the Irish hospitality of the previous three days the visitors were slowing down as the Irish raised their game one more notch. A dream back hand from Michael Connelly careered off the boards at pace, through and beyond the following horses to land at Adrians mallet. Another goal! Playing well the Irish combination were invincible, the result was inevitable, they added to the score line at will. Result: a win for Polo Wicklow and the Cup went to the Connolly household until the next time!

spain08 spain208 teamspain

Keith Robertson and Stefan Spengler                             Jorg Becke with the ball                                  Even after losing all their matches the Spanish rejoice

 

 

 

Holland V Ireland 2007 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithjackpolo)

Despite all the high expectations Holland suffered a whitewash in their second International Polo Tournament against Ireland's Polo Wicklow. Arriving just in time for the Friday evening match and without their captain, Andy Burgess, Irwin van Zeelt and Gritinus Han recruited Michael Herbst to their side. They were up against Sean Reynolds, Rosemary Dobbin and Dario Aguirre with Siobhan Herbst umpiring. Within the first seconds a one hit stunner from Sean Reynolds shook the opposition and as two more goals followed Holland found it hard to settle. Massive encouragement from Micky Herbst drove his adopted team on but they could not find a chink in the armour of Sean Reynolds and Dario Aguirre until the third chukka. Suddenly spirits were lifted by some inspired team work resulting in four Dutch goals to Ireland's two, a real chance appeared but this was quickly quashed in the last chukka, no further Dutch goals and one to Irelands tally. A Polo Wicklow win by 9 goals to 5.

On Saturday John Roche, Mehran Miramadi and Dennis Connolly took up the Irish flag against the Dutch. Captain Andy Burgess assumed his role and with his Dutch team mates faced a formidable Polo Wicklow team. A brisk start by Andy, a clean get away and the first Dutch goal, but hardly had the cheers subsided Polo Wicklow had equalled. From here on the momentum was ripped from the Dutch, the three Irish players created an impenetrable net, Dennis hammered passes up the arena, Mehran's accurate shots sliced through the pack and John Roche did not miss any opportunity to attack, together they presented an impossible task to the opposing team. United they wore down the hard fighting Dutch, a minor come back again in the third chukka but all was over when four goals hit the spot in the fourth. Final outcome 11 to Polo Wicklow and 5 to the visitors.

The prospect of facing an all girl team on Sunday was always going to be interesting. Siobhan Herbst, Sandra Giles and Nicola Foley wore the Polo Wicklow shirts and lined up with the Dutch team. A tentative start from both sides, tactics discussed outside of the arena were brought into play, the Dutch clamped onto the Irish, very few chances of a free run and the frustration showed, just two goals for each team created out of a sticky chukka. In the second the Dutch began well and fast, shock tactics, some clever play and two quick goals but that was it. The girls by now had the handle on the opposition, they were playing a defensive game with heavy and tight marking but they underestimated the agility of the Polo Wicklow representatives.   Siobhan stole a ball from the Dutch goalmouth and seconds later flicked an under the tail shot through the goal, hardly taking a breath the game covered every inch of the arena, luck which had been against the Irish was now with them. Sandra and Nicola took turns to score, Siobhan added another and the gap was widening. Into chukka three and an awkward unseating of Andy Burgess took him out of the game, replaced by Alejandro Aguirre the tussle continued. Brutal riding off and some hairy stick work added heat to the match but the girls maintained their dogged focus. Five more goals to three and one more chukka to go. Once more a low scoring chukka, difficult for either team to find freedom as they matched each other side by side, two for each team was as much as was possible   in such a close marked encounter. A win for Polo Wicklow 15 goals to 5. The Cup was presented to John Roches's Saturday team on goal average.

To finish off the afternoon's polo two further teams, Dublin and Wicklow sparred with a win for the locals once again.

 

End of Season Summer 2007 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithjackpolo)

With not one day of polo lost in 2007 the End of Season Tournament played in the arena also marked the beginning of the winter polo season at Polo Wicklow. A last minute withdrawal left five teams in the competition and play began with father and sons team Dunmore, up against Polo Wicklow's Girl Power. On current handicap four goals were allocated to Dennis, Michael and James Connelly who faced up to Siobhan Herbst, Nicola Foley and Rosemary Dobbin. Like a whirlwind of red the Connelly clan began as they meant to go on, circling, hovering, marking and closing down the opposition, even the wilder shots headed in the right direction keeping the action at boiling point. Girl Power had no answer as eight goals struck home. This was a baptism of fire for the two novice players in their first tournament, despite massive support from the spectators and team captain Siobhan, Girl Power was just outplayed. The second chukka mirrored the first but in the third the three girls had settled, Dunmore was closed down, Nicola Foley popped home her first tournament goal, and the girls began to fly. With the result inevitable Girl Power threw everything into the last chukka, play was of the highest calibre; Nicola made shots she had only dreamed of, Rosemary chased and hassled and despite the magnitude of the win it was an exhibition of brilliant polo played out in the best of spirits. A win for Dunmore of 23 goals to 6!

The second match was a round robin, captained by Keith Robertson, for the Plastics team, Sarah Hanna and Mario Giles were against Dublin's Mehran Mirahmadi, and Dario Aguirre, captained by Jimmy McCartan. Umpire Michael Connelly officiated. From the throw in this was a tussle, two evenly matched teams both playing defensive polo, close marking providing little opportunity to capitalise on the loose ball. A breakaway charge from Aguirre and the first score was on the board. The Plastic's immediate response was from Sarah Hanna, picking up a pass from an unusually quiet Mario Giles she swept up the arena to create the only goal for them in that chukka. The second chukka was more open, play was fast and busy, with each team accumulating three goals. Final score a win to Dublin 6 to 4.

Next into the arena were Polo Wicklow's Michael Herbst, Joe O'Connell and Ryan Conroy. Fresh and raring to go Polo Wicklow were up against the losing Plastics team, unable to raise their game Polo Wicklow capitalised on the freedom they were allowed as they hammered five goals past the opposition. Joe O'Connell and Ryan Conroy lead the charge in the second chukka, by now the wrinkles were evident and restorative surgery was required but it was too little too late. Try as they could the home team was impervious to any attack and ran out winners by 11 goals to 3. The last match of the three brought Dublin back to the arena. Once more a win for Wicklow by 7 goals to 4.

Polo began early on Sunday to accommodate the important rugby match between Ireland and Argentina later in the day. Throw in was at 1pm for Dunmore versus Wicklow. The Connelly family up against Micky Herbst, Alejandro   Aguirre, standing in for Joe O'Connell and Ryan Conroy. Learning nothing from Saturday's match Wicklow watched as five goals were hammered home in the first chukka by Dunmore. HANDICAP        The second chukka was very even, goal for goal the teams were matched and then came the third, Michael and James enveloped the arena, with father Dennis up front they created wave upon wave of attacking play outsmarting the Wicklow team, six goals and still fighting for every shot. Down by nine goals and only six and a half minutes of play left, Wicklow found new strength. Ryan Conroy swooped and stole, Alejandro       produced magic as the Wicklow team sneaked and battered Dunmore into submission at last. Only the clock was against a crazy victory by Wicklow as they collected seven incredible goals but just not enough to beat a spirited, fun, polite and sporty Dunmore team. Final score 15 to 12 victory to Dunmore who claimed the End of Season Cup.

The second match, a round robin, Girl Power versus Plastics ,two low scoring chukkas with all players securing goals, a 5 all draw, Girl Power stayed on to meet Dublin and were totally over run by Mehran Mirahmadi's attacking team, a 10 to 2 win. Last on were the Plastics and Dublin. Nothing was going to prevent Dublin claiming another victory, this time 7 to 3.

 

 

Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa Ladies Tournament 2007 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithjackpolo)

Through the misery of Ireland's wettest summer the anticipation of the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa Ladies International tournament kept even the most pessimistic going. The Ladies tournament is now the biggest polo event in Ireland and days of preparation went into making sure that the grounds would be possible for play. The magnificent setting of Ballyhenry, Ashford, was the venue for the three day charity event in aid of the Bubble Gum Club culminating on the Sunday in a full day of entertainment. More than three hundred guests enjoyed champagne, lunch, jazz, Wicklow's Pipe band, fashion and frivolity and as the winds kept away any rain the sun managed to make an appearance to shine on the afternoon's polo.

On Friday the first match of the afternoon was between Lamorlaye and Jacobs Creek. Whilst Lamorlaye were only seeded second they have an amazing record in this tournament, playing together every match for the past eight years, Siobhan Herbst and Sandra Giles have barely changed their team line up over those years. French player Caroline Anier was back again to join them and with Amber Clutton Brock the team had a very familiar feel. Up against a team from the north of Ireland captained by Heather Day, Holly Sloan, Estefania Barciela and   Sarah Hannah  and with two and a half goals awarded on handicap, New Zealand umpire Glynn Henderson started play. Beginning cautiously on a slightly soft surface the match gained momentum as the chukkas went by, whilst always in control it was  the last chukka that provided  potential come back play from Jacob's Creek but by this time Lamorlaye were cruising. The final score was 6   1/2 to 15  to Lamorlaye.

In between chukkas divots were reset so all players had the best chance of a good surface, second up was Deborah Veale's team of Margaret O'Leary, captain, Catherine O'Connor, Sophie Patton and Sarah Henderson, 0 handicap player from England. Last minute changes to the team brought an air of the unexpected to the match. Sophie Patton whilst familiar with arena polo had never played competitively on grass but she was riding her father's very experienced and fast ponies.    They were drawn against Masterchef,  captained by Deidre Seale,an experienced team  which included the two Bazzard sisters, Rebecca and Chloe who had all played together the previous year and in England, and Jennifer Roe .Only two goals were allocated to Deborah Veale's team and despite the inequality in experience Margaret lead a very happy team onto the field.   Learning from the previous match they coped quickly with the soft surface and met head on from the first strike, with a hugely competitive performance. This was a final score line   where the result belied the play. The very well prepared and professional approach of Deidre's team won fairly easily but not without Margaret's team playing a match of a lifetime. Final score was 13 to 4.

With massive excitement Tamara Vestey and Nina Clarkin nee Vestey took to the field with team captain Elaine Monahan and Derville Hoey. The El Nino team, seeded first and with two of the best female players in the world   in the line up, this was the team to beat, their combined handicaps meant that they gave away 2 ½ goals to the Inchydoney  team of Denise Power, April Kent, and Louisa Clothier 0,and Tessa Johnson 0,from England. Problems in England had prevented ponies travelling to Ireland for their team so captain Denise Power had to re organise her pony power with only hours to spare.  Once more a wonderful exhibition of controlled polo evolved, the two sets of El Nino sisters knew they had to win but Inchydoney was not going to let them have their way too easily.  Inchydoney pushed all the boundaries playing some excellent polo over the four chukkas, familiar with each others' play they worked as a tight team but the inevitable result in El Ninos favour was a win by just 7 goals to 3 ½.

