USA vs. Ireland Match Report

The sun was shining for the return of international fan favorites, Team Ireland, for USA vs. Ireland on Saturday July 8th, part of the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines. The match hosted the highly anticipated return of Team Ireland, the first team to compete in the Newport International Polo Series 32 years ago in its inagural season in 1996. Spectators from all over New England and surrounding states traveled far and wide with green, orange, and white attire and festive tailgate spreads to show support for the Irish in this thrilling 6-chukker match. 

The atmopshere at the International Polo Grounds was bustling with the Patio Bar serving up the latest offerings from Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Stella Artois, and Absolut. Those immersed in the Irish spirit enjoyed the drink of the day crafted by The Cocktail GuruFrozen Irish Coffee, a summer twist on an Irish classic, perfect for this hot summer afternoon. Those who craved a more classic cocktail with a fun flair enjoyed several of Goslings cocktails: The Bermuda Rum Swizzle, The Tropic Time Out, and the classicDark ‘n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series. The Pro Shopwas abuzz with spectators purchasing a variety of new arrivals, including this week’s featured item, Ladies Irish Jammies. The weekly Gourmet Food Trucks were serving up delectable options field-side all afternoon with Newport classics from Newport Chowder Company, Wally’s Hot Dog Cart, A Mano Pizza + Gelato, Hawaiian Jim’s Shave Ice, Milk Caffe, Ben and Jerry’s, and Sweet B’s Donuts.  

Just before 5PM, the Irish Team made a grand entrance and descended onto the field in a bright red helicopter, courtesy of Newport Helicopter Tours! They quickly mounted up and were led onto the field alongside Team USA and two umpires. The opening ceremony started with a coin toss from Christie Cashman, Author of The Truth About Horses. The teams decided which directions to start and the teams were introduced. In white was Team USA with the queen of Newport Polo, Minnie Keating, at #1, the skilled Sam Clemens at #2, followed by president and founder of Newport Polo Dan Keating at #3, and finally George Hempt in the #4 position anchoring the team. Next up, Team Ireland in green, with Ian Megahey starting in the #1 position, followed up by Nick Murphy in the #2 position, fan-favorite Siobhan Herbst in the #3 position, and finally Michael Connolly backing the Irish in the #4 position.

Clemens of scored the opening goal, and Minnie Keating quickly scored again putting two on the board for Team USA. Murphy had the first goal for the Irish, but was countered by Hempt scoring Team USA’s third goal. Herbst put in Team Ireland’s second goal to end the first chukker 3-2, Team USA. Excitement continued in the second chukker as Dan Keating scored again for USA. The excitement of this match lived up to the hype as we see Hempt and Clemens each score again for Team USA, countered with an impressive three goals from Ireland’s Connolly. The third chukker saw another goal from Connolly and two more from Hempt to maintain Team USA’s lead going into half-time.

Spectators flooded the field to participate in the traditional divot stomping to prepare the field for the second half of the match. Vendor Village was buzzing with customers shopping and grabbing a bite to eat while waiting for the game to begin again. Many people visited the Pro Shop to look at new items and drop off their raffle tickets in hopes of winning a gift from Veuve Cliquot and a chance to win the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize. Meanwhile, judges circled the field to find the most Irish-inspired tailgate spread to win the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest at the end of the 4th chukker.

The fourth chukker was a bit slower than the first half, with one goal for Team USA from Hempt and one goal for Team Ireland from Connolly. The winner of the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest was announced to the best green, white, and orange picnic, this group was awarded a special prize from our friends at Stella Artois. Things picked up a bit in the fifth chukker, as Dan Keating and Clemens both scored again to keep USA in the lead as the Irish only scored once this chukker to end things 11-8. Connolly scored quickly at the beginning of the sixth and final chukker in an attempt to catch up to Team USA’s three-goal lead, but Clemens countered this with another goal for USA. The Irish finished strong, with Connolly scoring again; it was a valiant effort and close match with a final score of 12-10, but Team USA came out on top.

After the match, Teams USA and Ireland took a lap ’round the field in the traditional victory salute, a Newport Polo tradition since 2003. The lap was then closely followed by the Veuve Clicquot Trophy PresentationBill and Lynn St George, the lovely hosts of the Irish team during their time in Newport, presented the Irish Perpetual Cup and the Providence Diamond player’s trophies to the victorious Team USA. After the celebration and autograph signing, the players and spectators retired to the Modern Luxury Lounge for the player’s toast while some enjoyed the apres polo Irish dinner catered by celebrity Chef Kevin des Chenes.


Live audiences can enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 32 years to witness the timeless sport unfold on the manicured, emerald green at Glen Farm, home of the Polo Series, in a classic exhibition of horsemanship and valor, with host, the Newport Polo Club, where the home team – Newport/USA – meets challengers each season from around the world as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport’s unique traditions & renowned attractions.  

The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September. The schedule of teams is subject to change without notice, subject to RI State mandates, US travel bans which may impact travel and Adult Sports, and force majeure.  Stay current with the 2023 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.

The Polo Grounds’ favorable proximity to the shores of the island’s Sakonnet east passage provides reliably cool coastal effects, moderating afternoon temperatures and providing a dependable breeze for the late afternoon polo matches all summer.  Minutes from the bustling Newport waterfront, the International Polo Grounds are located on the acreage of Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of a pre-colonial settlement from the 1600’s that became the Town of Portsmouth’s original gentlemen’s farm, an 800-acre manorial estate established during a Gilded Age movement of retreat from the high life into pastoral country acres, to become the future home of polo in the next century. Its classical 19th-century stone barns and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by Polo Series founder, Dan Keating in the early 1990’s and continue to thrive as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.  

The Newport International Polo Series is proud to name its 2023 sponsors including Brenton HotelBDTD BankTurkish AirlinesModern Luxury BostonHerb Chambers ExoticsVanderbilt International PropertiesHotel VikingThe VanderbiltThe Chanler at Cliff WalkNewport LifeProvidence DiamondVeuve ClicquotABSOLUTClarke Cooke HouseCCE Golf CarsBMW of NewportAtria Senior LivingNorthwestern MutualCharles SchwabInsperityAAA Northeast | VikingA-1 RoofingUS Polo AssnStella ArtoisVisit JamaicaGoslingsROCKSTAR Limo, and Classical 95.9 WCRI; and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter ToursThe Cocktail GuruNewport Jaguar ToursPicnic ChartersIsland AdventuresOn Watch SailingInternational Tennis Hall of FameNewport VineyardsNewport MansionsIsland Surf and SportNewport Picnic Co. and Audrain Automobile Museum.

“Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.

This is the 32nd season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 36 nations including, Ukraine, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, and Switzerland.

Gilded Age Legacy.  Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th-century b.c. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for nearly 2500 years, steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport’s summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America’s first polo club in 1876.  A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo. 

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