Derby Tournament paves the way to new energy in the game of Irish polo

THE debut of professional standards in umpiring the game of polo in Ireland has paved the way to a re-energised horse sport, launched with the debut of umpire Tristan Pemble earlier this month at the Derby Tournament in Dublin’s All Ireland Polo Club.

Jock Thompson (right) plays the sideline boards in the Derby Tournament at the All Ireland Polo Club, Phoenix Park, Dublin Ireland

Amalie Moore of the Moores team sports some of the new kit, a jacket that debuted their Wexford team link

Glenpatrick took on Wexford to win their qualifyer in the Derby Tournament, going on to win the final at the All Ireland Polo Club

MLI International Schools staff member Christina Rodriguez (centre) led a tour of visiting Spanish students from their base at Dublin City University to the All Ireland Polo Club, one of the tourism hotspots in Dublin’s Phoenix Park

Under the arbitration of the former Guards Polo Club 2-goaler some of the best polo ever played over two days on the grounds in Phoenix Park involved eight teams in two handicap leagues, the 4-goal dominated by Northern Ireland’s Glenpatrick team, and the 0-goal by the Moores. The pace was fast, the matches clean and well played and the fuss ranged from minimal to entirely absent.

“I’m not just there to spot where the fouls are,” said Tristan Pemble after umpiring his first tournament in Ireland. “I’m there also to keep the horses safe, to set the environment. My job is quite important for the safety of play.”

Glenpatrick beat the hugely successful Wexford team in the qualifiers, earning the first slot in the higher goal final that followed. Northern Ireland’s Tyrone team lost their qualifier to LHK Insurance, the team that faced off in the final against Glenpatrick and failed in their bid for the President’s Cup.

Britt and Anne Megahy were at the Derby Tournament to watch their son Ian take the Glenpatrick team to the Presidents Cup win

Presidents Cup winners James Connolly (l-r), Paul Ronan, patron Ian Magehy, Siobhan Herbst and prize presenter Tamara Monahan, daughter of All Ireland Polo Club President Paul Monahan

Pro umpire Tristan Pemble is bringing new energy to the sport of Irish polo. See the video here

With the new advantage of ‘Ref Radio’, a wireless communications system that maintained contact between pro umpire Tristan Pemble and a designee from participating teams at each match the introduction of professional standards to the game of Irish polo has without question, brought renewed energy that has already been taken up at tournaments around the country.

“They (the teams) invited me here to Ireland because they wanted an independent,” said the UK-based professional umpire of six years. “I was over here to control the players, make sure there was a good experience on and off the field.”

The Moores won the 0-goal for the Stanley Corcoran Cup on 6 goals to 4 from Wicklow.



Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is’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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