The biggest surprise of the week end was the defeat in the first round of the team from Yale University, U.S.A. previous finalists many times, playing as always for Ann Smurfit Bloodstock they were up against the Bubble Gum team. The only team of individual entrants, who also had never played together before took to the field brimming with confidence, captained by Tina Sheeran, with   16 year old Jasmine Mirahmadi in her first ever tournament, Lindsay Conroy and very classy English player Lisa Forster.  Yale's Director of polo Eileen Flint led her team of Liz Brayboy, Whitney Vogt and Cindy Buchanan unwittingly into a David and Goliath scenario!   The Bubble Gum girls began very defensively whilst the Ann Smurfit team tried to open up the action with long shots, very clever play from the opposition ground the Ann Smurfit team down, every move they initiated there was a Bubble Gum girl stuck to their side! In an incredibly exciting last chukka the score did not change, not even the players could believe they had overcome the American team, final score 4 to 4 1/2.

Expecting rain on Friday night the decision was taken to play all matches in the arena of Polo Wicklow on Saturday and conserve the grass for at least the Final on the Sunday.

Saturday's matches commenced at midday after a representative from each team was informed of the rule changes, handicap adjustments and team tactics that are part of arena play. Four players become three and each one stands out for one chukka. For many of the players this was their introduction to arena polo.

First match was El Nino against the previous days' stars, the Bubble Gum girls. The arena handicap adjustment gave 12 goals to Bubble Gum team but with the top seeded team in the tournament against the weakest, lightening should not strike twice. Whatever lack of arena experience there may have been the brilliant horsemanship of the Vesteys shone through, well supported by Elaine Monahan and Derville Hoey the El Nino team packed 7 goals into the first six and a half minutes. Aware that the match was slipping away from them the Bubble Gum girls played harder, their absolute team spirit lifted them, they popped goals between the posts, two in each of chukkas two and three, cheered each other on and created a competitive performance, meanwhile El Nino were adding to their score twice as fast. A nasty fall in the final moments of the fourth chukka took Jasmine Mirahmadi out of the match but the script was written, a hard fought but wonderfully entertaining match threw up the inevitable result. An El Nino win by 23 goals to 18, and through to the Final.

Lamorlaye versus Masterchef were next into the arena. Certainly arena experience plays its part. Polo Wicklow had not missed a days' play all year and whilst everyone had craved blue skies, sunshine and grass polo, matches and chukkas had continued in the arena. Deidre Seale and her team had the job of curtailing Siobhan' Lamorlaye who were in very familiar territory. 6 goals to Masterchef on handicap but everything was against them. Whatever Masterchef threw at the opposition there was an answer, and the goals collected up, six in each chukka with only one in reply but far from being demoralised Masterchef continued to fight, every effort was made to overcome the power of Lamorlaye, but nothing worked, they reigned supreme in the arena. A very sporting, friendly and relatively infringement free confrontation but once more an inevitable result putting the second seeded Lamorlaye through to meet the giant talent of EL Nino in the final.

Jacobs Creek v Deborah Veale. Both teams had lost the previous day so the fight was for the Subsidiary Final. A little more used to each other Deborah Veale's team still needed a lot of luck to overcome the experience of the team from the North. In great spirits despite the rain and with massive support from the full balcony, the underdogs tried everything to breach the hold that Jacobs Creek had on the play, but to no avail. Every shot was countered and with the boards well in play by both teams Deborah Veale just had to watch as the goals totted up. A goal from Sophie Patton raised the roof but it was not enough, Heather Days Jacobs Creek team took the spoils easily. After a match like that the power showers in the Club House become even more important!

The extraordinary run of bad luck would not let go of the American visitors. This year they were playing in their sixth Ladies Tournament in Ireland. Having eliminated jet lag, golf and team tactics the only excuse left was too much 'craic agus ceol' at the shoeless cocktail party hosted by them in Casa Eileen, followed by too much supper in the Polo Wicklow Club House!! However in true American spirit and with the stars and stripes just visible from the Club House, the four ladies were ready to do their best for the Ann Smurfit team. Their opposition was Inchydoney, well captained by Denise Power who knew the previous days result was probably a fluke, and with five goals conceded to them on handicap this match promised to be interesting. Ann Smurfit started strongly with the players very determined, two goals were scored swiftly to one by Inchydoney, a chukka barren of goals for either team followed then it was heads down and tails up for the Ann Smurfit Bloodstock fighters. Pumping a further five past Inchydoney to a reply of two and at last on a roll the final hooter brought this hard fought, even and cleverly choreographed performance by both teams to an end. One goal decided the winner. Inchydoney. 7 to 8.

On Sunday morning two matches were played in the arena, Ann Smurfit v Deborah Veale. A revitalised team of American ladies grasped at everything and truly went for broke, taking full advantage of all the experience they could muster, and more compatible with the form books they won against a team that never gave up. Until the last stroke of the ball the girls in the Deborah Veale team had faith in each other and lost still trying. A lovely match won by Ann Smurfit Bloodstock 21 goals to 11.

The Bubble Gum team was up against Masterchef.  What evolved was a friendly clever match, Deidre, Jessica, Chloe and Jennifer always had the upper hand on the play but only just. Claudia Roche substituted for Jasmine Mirahmadi and slipped easily into the camaraderie of the Bubble Gum team.  Four good chukkas later Masterchef were ahead by 16 goals to 10.

The Final and the Subsidiary Final were the only two matches played on the grass on Sunday. Top seeded El Nino had won through to face second seed Lamorlaye who received ½ goal handicap from them. By the time the match was played on Sunday the gale force winds whilst not suiting the guests and spectators had done an amazing job of drying the polo ground. Thirty two players on horseback, and Jasmine Mirahmadi walking, followed the Wicklow Pipe Band and were introduced by Lar Sheeran to the spectators, all of whom had left their lunch tables to witness a very special match.

The Lamorlaye team had not left each others' sides for three days, talking themselves into a winning frame of mind, discussing tactics and ponies and play. Their patron Brian Lynam had flown in to cheer on his team, so no real pressure!! The ultimate team bonding!   Excellent commentary from Lar Sheeran kept everyone spell bound. On very soft but perfect looking ground the first chukka exploded into action, the two sets of sisters in the El Nino team had also been talking tactics, the massive shots from the mallets of Tamara and Nina sliced through the field, with both teams brilliantly mounted the outcome of this match would be down to the players and not the ponies, plus the usual slice of luck. Stride for stride the forward players vied, Caroline Anier used all the power in Superdama's tank to overtake and find clean grass, her shots were on target and Lamorlaye grew in confidence. Amber Clutton Brock supported by some startlingly aggressive play from Sandra Giles kept El Nino under control, Derville Hoey struck out to head for goal but lady luck diverted the last shot of a superb run, Elaine Monahan upped her game, allowing little space to her opposite number. Despite the soft ground the pace of the match was relentless, thundering riding off, relatively few infringements, whipped shots that covered half the field, two chukkas down and the tension was palpable.

The magnificently groomed spectators were out on the field after each chukka to tread in the divots; their contribution to the play was invaluable.

Second half and only a goal and a ½ between the teams, with the match balanced on a knife edge a crucial period had begun. El Ninos' Nina Clarkin took up the challenge, grasping the thrown in ball and in attempting to clear, only to see it stolen by Anier, truly on fire Anier just touched her mare and she flew towards the safe haven of the El Nino goal. What Nina began Tamara took over, in unison the two sisters tried to infiltrate the opposition but Lamorlaye held firm, ferocious riding off unseated Giles, a penalty was awarded and converted giving a slight cushion to Lamorlaye as the match recommenced, but back came Nina to pop home an answer. A melee in front of the El Nino goal resulted in a Lamorlaye score and the fourth and final chukka was upon the players.

Despite hard play, long shots and determination the fourth chukka proved to be very low scoring, Siobhan Herbst played her best mare and Caroline Anier was out again on Polo Wicklow's powerful   Superdama, El Nino had  their very special Ambitious in the field. As is usual the best wine is kept 'til last so many of Ireland's top ponies were in this final chukka. Sweeping the ground from left to right each player had a role, the head of Caroline's mallet did not miss a strike, another Lamorlaye goal from her and one from Siobhan sealed the fate of the two teams.   Certainly the most anticipated match ever, definitely the most exciting and with an outcome which could have gone either way gave victory to Lamorlaye by 5 ½ goals to 3.

Always difficult to play after a show case match but Inchydoney and Jacobs Creek let no one down. Every available person 'treaded' in providing the two teams with a reasonable surface. Jacobs Creek received 2 ½ goals, Glynn Henderson was still gamely umpiring and the Subsidiary challenge was on. A feisty start by Inchydoney taking Jacobs Creek totally by surprise, three goals swept past the unprepared opposition who were unable to retaliate. Denise Power had prepared her team well for the big match, Louisa Clothier, Tessa Johnson and April Kent played in unison, Jacobs Creek could not raise their game but  were hanging in with some great breaks, but luck just evaded them. Four difficult but hugely entertaining chukkas later Inchydoney clung on to their advantage to claim the Subsidiary Cup for 2007.

The new Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa Cup was presented   by Des  O'Dowd'  of Inchydoney to Siobhan Herbst for the Lamorlaye team, and the coveted Horseware Best Playing Pony rug went to Superdama, a 10 year old bay mare owned by Polo Wicklow and played by Caroline Anier   throughout the tournament and in the first and fourth chukka of the Final

 

 

 

Ireland V Yale, USA 2007 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithjackpolo)

The last International tournament of a very busy winter season at Polo Wicklow took place last week end, against Yale University, U.S.A.

 

Liz Brayboy captained the team of Whitney Vogt and, returning after a gap of twelve years, Bob Arnold. Hopes were high all round on Friday evening for the first of the three matches, umpire Siobhan Herbst threw in the ball and from the first touch the match was alight. For Wicklow, and matching Bob Arnold on handicap was Carlos Caminito, playing with Sean Reynolds and Micky Herbst. Guided loudly by Bob Arnold the three Americans played a 'follow me' strategy whilst Wicklow used their experience to defend and block. Caminito and Arnold covered every centimetre of the arena, long sweeping shots from both mallets made for exceptionally fast play. Slightly more settled in the second chukka and with Liz Brayboy and Whitney Vogt included more into the action the game spread out, total support from Reynolds and Herbst ensured Caminito his freedom to score and slowly the goal tally mounted.

 

By the third chukka and with only one goal between the teams an even confrontation was developing, leading the charge Sean Reynolds flighted a long ball, and with an impossibly angled second touch opened up the gap, from the goal mouth Brayboy pounced, perfect control to the American goal and the fastest of polo. All depended on the last six and a half minutes; Bob Arnold, riding one of Joe O'Connell's very fast ponies and saving the best 'til last was on fire, with matching pony power under Caminito the two men upped the tempo. Bringing the boards into play non stop action produced goals for both teams but the Irish survived to win by 10 goals to 7.

