Polo at the centre of sun (sort of), sea and mountains in Northern Ireland

WHILE the tournament at the Tyrella grounds within view of County Down’s Irish Sea was the main event, there was much to see and do in between two days of polo, including walking and sea tours as well as opportunities to visit much of the nearby Game of Thrones scenic outdoor sets.

Mary Minarakova of Seahorse Polo & Beach Rides has her hands full of ponies while preparing for tournaments at Tyrella polo grounds in Northern Ireland

Roving sports photographer Desmond Loughery (left) paidi a visit to Tyrella polo grounds and met polo mum Karen Boyd and Tyrone team jack of all trades Sean O’Neill

Overlooked by the Mountains of Mourne with many of the ponies supplied by Seahorse Polo & Beach Rides particularly to newer riders, tournaments were played against stunning backdrops for the 4 Goal Ulster Cup and the lower, -1 Goal Workpal Cup. The winners were determined through cumulative scoring, achieved in eight chukkas played in August for the 4 Goal trophy, and 12 for the -1 Goal.

A lone Tyrone team player takes on three from Rhone Hill’s team in the 4 Goal tournament at Tyrella polo grounds Northern Ireland

The Rhone Hill team regroups during a break in the 4 Goal tournament at Tyrella polo grounds Northern Ireland

The verdant green of the polo ground beside the ever-present misty blue Mourne Mountains and steely grey of the Irish Sea belied the parched landscape seen in the previous month’s heatwave.

“Thank you for coming,” said Tyrella Beach founder David Corbett. “As you know we had to postpone, the ground was just too hard. “It really recovered well and is much better now.”

The stunning backdrop of the Irish Sea and the Mourne Mountains framed tournament action at Tyrella Polo Grounds in Northern Ireland

Sir William (Bill) Hall and former Marshall Field & Co high-end department store scion Iona Erskine favoured a different kind of horsepower at the tournament in Northern Ireland, preferring a quad bike over pony power

The Rhone Hill team claimed the Ulster Cup in the 4 Goal tournament, winning on 7 goals against Tyrone just a goal and a half behind while Workpal defeated KM Mallets and Tyrella in every match played.

The winning 4 Goal Rhone Hill team with Tyrella polo club founder David Corbett, Most Valuable Player Charles Heffron (left), his sister and teammate Jemima, Thomas Richardson and Gonzalo Lopez Vargas

The tournament’s Best Playing Pony Minetta owned by Tyrone and her rider James Donelly at Tyrella polo grounds Northern Ireland

The tournament’s Most Valuable Player was the young Charles Heffron, who was presented with a new mallet sponsored by KM Mallets while the Best Playing Pony was Minetta, owned by Tyrone and ridden by 18-year-old James Donnelly earning the prize of a new rug sponsored by Polo Times.

Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is Pynck.com’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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