 

Saturday's match teamed Siobhan Herbst with Joe O'Connell and Claudia Roche against the same American team. This match produced perfect team play from both sides, the strongest U.S.A. player Bob Arnold choreographed from a defensive position, whilst the three Wicklow players covered each others every move. Seamlessly working together Joe and Siobhan took the initiative, each attack perfectly planned and executed; Claudia kept Whitney from the line and secured an inch perfect back hand to the mallet of her forward player. Despite tremendous hard work the Irish evaded and invaded the opposition, O'Connell's predatory instincts were working well, and the home team was totally in control. Eleven of the fifteen goals were pounded home by Siobhan in an exhibition of flawless team play. Frustration in the American pack as the goal tally mounted, even a final flurry could not reduce the deficit, Whitney and Liz battled hard, Bob wove and spun but the three Irish players were always there. The inevitable result was a win for Wicklow 15 to 8.

 

For Sunday's final match Ronan Murphy and Derville Hoey joined Siobhan to attempt a clean sweep, this was not to be. An edgy and tentative start by both teams, too many penalties filtered in to play, difficulty in clearing the ball and then both teams missing the goals by inches. By the second chukka the creases had been ironed out and the game began to move on apace, fighting hard Ronan Murphy vied with Arnold at rocket speed,  Liz Brayboy found space, Vogt shot at goal, Arnold attacked but not one goal hit the mark. Suddenly the U.S.A. got rhythm and in the third chukka play opened up, two goals from Arnold, one from Brayboy and for the first time in the competition the Americans were ahead in a match! Taking on a new life they closed down any Irish opportunities and made certain of a deserved victory in the fourth chukka by adding two more goals. Final score Yale 7, Wicklow 5.

 

 

Ireland V Spain 2007 (for more images check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithjackpolo)

Perfect weather greeted the players from the Barcelona Polo Club, Spain for their three matches against Polo Wicklow. Captained for the fourth time by Stefan Spengler, patron of the Bella Vista Polo team, Jorg Becker and Columbian Jan Schonlau, they presented a formidable challenge. The first Polo Wicklow team to face the Spanish representatives was Michael Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Sean Reynolds and in brilliant evening sunshine the ball was thrown in. A slow and sticky first few minutes until a beautiful shot from Jorg Becker cleared the Irish end and the match was on. Siobhan had the task of marking Jorg and with these two players riding the fastest horses in the arena they were setting the pace. Totally supported by Sean Reynolds who was cracking massive shots towards the goal and Micky Herbst guarding the rear action the Irish appeared to be in control despite a two goal deficit. In chukka two it was 'all change', Jorg Becker and Jan Schonlau began the onslaught but Polo Wicklow raised their game, the action doubled in speed and with eleven goals scored, five for the Irish and six for Spain, the play was continuous, exciting and intense. Playing excellent polo on unfamiliar ponies the visitors had settled very quickly  into their stride, a low scoring third chukka by both teams but the Spaniards were still holding their advantage, after four chukkas of one of the fastest ever 'Friday' matches the result went the Spanish way by 15 goals to 11.

Joe O'Connell, Derville Hoey and Ronan Murphy wore the Polo Wicklow shirts for Saturday. Their explosive start of four goals without reply boded well, Joe lead the challenge, his sense of anticipation and the speed of turning had the opposition reeling, ever present Murphy hammered Spengler off the line and still conjured up some spectacular shots, Derville took advantage of  any and all opportunities and went with the flow.  Umpire, Siobhan Herbst was vital to a game played at this speed and ferocity but fortunately few decisions were ultimately required. The second and third chukkas were better for the visitors, they clocked up six goals and were within striking distance for the last chukka, but once again the Irish upped their game. Every ball was fought for, every move was challenged, a sudden free run by Spengler popped in a final and unexpected goal against the run of play, but the home team replied with three in return. A Polo Wicklow win by 11 goals to 7.

One match apiece so the Sunday result would determine the destination of the Cup. Micky Herbst, Joe O'Connell and Robert Patton took to the arena for the third challenge from the Spaniards. Yet again there was no score from the Spanish in the first six and a half minutes as the Irish circled and closed down their play. Robert Patton was flying, reaching out of the saddle he was picking up impossible shots, setting up the ball and claiming the line he created goal after goal. The inter play from the three Polo Wicklow players was working like a dream, a stunning Herbst goal in the third chukka, countered by a brilliant solo run and goal from Jorg Becker kept up the tempo but the match was slipping away from the team from Barcelona, a further flurry of five goals to the Irish and only one to the Spanish in the last chukka sealed the visitors fate with a final score line of 19 to 10.

 

End of Grass Season 2006

The last tournament of Polo Wicklow's summer season became the first tournament of the winter season and was transferred from the grass to the arena courtesy of hurricane Gordon's tail! Six teams competed for the Wicklow Universal Cup in an open 8 goal match. ballybla

Two round robins on Saturday decided the order of play for the Sunday. First into the arena was the Dalkey team captained by Jim McCartin, playing with John O'Driscoll and Carlos Caminito versus Ballybla captained by Michael Bourke, with Robert Patton and Lucho Racca. Two very fast and evenly matched chukkas resulted in Dalkey winning by one goal, the next team to challenge the losing Ballybla was Wicklow captained by Micky Herbst, playing with Marcus Davey and Diego Victorel (who was substituting for Joe O'Connoll). The Wicklow team began as they continued, watching, as Ballybla ran rings round them, no marking or riding off, no interaction or team play as the Ballybla players circled, playing with their prey and adding up the goals. A final tally of 11 goals to one was the result. Back into the arena for the last two chukkas and it was Dalkey to take on Wicklow. Once again Wicklow was subjected to a humiliating loss, this time 8 goals against them with no reply.

 

The second round robin included an all girl team, Girl Power, lead by Siobhan Herbst playing with Rosalinda Devereux and Yasminegirlpower Mirahmadi, up against Tom O'Byrne, Jerome Kennedy and Michael Connolly, two highly talented teenage players. The girls made a very unlucky start as despite many shots on the opposition's goal accuracy eluded them whilst the Dublin team cranked into high gear and were three up by end of the first chukka. Chukka two was spirited and fast, but the girls were untouchable, immaculate team play saw five goals tucked away by Siobhan in as many minutes. Despite the familiarity and understanding between the two youngest players on the Dublin team their lack of team interaction left them unable to add to their first chukka score line, final score 7 to 3. Dublin stayed in the arena to face Voxsurf, Mehran Mirahmadi, Ronan Murphy and Sebastian Laborde. Playing well together and seizing all opportunities the orange colours of Voxsurf latched onto the Dublin team closing down the enthusiastic youngsters, Tom O'Byrne scored a goal against the run of play and with scores at both ends the game spread out at great speed. One goal made the difference at the end of a match that could have gone either way. 6 to 5 for Voxsurf.

 

Three matches were played on Sunday with the Subsidiary Final being the first. Voxsurf against Ballybla. Mehran Mirahmadi's team against Michael Bourke's. From the throw in this was exciting polo, two by two the match unfolded, Ballybla grasped any chance and tucked away four goals in the first chukka, Voxsurf retaliated as the game increased in speed, by the third chukka only two goals, both from penalties, separated the teams but despite every effort from the three Voxsurf players Ballybla had the game by the throat with a winning margin of three goals. 8 to 5.

Girl Power against Dalkey in the Final. Fast, clean stylish play from the throw in, Girl Power swept the arena Siobhan, Rosalinda and Jasmine attacked at every opportunity, ferocious riding off and reliance upon each other created two goals until Carlos Caminito spearheaded one attack after another on goal for Dalkey. Massive shots from him opened up the arena but goal for goal the two teams remained in touch. More than pride was at stake as the tempo increased, but the men could not shake off the girls until the third chukka when with the help of an own goal and a penalty they were suddenly ahead by two. With everything riding on the last six and a half minutes both teams had their heads down, roaring encouragement to each other the girls scored the first goal and a minute later were even but Caminito just got better, O'Driscoll fired home a goal followed by Murphy, both teams put five goals between the posts but the damage had been done, Dalkey ran out winners with a final score of 13 goals to 10.

 

dalkeyThe last match of the day was another opportunity for the teenagers, Jerome Kennedy and Michael Connolly, captained by Tom O'Byrne of the Dublin team in action against the Wicklow team of Micky Herbst, Joe O'Connell and Marcus Davey. Whatever gremlins the Wicklow players had invited to their Saturday matches were gone, from the first ball Davey and O'Connell stamped their mark, fired up the Dublin team sensed victory but only for a fraction of a second as O'Connell took control. Six goals slammed past the Dubliners in the second chukka, they could not have fought harder but all attacks were thwarted, brilliant long shots from Michael Connolly were countered, Kennedy altered his tactics, Byrne was always in the right place but Wicklow were producing spectacular polo. The inevitable outcome was a hefty victory for Wicklow against a team that had played well above their handicap by 11 goals to 9

 

Inchydoney Island Ladies Tournament 2006 (Photos and script by Bunny Parsons) more pics go to www.imagebunny.com

Once more Joe O'Connell made his delightful facilities available at Ballyhenry ,in the beautiful Wicklow Mountains, for the International Ladies Tournament run By Wendy Herbst in aid of the Bubblegum Club. The Bubblegum Club is a charity which supports terminally ill, and 'at risk' children and their families. Players came from both Northern and Southern Ireland, The U.S.A., England, France, Spain and Argentina to play in the tournament which was spread over three days to gain possession of the Inchydoney Island Cup.


Play-offs started on Friday and carried on into Saturday. Saturdays weather was very wet but seemed to clear so start was put back to allow for the pitch to dry out somewhat. The first match between Ann Smurfit Blood Stock and Bubblegum Club got underway, though after the first chukka it was realised that the pitch was being rather cut up, so to save the pitch for the next days finals, play was moved to pitch no.2. Halfway through the next chukka the rain started again and got progressively worse. By the time Ann Smurfit's had emerged victorious at the end of the match the organisers, fearful of any accidents in the slippery conditions, had decided to move the rest of the matches to Polo Wicklow's all weather arena. After a briefing from Mickey Herbst as to the differences in rules for Arena Polo the next match Between Lamorlaye and Castle Durrow begun. The players were quick to adapt to the new regulations and some fast and entertaining Polo was enjoined. Lamorlaye steamed through to a resounding victory. Next up were Deborah Veale and L'Ecrivain, with Deborah Veale surfacing triumphant. Last but by no means least to take to the arena were Inchydoney Island and John Rocha, and with light fading fast due to the late start and then having to move location with players and ponies, Inchydoney Island managed to clinch the game.

teams
Sunday dawned bright and clear and play was resumed at Ballyhenry, with hundreds of guests arriving to enjoy a charity lunch under canvas and be entertained by the Polo. The first match, being the second subsidiary final, between L'Ecrivain and Durrow Castle got off to a sluggish start, but soon started to open up with some good breaks by Jessica Bazzard of L'Ecrivain giving them a slight edge and eventually the game by 7 to 5. The next match was the consolation final between Bubblegum Club and John Rocha, with Bubblegum having a 1 1/2 goal handicap in their favour. John Rocha turned on the heat from the outset and despite some distinguished play, from the later awarded player of the tournament, April Kent Bubblegum were unable to sustain the onslaught and finally succumbed by 4 1/2 to John Rocha's 8.
hannahWith Lunch over the guests were ready to enjoy the final Between Lamorlaye and Deborah Veale which was next on the play list. Deborah Veale starting with a 1 1/2 goal handicap in their favour were hardly given time to draw breath at the throw in as Lamorlaye took immediate possession of the ball and swept it down the field for Hanna Butcher to score, after some play around centre field, Lamorlaye once again gained possession of the ball and Caroline Arnier was able to notch up another for Lamorlaye, thereafter a fast and furious battle ensued with Deborah Veale not giving any quarter and holding Lamorlaye at bay till the end of the chukka. The second chukka saw Lamorlaye apply the shock treatment again taking the ball almost from the throw-in down the field for Arnier to up the score, following this soon after with another.

Whilst Lamorlaye were piling on the pressure Deborah Veale fought doggedly on taking the ball up on a number of occasions but unable to convert and Abbey Riggs having a close miss just before the second bell giving a half timesioabby score of 4 to 1 1/2. Lamorlaye continued to dominate and two more goals by Siobhan Herbst and Arnier respectively brought them up to 6-1 1/2 going into the last chukka. It was only due to a very spirited and determined performance by Deborah Veale, with another couple of near misses at goal for them, that Lamorlaye didn't run away with them completely, however two more goals one by Butcher and yet another by Arnier gave an end score of 8-1 1/2 to Lamorlaye, and the prize of the much coveted Inchydoney Island Cup.


The last match of the day was the first subsidiary final with Ann Smurfit team facing up Inchydoney island, this got off to a fast start with the ball going up and down the field until Alice Harvey put one between the posts for Inchydoney, this was followed up by team-mate Maria Gimenez. The second was a real tussle from end to end and Eileen Flint managing to put one on the scoreboard for Smurfit giving a half time score of 2-1 to Inchydoney. Returning with renewed vigour Alice Harvey proceeded to clock up two more for Inchydoney. In the final chukka Smurfit came close on a couple of occasions but they were unable to put any between the posts, however Gimenez clinched the final point for Inchydoney with one more before the final bell went giving them a closing score of 5-1.

 

Ballyhenry 0-4 Goal 2006 (Photos and Script by Bunny Parsons) more pics go to www.imagebunny.com

paulmonahanWicklow based Ballyhenry Polo Club hosted a four day 0-4 goal tournament with 8 teams participating from around the country, culminating at the week-end under blue skies and a blazing sun. From Dublin came       El Nino and Rits, Lamorlaye hailed from Malahide, Casa Pepe who are based at Wicklow, Dunmore travelled from Moyne P.C. in Laois, Coolfin came up from Waterford, a team Journeyed from Wexford, and Peppard Motors a sponsored team with players drawn from a number of clubs completed the ensemble.


Play offs started on Wednesday and Thursday between the teams concluding in the semi-finals on Saturday in which Dunmore beat Peppard 8-4 giving them a place in the final, El Nino just beating Lamorlaye by 3-2 to secure their place in the final. Casa Pepe were victorious over Rits by 10-5 to go into the subsidiary final along with Coolfin  who won over Wexford 5-3 1/2.

The first match on Sunday was the subsidiary final with Casa Pepe having a 1/2 goal handicap in their favour over their rivals Coolfin. Within the first couple of minutes John Flavin of Coolfin picked up a good pass to put the ball between the posts, another goal from Coolfin again upped their score, then a classic backhand shot from a difficult angle by Mario Giles (Coolfin) soared into the goal, Mario lamorlayeelninothen took the ball down the field to score giving Coolfin a 4-1/2 goal lead by the end of the first chukka. Coolfin started the next play by converting a penalty and Casa Pepe responded by tightening their defenses, and a counter attack saw Siobhan Herbst score for them, then one more later in the chukka brought them up to 2 1/2 -5 by half time. The next chukka was fast and furious with Casa Pepe scoring 3 more goals to Coolfin's 1. The final chukka started with Coolfin scoring 2 goals off penalties which Casa Pepe were unable to match, only scoring one to give a final score of 8-6 1/2 to Coolfin.

Next up was the final between Dunmore and El Nino, Dunmore having a 1/2 goal handicap in their favour. The match started with El Nino harassing Dunmore's goal area but some tight defence kept them at bay until Dunmore were able to gain possession of the ball and take it down the field to El Nino's goalmouth where they were fouled, and went on to convert the penalty. A penalty awarded to El Nino was brilliantly saved by Dunmore's Michael Connolly, however he was unable to save a second one moments later, but was able to rescue the ball from a melee in front of El Nino's goal and score in between chukka bells. (A bell is rung indicating the last 30 seconds of play, unless the ball goes out in this period.) The second chukka was fast and hard with neither team managing to score giving a half time result of 2 1/2 -1 to Dunmore.

Opening the third Lindor Carvalan scored with an underneck shot while crossing the goal, they then took the lead with a penalty shot, but a good run down the pitch ending with a goal by Juan Godino of Dunmore, gave them a 1/2 point edge. El Nino were to swing the odds again with another just before the bell. The final chukka saw some near misses by Dunmore, but Lindor Carvalan's shot at goal was on target, giving a final score of 5-3 1/2 to El Nino and the trophy.

The second subsidiary final was Lamorlaye versus Peppard with a 1 1/2 goal handicap in their favour. Peppard opened the scoring with a nice goal set up by James Kennedy. Peppard then dominated the second chukka scoring two more. Lamorlaye opened the third scoring juanbwith a long shot, but Peppard were to also score another. Lamorlaye, fighting hard managed one more goal in the last chukka ,but the day was taken by Peppard by         5 1/2 -2.

Last game for the day was the consolation final with Rits against Wexford. in a match which was marred by an unending string of fouls and penalties. Rits started by scoring 2 goals in the first chukka, Wexford then converted a penalty early in the second however Rits were to get one back also off a penalty giving a half time score of 4-2 to Rits. Robert Hogg scored for Wexford shortly after the throw in, Rits again took advantage of penaltys to up their score another 2 points, but die-hard Wexford managed to score back just before the bell.A hard final chukka involved a lot of play up and down the pitch, with Tim Hillman scoring for Wexford just before an unfortunate injury sustained by Julio Medrano ended the game with a few minutes in hand with a final score of 6-5 to Rits.

 

National Arena Championships  2006michaelconnellyandsiobhan

Celebrating the end of the winter season and the first anniversary of the amalgamation of Polo Wicklow and Ballyhenry the National Arena Championships attracted eight teams to compete for the Lamorlaye Silver horse and the Weirs Cup.

Down from the North came the Haymakers, four of Ireland's best young players and regular visitors to Polo Wicklow, Jamie McCarthy, Michael Connelly, Conor Fleming and Ryan Canry. Mark Selway and Frederico Merro teamed up with Polo Wicklow's Olivia Veal after the very late withdrawal of their third player for the Inch Polo team.

The Naomh Ciarain team was Dermot Hannify, Alejo Tagle and Simon Rogers, the Hogg's Hogs team captained by Robert Hogg, included William Roe and Pedro Mana. The Guardwell team was Jim McCartan, Mehran Mirahmadi and Carlos Caminito, Robert Patton captained the Arrows with Sergio Valor and Derville Hoey, Paul Castle led his Metropolitan team of Sean Reynolds and Paul Monahan and finally Polo Wicklow's Micky Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Ronan Murphy.

In an incident filled tournament polo began at 11 am on Saturday morning with Guardwell beating Inch Polo by 13 goals to 8. In the second match, Metropolitan versus Polo Wicklow, whilst reaching just too far for a shot Paul Monahan was unseated and an awkward landing resulted in a hairline fracture to his wrist. Mark Selway took his place for the last chukka, Polo Wicklow won by 16 goals to Metropolitan's 12.

At 3pm the Arrows took on Naomh Ciarain and won by the narrowest margin of 9 goals to 8, and the last match of the day was a spirited confrontation between the Haymakers and Hogg's Hogs, the teenagers winning by 13 goals to 7.

Pony problems besieged the Inch Polo team and they had to withdraw from Sunday's play so with one team less, the two matches and a round robin began at midday.
ronnieandoceanPolo Wicklow and the Haymakers started the proceedings playing for the Lamorlaye silver horse, in a match that began fast and continued to gain pace by the fourth chukka even the spectators were out of breath. All was decided in the last thirty seconds of the final chukka, two penalties to the Haymakers and they were the team to return to the North with an extra horse, final score 15 to 13 in a thrilling match.

Next up was Metropolitan and Hoggs Hogs, once again fast and furious but interjected with infringements, good umpiring kept the game flowing but Metropolitan always kept the advantage and hung on to achieve an 11 to 5 win.

The round robin was between Guardwell, the Arrows and Naomh Ciarain, whilst Guardwell waited to play the losers a fierce confrontation began in the arena. Sergio Valor and Alejo Tagle opened up the game and dictated the speed, the advantage fell to the more experienced arena player Tagle as the score crept up to 7 goals to 2 for the Naomh CIarian team. The second two chukkas were between Guardwell and Arrows and once more Arrows bit the dust with a 9 to 1 loss. The final twocrowds chukkas of the day brought Niamh Ciarain back into the arena against Guardwell for two of the most entertaining chukkas of the day. Mehran Mirahmadi and Carlos Caminito were rampant, drawing the novice player Jim McCartan into the game, Alejo Tagle, Dermot Hannify and Simon Rogers reached a new level. Clever umpiring allowed the game to sweep round the arena covering every inch, goals were hard to come by and each one was countered. A moments lapse of concentration saw new player McCartan heading at speed to the oppositions goal and swing a perfect under the neck shot from a distance to score a beautiful goal for Niamh Ciaran evening out the final score to 6 all! Later Jim accepted a prize for the 'best own goal' along with the Wiers Cup for captaining the winning Guardwell team.

The four young men from the North were nominated the Best Players of the tournament and the future of polo in Ireland looks wonderfully secure in their hands, with over sixty ponies participating and all playing two chukkas, in the biggest tournament held at Polo Wicklow every one was voted a winner on the busiest week end of the winter season.

 

Deauville, France V Ireland 2006

Last week end the Deauville Polo Club, France was represented by Paul Castle, Evrard de Spa and Dominique Beguet for their annual visit to Polo Wicklow. Three very different matches took place over the three days commencing on the Friday evening with Micky Herbst, Carlos Caminito and John Roche the first team to take on the French. Umpired by Siobhan Herbst and in perfect conditions the ball was thrown in. First to pounce was Carlos Caminito and with a clear view of the goal he did not miss. Paul Castle then took control, hitting out very quickly up to a well positioned Everard but the shots were not traveling for the visitors. Both teams found their shots were blocked, sliced and just not reaching their target. Neither team managed to create any rhythm, but when a breakaway occurred it resulted in a goal. Micky Herbst closed down Dominique Begue, whilst John Roche sneaked plenty of freedom punching in three goals for his team. After three even but not flowing chukkas the Irish suddenly upped their game in the final few minutes of the match, two nice goals from the mallet of Paul Castle were countered by a flurry of goals from the Irish leaving them winners by 12 goals to 9.

All was very calm on the pony lines and around the arena but inside a battle was brewing. Joe O'Connell, Sean Reynolds and Ronan Murphy were Polo Wicklow's players for the Saturday match to face the same French team. Once again Siobhan Herbst was the umpire and she was kept very busy. From the start of play the French team was very determined, their plan was upsetting the Irish opposition who could find no space. Frustration set in and easy shots were missed, heavy riding off from both sides and some enthusiastic and inventive play produced quite a few infringements resulting in penalties being awarded. Going into the third chukka Ireland was ahead by one goal but this period belonged to the French, picking up a stray ball Evrard de Spa began the resurgence, staying clear he found his team captain and executed the perfect pass, Dominique Beguet added some magic and the team was on a roll. The Irish could not respond to this attacking play as they watched five goals being hammered in to their two. The hard working umpire and the referee had less to do in the final chukka. As the play spread out Paul Castle teased the ball to the goal and in a clinical style the French players just added to the Irish misery with four more goals to their two. Final scoreline was a win to France by 14 goals to 10.

There was all to play for on Sunday when the team of Siobhan Herbst, Brian Lynam and Joseph Doswald would be deciding the destination of the massive cup, originally presented to Polo Wicklow six years ago by Paul Castle. In glorious weather umpire Joe O'Connel threw in the ball. First touch to Lynam, then Siobhan and a goal, an instant hit out from the goal and a score at the other end. Bewildering speed as the game spread out, Lynam and Siobhan were in total accord, long accurate passes picked up, Doswald covered every inch of the ground keeping a close eye on Beguet. Paul Castle vied with Siobhan Herbst, de Spa hung on to Lynams coat tails but the Irish team was in a different league. With an advantage of only one goal to the Irish team they oozed confidence going into the fourth and final chukka. Both teams were playing an exciting team game, clean and fast and fluid, Paul roared his team on as Siobhan hurtled past him towards goal, only to be followed by Lynam, in seven minutes not a shot was missed by either side this was polo at its best. As the bell went Ireland had added five goals to their tally and the final score was 13 to Ireland and 8 to France Deauville. Winnie, who had been played by the visitors in all three matches, was nominated the best playing pony. The cup was presented to Brian Lynam.

 

 

Yale, USA V Ireland 2006

yaleteamYale University Polo team flew in to Ireland to challenge for the Open Irish American Cup. This cup has been competed for every year since Polo Wicklow began twelve years ago, and is a highlight of the winter season. Due to injury, Eileen Flint accompanied the team this year as chef d'equipe, and playing in this tournament was Jim de Angelis, Liz Brayboy and college student 21year old Sacha Novagrad. On Friday evening they took on Siobhan Herbst, Micky Herbst and Brian Lynam. In perfect conditions the ball was thrown in, and that was just about the last the Irish team saw it until the end of the chukka, in complete unison the Yale players swirled round the arena, three goals were scored before the Polo Wicklow players were able to retaliate. This was team play at its best, de Angelis shouted instructions and the team reacted, another goal by the U.S.A. and they had the match by the scruff of its neck. Ireland had no answer, Siobhan was boxed in, Lynam was missing shots he could normally make in his sleep and Micky's defensive role was not often tested, 3 more goals to the U.S.A. Chukka three and six more goals from the mallet of De Angelis and just two in reply. A tremendous revival in the fourth chukka by the Irish but too little too late, suddenly able to close down the opposition totally and take over the action four goals were added to the home team's score making it slightly more respectable  13 to 7.sprint On Saturday under a light drizzle the Polo Wicklow team of Sean Reynolds, Rosalinda Devereux and Robert Patton faced the same U.S.A. team. Once again the Americans punished the opposition in the first chukka, hammering in five goals to one in reply, their team play was immaculate backed up by determination and skill and the constant encouragement of team captain Jim DeAngelis. Despite the home team failing to score in the second and third chukka Reynolds raised his game and urged his team on. Hassling and harrying, riding off, creating openings for his forward players the goal tally should have risen but luck was against the Irish polo players. Shots skirted the goal, dropped centimeters short or were kicked off the line but Sean Reynolds, Rosalinda Devereux and Robert Patton continued to push. The match became faster and faster, but the only successes were recorded at the Irish goal until the fourth chukka. At last the Polo Wicklow team was beginning to contain the visitors, Rosalinda and Robert were in control, Sean slapped home two superb goals and despite the final score line of 16 - 5 to Yale, this was a very even match but with the scales of luck firmly tipped away from the Irish.

rideoffSiobhan Herbst substituted for Brian Moore who was unwell; she teamed up with Carlos Caminito and Ronan Murphy for the Sunday final. The Yale team needed this match to return the cup to America for the second successive year, Polo Wicklow needed to win this match to prevent its return journey there. Once the ball was in play Caminito pounced, from a bullet of a curved shot from the centre line the first goal was in, and there it began. Even the feisty young college team player Sacha Novograd who had played well above her handicap in the previous matches was sidelined, Liz Brayboy was fastened on to Ronan Murphy as though his life depended on it whilst Siobhan and Carlos clinically scythed through all opposition. Whilst the handicaps of the teams were closer in this game of the open tournament the advantage still rested with the Yale team, but Polo Wicklow's players were on a mission. Heads down and tails up, breath was taken only when an infringement occurred otherwise the best and fastest horses were in ceaseless motion. Carlos swept down the boards converting every chance, Siobhan pushed and picked unsettling the very confident American players and with incredible speed and accuracy she too was adding to the tally. Murphy was invaluable in defense and added an opportunist goal in the fourth chukka. After watching a record defeat for the Irish team on Saturday it was with relief that after a commanding performance spirits were lifted with a 15 to 10 win for Polo Wicklow.

Spain V Ireland 2006

teamphotospainMinus their key player Adrian Matteu, the polo team representing Spain's Barcelona Polo Club arrived at Polo Wicklow to compete in their annual battle for the H.C.S.Arena Cup. Micky Herbst assumed the role of the Spanish third man and joined team captain Stefan Spengler and Jorg Becke to play against Sean Reynolds, Siobhan Herbst and John Roche for the Friday evening game.

Usually the best is saved to the last but this astonishing match was high scoring and action packed and compared with any final. In the first chukka the players covered every grain of the surface, the first goal was to Jorg Becke as the Irish just looked stunned, the second goal from an angled Micky Herbst backhand and another by him from sixty yards boded well for the Spanish until Siobhan Herbst took up the challenge. A perfect pass from Reynolds to Siobhan in the last minute was converted and then just time to hammer in two goals in the final half minute leaving a 3 all score line after the first chukka. The second chukka began as the first ended, with no stopping after a score, the bounce of the ball from the boards is there to be pounced upon and it was. As the action went end to end, John Roche notched up a superb opportunist goal, the ever present Sean Reynolds kept Spengler under control and added to score line, Jorg  and Siobhan vied at speed each scoring regularly and with scores even at 11 all going into the fourth chukka there was all to play for.

Riding one of the fastest ponies in the yard Siobhan circled the arena like a hawk, scoring at will, superb support from Reynolds and Roche and despite constant attention from the Spanish team she slipped through the defenses into space and peppered the goal with six consecutive shots the result was a win by 17 goals to 12 to Polo Wicklow's Friday team.

On Saturday, Ronan Murphy, one of Polo Wicklow's newest players joined up with Joseph Doswald, and Rafael Ledesma, for his first International match. The umpire was Siobhan Herbst.

jorgeandrosInitially Ledesma had the match under control but the experience of Spengler and Herbst snr and the speed of Becke began to curtail his freedom, Ronan Murphy, one of Polo Wicklow's newest players, cut a swathe through the opposition and his dogged determination ensured his first goal against a visiting team, The Spanish were playing good team polo and mid way through produced a flurry of goals to keep the score within two.  As always Doswald was hovering, awaiting his chance, in the third chukka whilst closely marking Spengler he broke free near the posts, and with a shot through the legs of four ponies scored his trademark goal.

The fourth chukka could have gone either way, Becke was mounted on one of Polo Wicklow's speediest mares, Micky Herbst was playing some of his best shots and there were only three goals separating the teams. Having shared a joke whilst changing horses and still laughing entering the arena it is possible that the outcome of the match was of less importance than the enjoyment of playing. Polo Wicklow were still fired up but Jorg Becke blew them aside as he whistled up and down the arena. Using the boards he picked up the ball bypassing the opposition, but incessantly chased by Murphy who was forever at his side the conversions were not so easy. This very good humoured, beautifully executed match was over far too soon, the spectators shouted for more but after four chukkas the result was another win for the home team 12 goals to 8.

Sunday's main match, and the third one for the Spanish team had Rosalinda Devereux, Rafael Ledesma, Claudia Roche and ronnieNaomi Shairp taking up the Polo Wicklow challenge. Once again Ledesma piled on the pressure in the first chukka, but Jorg was up for every move, a constant thorn at his side, Spengler and Herbst read the game well and worked in unison creating an impermeable defense. Goals were proving difficult to come by until some Ledesma magic surfaced. Rosalinda Devereux roared on her team and bulldozed Spengler off his line, Claudia Roche took up the flack and the game was on. The first Irish goal was countered by a Spanish one as the chukka developed into free flowing polo. Naomi Shairp alternated with Claudia Roche, her first touch of the ball sent a massive shot along the boards and towards the Spanish goal, picked out by Ledesma it was an easy score. After three very fast and even chukkas in a match where the visitors were deemed to have an advantage they appeared to be tiring by the fourth, allowing the very few loose shots in the game to be plundered by the hovering home team. Once the Polo Wicklow team was in the ascendancy they built on their team play and managed to hold the Spanish at bay by 12 goals to 10.

The Cup was presented to the Captain of the Friday team, Sean Reynolds.

Holland V Ireland 2005

Polo Wicklow was awash with visitors at the week end, Leighan Fischer from the Gulfstream Polo Club in Florida, and Terri Campbell fromhollandteam the Newport Polo Club, Rhode Island, joined in with the Polo Wicklow players in their first International tournament of the season against Holland. Leading the team of Dutch players was Andy Burgess, here for the second year with Kiki Quarles van Uffford and Erwin van Zeelt.      On Friday evening the U.S.A.- Polo Wicklow combination of Siobhan Herbst, Terri Campbell and Leighan Fischer took on the Dutch for the first of the three matches.

From the first touch this was an inspired game, Siobhan Herbst lead the two American players straight into the attack taking advantage of the tentative play of the Dutch the combination team swarmed all over the arena, however not a goal was conceded by either side during the first seven minutes. Chukka two and the pressure was on, Andy Burgess curled the ball to a space and tucked the first goal in, straight away Wicklow scored in reply. The new arena rules do not allow time to set up the ball after a goal so the pace was relentless, from end to end with the play becoming faster and faster every inch of the surface was covered. An even score line faced the teams for the fourth and final chukka, the Dutch were playing an accurate team game but Siobhan Herbst urged her team on, the three ladies spun and wove, every shot was determined, first a goal from Terri Campbell then a goal from Leighan Fischer, each countered by the Dutch but as the final seconds ebbed away two solo goals from Siobhan sealed the fate of the Friday evening match. Polo Wicklow-U.S.A. combination 10, Holland 8.

robertvsandyFor Saturday's match Polo Wicklow was represented by Mehran Mirahmadi, Sean Reynolds and Ronan Murphy. Undaunted by his first international confrontation Ronan Murphy was the first to hit the ball and clear the line out. Backed up by Sean Reynolds a very fast goal was in the bag, as the play continued the Dutch increased in confidence, Kiki Quarles van Ufford never missed a shot, Erwin van Zeelt relentlessly pursued Mirahmadi leaving Andy free. The Dutch were flying but so was Murphy. Needing an express change of direction and despite riding the tallest pony in the arena, Murphy and Machina turned on less than a sixpence picked up the ball, eluded the pack and headed for goal. Once again the scores were mounting evenly, Reynolds was hitting his shots like a pile driver, covering sixty and seventy yards, Mirahmadi picked up the passes and hammered them home but all the time the pressure was on them. The Dutch had formed an impenetrable alliance and despite all the attention from the Irish they held onto their lead to notch up a victorious score line of 10 to Holland and 8 to Ireland.catandmarcosmall

Two matches were held on the Sunday, firstly the Americans, and English visiting player Nicky Gidlow were back in action against another combined Polo Wicklow team followed by the third and deciding match for the visiting Dutch.

Micky Herbst, Robert Patton and Rosalinda Devereux represented the Irish. Probably the most difficult team for the Dutch to face, despite the handicap difference of four goals to the home team. From the first touch of the ball the Irish team were on the attack, Herbst assumed his defensive role as Patton and Devereux rampaged at the front, marking closely and consistently in defence the Dutch players were totally contained by the three Irish players. Breakaway goals by Burgess and Irwin were a bonus but as their match winning confidence of Saturday was eroded Ireland sneaked under cover and added to their score. The final score was a win to Ireland of 11 goals to 4 after a very hard fought challenge.

The most valuable player of the tournament was Ronan Murphy, and the Best Playing Pony went to Maquina, an Irish Thoroughbred cross from Polo Wicklow.

22nd to 24th April 2005 - End of Season

Once again it was three teenagers who provided the most sensational polo of the season at Polo Wicklow. With a wide disparity in the ages and the handicaps of the teams it was initially decided that the lower handicapped teams would compete against each other for the Cosimo von Stahlberg Cup and the higher handicapped teams would compete for the Lamorlaye Silver Horse Trophy!

seasonend1The Haymaker team from the North of Ireland consisted of fifteen year old Michael Connolly from Laois, Ben Hayes and James McCarthy from the Northern Ireland Polo Club. On Friday evening two matches were played out under a spectacular sun set, first into the arena were the Haymakers, and they were up against the Visitors, Dennis Connolly, Gonzalo Ayorez and Sean Reynolds. The umpire was Siobhan Herbst. Ball in and like terriers onto prey the youngsters began to dig, streaking away from the line up at full throttle and shouting instructions, the first goal was in before a breath had been taken. Not to be caught out twice Reynolds honed in on Ben Hayes Gonzalo took on James McCarthy and Michael Connelly was countered by Dennis, fast open polo covering every inch of the ground, not a second wasted with the hit out taken directly after a score and the game just kept getting faster. By the third chukka scores were even, goal for goal the teams were scoring and the Haymakers had been temporarily tamed, the fourth chukka with all to play for was a noisy one, team Captain James urged his players even more, Reynolds used all his skills slipping in a perfect long backhand to maintain the tension but as the seconds slid away the Haymakers took flight, two goals sealed their victory and a 7 to 5 score line. Next up was Polo Wicklow's team of Micky Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Joe O'Connell against the Dublin team of Joseph Doswald, Alejo Tagle and Eddie Caffrey. Carlos Caminito in charge. The game developed into fast competitive polo, quieter and more familiar to the spectators, constant use of the boards and instinctive positional play. This was Eddie Caffrey's last game of the winter season and he intended to go out with a bang, playing a pivotal role behind Tagle every skill he had accumulated was called upon, Doswald hounded Herbst and after four of the tightest chukkas the decision making goal came in the last twenty seconds from the mallet of Siobhan, Wicklow beating Dublin by 8 goals to7.

seasonend2The same formula was played out on Saturday but with two changes to the visiting team. Wicklow's Micky, Siobhan and Joe took on Robert Patton, Alejo Tagle and Denise Power from Waterford . It did not take long for Denise Power to get used to the arena, picking up a ball from the boards she wriggled through the defenders and with support from Tagle created a useful goal. Easily the three teamed up but Wicklow were playing well together and it was difficult to outwit them. O'Connell blasted accurate shots then followed up at blistering speed, Siobhan was everywhere and Micky never missed a ball. Despite every effort the Wicklow team drew away posting a 13 to 9 win.

The second match for the Haymakers was against the same team they had played on Friday but something was different. Stacked with confidence the young team who had represented Ireland in the Pony Club Polo Championships in England last year and had been the winners in their age group out of a total of 120 Pony Club teams were ready for another match. Sean Reynolds, Dennis Connolly and Gonzalo Ayorez threw all their skills into the match but the absolute team work and trust between the Haymakers slowly ground down the defence of the opposition. Sean, Dennis and Gonzalo played immaculate polo but every move was countered by one of the young players. Gradually the score line was weighing in favour of the pretenders and a big margin of 11 goals to 4 was the result.

seasonend3After a consultation it was proposed that the Haymakers should take on a Polo Wicklow team on Sunday to play for the Lamorlaye Trophy, and the two visiting teams would play each other for the Cosimo Cup. Renaming the home team as the Fossils and with Micky Herbst, Joe O'Connell and James Sheeran in the line up more than just pride would be at stake. Umpire Siobhan Herbst threw in the ball and in front of the largest crowd of the season the battle commenced. Experience vied with energy, pride with persistence, fifteen year old Michael Connelly, seventeen year old James McCarthy and nineteen year old Ben Hayes were playing as though attached by a thread. Sheeran reached the unreachable shots, O'Connell burrowed through the Haymakers and used the boards to divert direction followed up by the ever present Herbst. By the second chukka only two goals each were on the board, both scored by the Fossils, the Haymakers were still on their two goals handicap. Continual encouragement and directions from James McCarthy and with the match getting faster every second as the Haymakers began to score, slipping through the solid defence their first goal was notched up, then an under the belly shot at speed across the goal and they were two up. Back came the Fossils, a solo run by Sheeran, a backhand from Herbst and the scores were even. The third chukka mirrored the second, non stop action, nothing between the teams other than years, into the fourth chukka at 4 all. This was the noisiest chukka of the day, the youngsters ripped long shots from every direction but were unable to finish, a lofted Sheeran ball reached its target, then two Haymaker goals but the final swoop was a Wicklow one, two perfect strikes to the centre of the goal ended one of the most exciting matches of the season with a win for the Wicklow Fossils 8 goals to the Haymakers 6.

seasonend4The last match of the day proved to be another good fast confrontation. Dennis Connelly, Sean Reynolds and Gonzalo Ayorez took on Alejo Tagle, Robert Patton and Waterford 's Denise Power. Umpire Carlos Caminito. Until the second chukka, the play was even, fast and open, but as a few minor infringements crept in and the subsequent penalty shots were taken it served to slow down the action. Reynolds urged his team on, Connolly and Gonzalo looked for space but Power was guarding her position well. Patton and Tagle combined to push forward opening up the arena for speed. Back into a fast rhythm it was all down to the final few minutes, Power, Patton and Tagle had taken charge slotting in the winning goals for a final score line of 9 goals to 4. Best pony went to Joe O'Connells' Dosquito, and the Best Players at this tournament were without doubt the Haymakers, James McCarthy, Michael Connelly and Ben Hayes.

 

 

1st to 3rd April 2005 - U.S.A. Yale

yale2Last weekend Polo Wicklow experienced their first true whitewash from the mallets of an American team. Representing the U.S.A. the team from Yale University captained by Eileen Flint flew into Ireland to play three matches against three different Polo Wicklow teams. Jim de Angelis, Liz Brayboy and Venyek Sing made up the team. In Friday's match, umpired by Siobhan Herbst the Wicklow team was Joe O'Connell, Rosalinda Devereux and Claudia Roche. First touch of the ball was Roche's, instantly out of the line up she cleared a shot towards goal, abandoning all pre match nerves she left the chasing pack behind and the charge was on. De Angelis swept in and cleared what was a certain goal, thus the pattern was set. Old foes on the field O'Connell and De Angelis set the pace which never faltered, stride for stride the two covered the arena, long shots from De Angelis blasted the arena length, Singh and Flint, Devereux and Roche covered all the angles, even the interchanging of the four American players did not slow the pace. By the fourth chukka there was nothing in it, Flint encouraged from the side lines as both teams needed the winning goal, Roche punched home a goal countered by Singh, Devereux scored matched by Brayboy, in the dying seconds of the last chukka a typical De Angelis goal from nowhere sealed the score. 8 to the U.S.A. and 7 to Wicklow.

Saturday's Wicklow team was Micky Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Robert Patton, in brilliant sunshine and high hopes the teams met. Carlos Caminito was umpiring. Once again the two strongest players were dominant but Flint had other plans, determined to free up her front man De Angelis, she latched onto Siobhan Herbst but with clever and aggressiveyale3 play Siobhan was not to be intimidated. Micky Herbst raised his game and with Patton playing some superb competitive polo the two men closed down most chances. Again the match was played at breathtaking speed, massive shots from De Angelis assured speed and open play, Micky Herbst did not miss a shot and figured in all the action. Whilst all the goals were scored from crazy angles and at immense speed and distance, the few infringements incurred by both teams which resulted in penalties from the fifteen and twenty five yard lines, consistently missed their targets, such is the game. Yet again the fourth chukka was to be crucial, a brilliant reflex goal by Siobhan begun at the American goal mouth, but unable to be caught, just raised the stakes. Every player was fired up, the best ponies were in the arena and the action was non stop, no delay on the hit out, no time to take a breath and once more it was De Angelis who sealed the Irish fate with a stinging last second goal. Final score, 7 to 6.

yale1The issue of handicaps would be vital in the last of the three matches. The American team were well settled and familiar with their horses and had two matches under their belt. A last minute withdrawal of one of the Polo Wicklow's players brought in Neville Keegan to play with Carlos Caminito and Joseph Doswald. Umpire Siobhan Herbst was once more in charge of this crucial game. A large turnout of supporters, mostly for the visiting American team, added to the atmosphere whilst an amusing commentary kept everyone very involved in the game. Inevitably it was De Angelis and Caminito who choreographed the play, to outplay each other more than speed was required, the ferocious hitting skills of De Angelis and the acrobatic actions of Caminito created superb action. Drawn into the speed even the less experienced Doswald proved vital, sticking to his task he badgered and hooked, a clever sliced shot found the goal and he was right in the midst of one of his fastest games in the arena. The Americans eased ahead, supporting each other in every play. Keegan played like a Trojan invading the opposition, clearing the ball and setting up Caminito. The merest sight of a free ball and Caminito pounced, the Wicklow team had gelled into a forceful unit. Almost unbelievably it was the final seconds of the final chukka of the final match that once more produced the result, the Americans achieved a one goal win and a whitewash after three of the most outstanding exhibitions of polo of the winter season. The Polo Wicklow Perpetual Cup was presented to Eileen Flint, the best player was Jimmy DeAngelis, and best pony was Hakuma Matata.

 

 

4th to 6th February 2005 - Spanish Team

The same immensely popular Spanish team that had competed in 2004 from the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona returned to Polo Wicklow to make a second challenge for the Herbst Computer Systems Cup, this time to play against four Irish teams over the three days. Captained by Stefan Spengler, Adrian Matheu and Jorge Becke played their first match on Friday evening. spain1Under bright blue skies they must have felt very much at home as they faced Siobhan Herbst, Joseph Doswald and Rosalinda Devereux. Giving away five goals in handicap difference to the Irish team, umpire Micky Herbst threw in the ball. An immediate strike from Siobhan, a goal and things were looking good for Polo Wicklow, but this was to be a false dawn. Attempts to close down Spengler were proving difficult for Doswald, this cunning veteran dodged and wove slipping out of the Ambassador's net; two Spanish goals created by Spengler and finished off by his forward players only increased the Iberian confidence. Devereux and Herbst worked like Trojans, Rosalinda powered her way through the defence and in tandem with Siobhan the two women kept up the attack on the Spanish goal. As the game developed tension mounted on the back of some controversial umpiring decisions but this appeared to only raise the speed and calibre of the play. By the second chukka Doswald had his nemesis under close surveillance, poaching the ball away from Spengler he was even able to make a charge down the centre of the arena and direct his last shot between the posts. Both teams were playing aggressive polo, hard riding off, massive length shots all at full speed, Devereux conjured up an under the tail shot from nowhere that crashed between the posts. Going into the final chukka scores were even, the best ponies were in the arena and there was all to play for, despite tremendous team play from the Irish they found themselves thwarted on all sides, the Spaniards were free and rampant, Spengler, Matheu and Becke were scoring at will and for only the second time Polo Wicklow conceded defeat on a Friday, on both occasions it was the visiting Spanish team who had done it, final score was 14 to 11.

Conditions on Saturday were perfect for everyone, under a bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine the Bray Harriers mingled with the polo players before setting off on one of their best and longest hunts of the winter.

spain2Whilst they were away two Polo Wicklow teams participated in a round robin match against the visitors. The first Irish team into the arena was captained by Robert Patton, along with John Roche and Alejo Tagle, with one goal given on handicap to the Irish, umpire Sandra Giles started the match. What developed was fast, flowing, open polo, Patton, Tagle and Roche had hatched the perfect plan, Patton glued himself to Becke, 'like a human tic!' Becke later announced, Tagle found some freedom to create mayhem with the Spanish attack, Roche was everywhere in support. Two by two the game ebbed and flowed, a superb under the belly shot from Becke at the fifteen yard line corner sliced across the arena into goal, an immediate counter attack by the Irish then a Spengler goal. All too soon the second chukka was over and the home team had squeaked to a 6 to 4 victory.

Sporting one of the sets of new Polo Wicklow colours Sean Reynolds's team was dubbed Strawberries and Sean, wearing a glorious shade of pink he led out Micky Herbst and Mario Giles to take on the Spanish team who had remained in the arena for their last two chukkas. Once again the spectators were party to some inspirational polo, Sean and Mario attacked the Spanish goal, massive shots vibrated off the boards and brought the play to the goal, Herbst secured the back and with only a glimpse of the target added two trade mark backhand goals to the score. Luck evaded the visitors with their shots going just wide of the gaol, some scrupulous marking, and a minor pony power problem. Sean Reynold's team contrived the surprise win of the day with a four goal margin, 8 to 4.

The last teams into the arena were the two Polo Wicklow teams, certainly the most colourful to look at, strawberry pink versus lime green, and very evenly matched. Good strong shots, heavy riding off and clean fast polo. Even though the outcome of this encounter not crucial to the final result it was a highly competitive confrontation with some exhibition polo that all the spectators could enjoy. Final result was another win for Reynolds, 6 to 3.

spain3Sunday's feature match was possibly a victim of the Irish hospitality, or the wetter conditions in the arena. It was the turn of Paul Monahan, Joe O'Connell and Micky Herbst to take on the Spaniards. Umpire Mario Giles was in charge. A slow start with players bunching up in an attempt to clear the ball, fastest away was Monahan, out on his own he covered the length of the arena finishing with a perfectly accurate shot on goal. O'Connell vied with Becke, Herbst kept an eye on Spengler while Monahan just continued to attack; any freedom was converted into goals. By the end of the second chukka play had evened out, even those players who had begun the game sluggishly were firing on all cylinders. The single goal given on handicap to the Irish was all that was separating the two teams. Suddenly O'Connell was meeting the ball spot on and the Spaniards were under pressure, Herbst never missed a shot and with Monahan playing the game of his life, the arena became a cauldron. Brilliant shots from Matheu spread the play, picked up by the ever present Spengler, burrowing, hassling and challenging Monahan persisted in unbalancing the opposition, slowly the Irish accumulated a score of nine goals but the Spanish were not finished. In the final minute of the match they broke through the Irish defence with spectacular ease hammering three late goals between the posts, to leave the score a much more respectable 9 to 6 for the home Club. The Cup was presented to Sean Reynold's team as the outright winner.

Man of the match Paul Monahan. Best Pony Casta ridden by Jorge Becke.

January 14th to 16th 2005 - U.S.A. Newport

newport1Captained by Dan Keating the American polo team from Glen Farm Polo Club, Newport , Rhode Island arrived to compete for the Newport Challenge Cup. The first match took place on Friday evening in deteriorating conditions, Dan Keating, Jackie Shaw and Jim Garner faced the first of the three Polo Wicklow teams they would meet over the course of three days. Siobhan Herbst, James Sheeran and John Roche lined up, with Micky Herbst umpiring from the balcony! The first touch was to the U.S.A. followed by an instant goal, Dan Keating was not wasting any time, his team were in top gear as they urged each other on, running rings round the Irish they took complete charge of the game, Garner cleared one of the few Irish chances from the goal line, Jackie Shaw battled with Sheeran to keep him under control and off the ball, John Roche in his very first international match was designated to attach himself to Keating but this slippery player was impossible to mark. One by one the goals were collecting up for the U.S.A. players, Polo Wicklow threw everything they had at their opposition but neither luck nor judgement was on their side. In the third chukka came the turning point, picking up a loose ball from the Irish end, Sheeran realigned it a few yards in front of his galloping horse and with a single mighty swipe scored one of the most spectacular eighty yard goals ever witnessed in the arena. Suddenly the team had breathed new life, Roche popped home a goal and the score line read 8 to the visitors and 4 to the home team going into the final chukka. An almost impossible deficit to make up against the strong, team play orientated Americans, but the untried combination of Siobhan Herbst and La Liebre, and the absolute resolution to change what looked like an inevitable result was in the offing. As the mist descended and the light worsened Liebre sprouted wings, the grey mare flew round the arena, Siobhan found herself with space and freedom and every opportunity was converted. Roche played a valuable defensive role, Sheeran ran in two goals whilst Siobhan's incredible spree had resulted in the addition of five goals. An almost unbelievable final score line of 11 goals to Ireland and 9 to America.

newport2Saturday's Irish team was Rosalinda Devereux, Robert Patton and Mario Giles and they were up against the same U.S.A. team. The umpire was Siobhan Herbst. Once again the Americans were quickest off the mark, the elusive Keating threaded his way through the opposition, Garner was on hand, a short pass and the first goal was in. The instant 'hit in' meant incessant action, Giles sent a long pass up to Patton but his shot slowed short of the goal and was whisked away by Shaw, time after time the ball approached the goal but the quick silver Americans scooped it away. A dozen chances for the Irish to score were averted by the diligence of the Americans, shot after shot was interrupted on it's way to the goal. The Americans fared better, a mid air ball gathered by Garner was volleyed between the posts, Keating added to the score and Shaw despite defending like a limpet also popped home two goals.

newport3Again the Irish were behind going into the last chukka but there were still seven minutes of play left. A goal each by the Irish team put them ahead by one, answered immediately by the Americans. With two minutes on the clock alternate scoring began, the game was getting faster and faster, the spectators were enthralled and shouting encouragement, with five seconds left on the clock, and another Irish win on the cards the last strike of the match went to Garner who hammered home the final goal to register a 9 all draw.

 

 

 

11th April 2003 Barcelona, Spain - Ireland

The Real Club do Polo de Barcelona polo team, represented by Stefan Spengler, Alejandro Espada Gerlach and Jorge Becke flew into brilliant Irish sunshine and Polo Wicklow to compete for the Moorings Cup. Friday's 5pm. match lined up Siobhan Herbst, Micky Herbst and Mathias Albin to begin events. A great Match!

spain-ireland1

Umpire Joe O'Connell threw in the ball, a dart across the line up and the first touch to Spengler, half shot and full shot and the first ever Spanish goal was registered at Polo Wicklow. Some tentative play in the first chukka exposed the lack of arena  experience by two of the Spanish visitors, but all too quickly for the Irish they adapted to the play. The second and third chukkas were neck and neck, and a scoreline of 7 goals to each team going into the fourth. Leading the charge was Bespain-ireland3cke, determined to push through the deadlock but luck was against them, two penalties were converted by the Irish, a missed goal or two and it was over, a win of 10 goals to 7 to the home team.

Despite watering the arena the dust was flying on Saturday, the Spaniards faced Michael Bourke, James Sheeran and David Stone. From the outset this was fast polo, pressure play from the Spanish kept the Irish confined, a break by Sheeran on a very speedy young horse came to nothing as the last strike of the ball sliced to the right, Stone and Spengler vied for possession, Bourke supported well but all angles were covered. Ireland was playing 'catch up', the Spanish had the initiative and began to use the boards, umpire Albin had little to do in this good natured and vocal confrontation. Roars accompanied every goal throughout this evenly matched four chukkas so with only three seconds left on the clock and a massive hit by Stone into the goal levelled the score at 8 all, justice had prevailed.

spain-ireland2Sunday's final match was played at midday to accommodate travel plans, overnight rain had rendered the arena surface perfect as Major Hugh Dawnay, Micky Herbst and Sean Reynolds lined up against the visitors, two goals were given to Spain and Albin began the play. An easy first chukka with wide open shots allowed Dawnay freedom, Reynolds and Herbst provided alert back up but once again the Spanish had the game by the throat, their good team understanding and some sparkling action had the Irish on the run. Unseated by his horse stumbling and an awkward landing Reynolds swapped his place with Siobhan Herbst in the third chukka. Handicap adjustments were made and the game continued. Picking every ball from the line out Siobhan made an immediate impact on the game, the familiarity of a team that had played together for most of the winter season began to show. Dawnay and Herbst  junior interwove their shots, from being in control the Spanish had no answer to this onslaught as six goals were punched home. Exciting and brilliant play by all six players finished off one of the most enjoyable international week ends of polo held at Polo Wicklow, final score was 12 to 7 for Ireland and the Moorings Cup was presented to Siobhan Herbst. Best pony was judged to be Dario.

February 14th 2003  France Ireland

The Club de Supporters des Polo is a group of non playing polo supporters who plan on attending all matches in the future to support their team !!! They have warned us that as many as 100 will be in Ireland next year when the French return. Next expected team are the Americans in March.

On Friday evening the French Polo team, sponsored by Le Club des Supporters des Polo and The Brok Café de Deauville arrived in Ireland and three hours later were mounted and ready for their match against Polo Wicklow. Captained for the second year by Evrard de Spa, proprietor of The Brok Café, and Claude Solarz and Alex Sztarkman from Chantille this 7 handicap team faced Micky Herbst, Siobhan Herbst and Brian Lynam whose team held a 5 goal handicap. Goal difference accounted for and the match began with the throw in by the umpire.

The strongest French player, but unused to arena polo, Alex was straight into the fray, hounded by Siobhan his chances were initially few, he flew down the arena tightly marked by Siobhan but the boards came too soon, peeling out to the side he left the ball to be scooped away to safety and to be backed up to the defending Irish players. Despite the four goal advantage for the Irish team the players were evenly matched, tight marking featured and long clean strikes by Claude and Lynam swung the match from end to end. With every chukka the French were getting stronger and at the end of a furiously fast four chukkas they were within two goals of the Irish.

Saturdays match reversed the result with a drumming for the Polo Wicklow players by the French. The same teams lined up but the French had lifted their game, Alex was everywhere picking up the loose ball and clearing it then reappearing to finalise the move. Evrard scrambled and pushed and Claude cleaned up. By the end of the second chukka scores were 7 all. Umpire David Stone had little to do, a couple of minor infringements moved the play forwards by 25 yards and a penalty awarded to each side was converted.

The third chukka provided no surprises, France were two goals ahead and had all the trappings of a team on a mission, Ireland had no answers to the coordinated attack on their goal, in full voice the visiting team grew in confidence as the local players wilted. Two Irish attempts at goal hit the posts, and a deflection gave away an own goal but the outcome was inevitable, a rash of shots by Claude, Alex and Evrard all reached their targets and Polo Wicklow's Irish team had to accept defeat by 13 goals to 8.

The recipient of the French Irish Arena Perpetual Cup, sponsored by nixers.com depended upon the outcome of Sunday's encounter, once again Micky and Siobhan Herbst teamed up with Brian Lynam, and with Tony Rhatigan on umpire duty the ball was thrown in. A revitalised Irish team needed a win to keep the silverware at home, but the French were determined to continue where they had left off the day before. From the first strike of the ball the heat was on, mighty cracks blasted the ball the length of the arena, accurate anticipation from Alex placed him constantly in the right place at the right time. Almost impossible to mark closely he found just enough space to pass to his team mate, a stylish under the belly shot at speed, followed by a near side forehand placed the ball perfectly for Evrard to pot. Two low scoring chukkas and it was anybody's game, the third chukka saw a break for France, two goals in quick succession picked from two miss hits and the scores were even. Saving the best 'til last the two teams lined up for the final throw in, Alex and Siobhan, Evrard and Micky, Claude and Brian, possession was all important, a lovely goal from Lynam broke the tension and the determined Irish team just kept pushing, Siobhan fixed herself to the side of Alex to keep him out of the game, Micky backed a shot through the ponies legs and into goal and suddenly the last chukka was over and Ireland had scraped ahead in the dying seconds with just two goals, an 8 to 6 win.

3-Aug-2002 Polo Wicklow return from USA

The Polo Wicklow selection was Mehran Miramadi, Neville Keegan , Siobhan Herbst and Mickey Herbst.

Like in the past 11 years the USA trip is one of the high lights of the traveling Polo Wicklow members. We arrived in Boston at 2 a clock to be ready for the match at 6 p.m. in New Haven at Yale University. All was prepared with the usual typical hospitality organized by the Yale Polo Club. The horses we were given were fabulous which always is a critical point when you travel.

The Yale Team had a few players interchanged during the match and we played against

Liz Brayboy, Eileen Flint, Jennifer Costain, Whitney Vogt, Chip Steigler, Gerry Kagan, Grey Beverely, Mark Brennan, and of course James Deangelis.

The game from the outset looked bad for Wicklow and some very good play by the local players made sure that the result was a certain win for Yale Polo Club, for reasons not known by us we could not get the ball into the opponents goal. Liz, Jennifer and Gerry played some excellent Polo and made sure that the Irish side had no chance. But all was made up with the after Polo a splendid evening of entertainment into the early hours in Jim and Eileen Flint's new residence. All the members made sure that we had a most memorable experience in New Haven.

Two days later we played in Newport in the International Polo Series and our luck turned with a score of 11-10 we were able to finish the match with an Irish win.

For Newport we had Jim Zynski, John Gelati, Mark Wright, Don Black and Mehran Miramadi and we had Jonathan Kaye on our team to swap Mehran. The match was a very exciting game and the crowds were enthusiastically participating as the game result was swinging from side to the other. Siobhan for sure was the player of the day with scoring 7 of the Irish goals. The hospitality organised by the Newport Club especially by Agnes and Dan Keating and the other players was very much appreciated and we hope to see them in Ireland for the revenge match this winter.

20-Nov-2000 8th 9th 10th December 2000 Newport RI (USA) Glenfarm International Polo confirms dates for the USA-Ireland Tournament in Wicklow President Dan Keating of Glen Farm International Polo Series announced the selection for the first USA team for the Winter season 2000.

For Newport USA
Jim Zynsky 1
Jackie Shore 1
Jonathan Kaye 3
Irish teams not selected yet
The dates and times of the tournament Friday 8th December 2000 5 p.m. Saturday 9th December 2000 3 p.m. Sunday 10th December 2000 3 p.m.
Sunday festivities:
12.00 Brunch
17.30 Polo Barbeque
Bookings to Caroline 086 286 9691

Sponsored by the Bank of Ireland emoticon

25-Feb-2000 25/02/00 5 p.m. 26/02/00 3 p.m. 27/02/00 p.m. Bank of Ireland Cup

USA (Newport) Dan Keating, Jim Zynsky Dave Bullis Ireland (Polo Wicklow) Team 1 Bryan Lynam, Craig McKinney, Micky Herbst Team 2 Tony Rathigan, Siobhan Herbst, Joe O'Connell Team 3 Odilla Gilson, James Kennedy, George Kennedy followed on Sunday with "Barbeque Argentina" Any inquiries or bookings should be made to Polo Wicklow above address.

PLEASE CONFIRM WITH 00 353 404 67164 THE PROPOSED TOURNAMENT DATES (The dates may change to suit the visitors.)

International teams can request an invitation for tournament dates suitable to them.

Players from Europe are invited to keep their horses during the winter in Polo Wicklow where the horses during the winter will be fully schooled by our professionals and you can play them on the weekends. The full livery rate is from $75.00 a week. Visitor's ( tournament only entered) horses are kept f.o.c.

18-Sep-1997 December 5-8 1997 Germany V Ireland Germany: Beate Rossbach, Wolfgang Kailing, James Rogers Ireland Team 1: Tony Rhatigan, Odilla Rhatigan, Negro Fernandes Ireland Team 2: Dennis Coe, Siobhan Herbst, Joe O'Connel Ireland Team 3: Craig McKinney, Georgina Sherrard, Michael Herbst

25-Apr-1997 April 25/26 Northern Ireland V South Ireland Raymand Hutchinson Stephen Hutchinson David Wheelan for NI Micky Herbst Craig Mckinney and Joe O'Connell for Eire

result : Saturday Eire win on Sunday NI win. As there was no decisive win the "All Religions Cup" was not presented and will be fought for in December 1997.

5-Apr-1997 April 5/6 Ireland v USA (Yale University) USA Silver Pokal Eileen Flanagan , the USA coach , will lead the team.

The USA Team: Eileen Flanagan (2), Mark Dubois(1), Robert Arnold(6) Bruce Colley (2)

The Irish Teams defending the Bank of Ireland USA IRELAND Cup

Friday Ireland Team 1: Michael Herbst (1), Raffael Ledesma (3), Charly O'Reilly Hyland Saturday Ireland Team 2: Joe OґConnel (3), Phillip Shannon (0), Dennis Cole (0) Sunday Ireland Team 3: James O'Connel (3), Mario Giles (2), Tony Rathigan (1)

Play will commence at 3.30 p.m. any day

Sunday open Barbeque ala Wendy and Cup presentaion

1-Jan-1997 Proposed 1998/1999 International Wicklow Tournaments and the Results

Date Tournament Handicap Max Trophy/Sponsor
October 24-26 6 Novice Cup Ritz
November 20/23 Germany(Munich) Ireland 10
December 5-7 Ireland - Italy 10 Xmas Tree Cup
December 19-21 Universal Conept 7 Mike Murphy Silver Cup
January 3-4 open 6 Liam Lacey Mooring Cup
January 16-18 USA - Ireland 8 Woodchester Credit Lyonnaise Cup
January 30-31 France - Ireland 4 Bank of Ireland Cup
February 20-22 Ireland-Holland 8 Herbst Computer
March 13-14 India Ireland 6 Gouldings Cup
March 21-22 N.Ireland V South 6 The Irish Bone Sculpture Power Seeds
April 4-5 USA - Ireland Open Connecticut Trumpet Newport Polo
April 10-12 Open Tournament Open The County Cup
April 24-26 Open Laverty Irish Tyrone Glas

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