In memory of Tony Tierney 1949-2018

 

As an association, but more so as a group of close friends, members of the ICA are having difficulty coming to terms with the passing of one of our most illustrious members, Tony Tierney.

This is a tribute to Tony, seen through the prism of Irish curling.

Photo credit – WCF

Tony and his two-year battle with cancer went down to the last stone in an extra end. We all knew it was peels at the start of the year and although Tony fought all the way, throwing guard after guard in the path of his disease, his opposition had the crucial last stone. We all prayed for a reprieve for him, that cancer would come up short, but it drew the shot and Tony shook hands and left the ice with his head held high, having given his all.

Tony was one of the original members of the Irish Curling Association, a regular supporter of its competitions and a committee member for many years.

Tony also had the honour of playing for his country 104 times. During his Irish curling career, he achieved the one thing that every competitive sportsperson dreams about – he became a world champion.

Tony (second left) with his teammates and coach – photo credit – WCF

Tony played lead in the Irish team that won the World Men’s Senior Championships in Tårnby, Denmark, in April 2012, in one of the most unforgettable weeks of his life. He and his teammates – Johnjo Kenny, Bill Gray, David Whyte, David Hume and coach Gordon McIntyre – went through the entire championships undefeated and beat hot favourites Canada in an extra-end to take the gold.

His sterling performance for Ireland in Tårnby led to the nickname ‘Tony Two Ticks’ but he was even more proud of his teammates, after that monumental success, than he ever was of himself.

Photo credit – WCF

He followed that up four years later in Karlstad, Sweden, winning a bronze medal at the same championships, playing for Ireland with Peter Wilson, Peter JD Wilson, Ross Barr, Neil Fyfe and, once more, coach Gordon McIntyre, one of Tony’s closest friends.

European ‘B’ Gold medallists 2007 – left to right – Neil Fyfe, PJ Wilson, Robin Gray, Peter Wilson, Tony Tierney and coach Ron Myers.

He was also in the team that won Ireland’s very first gold medal at any championships, winning the European Curling Championships ‘B’ League in Füssen, Germany, in 2007 with Peter Wilson, Robin Gray, Neil Fyfe, PJ Wilson and coach Ron Meyers. From 2005 to 2016, he represented Ireland in eight World Senior Championships, two European Championships, six European Mixed Championships and one World Mixed Championships.

Photo credit – WCF

On the ice Tony was committed, competitive and played hard to win. He was also famous for taking into consideration every possible outcome before making a tactical decision and was locked into a wonderfully idiosyncratic pre-shot routine that he was mercilessly ribbed about.

Off the ice, ‘Tony Terrific’ was nothing short of a legend. Blessed with exquisite comic timing, he was a regular when curling social events called for an entertainer. His stand-up routine was unforgettable, with his audience bent double with laughter as Tony reached the punchline. Aided by his “it’s the way I tell ‘em” Belfast accent; such was his talent and command of the floor he managed to make often told tales sound just as fresh and funny as the first telling.

We all will have our favourite Tony Tierney joke, but I doubt we will ever want to hear them again as only Tony could tell them…… and sadly, he is suddenly gone and with him, the magic of a storyteller with the room in the palm of his hand.

Photo credit – WCF

Of course, our sadness pales in comparison with what his devoted wife Charlotte and his family are going through and our deepest sympathies go out to them at this most difficult of times.

Tony had many things to be proud of away from curling. He was a successful and respected businessman with a wide circle of friends. He was a man of integrity, honesty and faith. He was warm, witty, charming, easy-going and generous to a fault, but most of all he was happy and fulfilled in his personal life. He adored Charlotte who was clearly the love of his life, as he was hers.

It was with that immense love as his talisman that he fought leukaemia so long and so bravely.

Photo credit – WCF

In his lifetime, Tony Tierney conquered the world, but his world was Charlotte and their life together and he would want our gaze now to turn to her and to give her all the strength and support we can.

That, surely, would be the finest of tributes to Tony.

Tony Tierney – world curling champion. April 21st, 2012.

 

 

Garmish summer spiel

Louise , Bill, Frances and Ian.

ICA members went up the Zugspitze during their summer break in Garmisch

Two rinks from the ICA took part in the summer bonspiel over in Garmsich-Partenkirchen, Germany, last week with the ‘Paddy Power’ team of Bill Gray, Louise Kerr, Ian Donald and Frances Donald winning the low road.

 

Arran, Johnjo and Gillian

The other team, called the ‘Green Giants’, consisted of Johnjo Kenny, Arran Cameron and Gillian Russell. They played their way into the top league but had a bad last day on the ice to miss out on top spot. Unfortunately, the fourth member of that team had to withdraw from the event due to illness in her family. The ice in the imposing Olympic stadium was a challenge for all the teams due to the very warm conditions outside, making the ice both heavy and frosty, and some of us had to re-boot our backswing delivery to get the stone to the other end! The ice did improve a little on the second and third days and the ice makers worked tirelessly to make it as playable as possible.

Curling titans Andrea Schopp and Johnjo Kenny

Eighteen teams took part this year including local German teams, teams from Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Ukraine.

The ICA party enjoy rinks beside the lake before dinner outside the hotel in Grainau.

The organisers did a fantastic job hosting the event with a drinks party the first evening, a barbeque the second night and a superb grand dinner at a hotel in Grainau, at the base of the Zugspitze mountain, on the final evening.

A special thanks from everyone to Arran Cameron who undertook the bulk of the organisation for the trip.

Day 6 in Östersund

The Irish teams in Östersund at the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles on the last day of the round robin games.

Photo: @WCF / Richard Gray

The Senior men played Russia in a tense, closely fought game, but a steal of 2 in the final end saw an end to their progression prospects.

Bill Gray commented “Didn’t do enough to put away the challenge of a spirited Russian team. This leaves us at the mercy of the Draw Shot Challenge which isn’t good enough to rank us above Finland. Looks like the dream is over for this year. ☹”

They finish 4th place in group C with 3 wins and 3 losses.

Photo: @WCF / Richard Gray

The Senior Women took on Latvia in their last game of the competition.

Ireland lost their last game to Latvia

They finish 6th place in group B with 2 wins and 5 losses.

Photo: @WCF / Richard Gray

The Mixed Doubles duo played Brazil in their last round robin game of the competition. This was one of their best performances of the competition so far and a very closely fought game.

They finished in 8th place in group E with no wins.

Day 5 in Östersund

The Irish teams in Östersund at the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles day 5 of the round robin games.

The Senior Women had a tough game against the Finnish team.

Tomorrow they have another early start, playing their final round robin game against Latvia at 08:00.

The Senior men played in a crucial game against USA. Bill Gray commented “Massive result from the competition perspective. Still haven’t played our best but one more win tomorrow morning should see us into the playoffs. Great support from our fellow Irish Athletes!”

They are currently third in group C – all to play for as they play their final round robin game against Russia at 08:00 tomorrow with a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

Seniors support from the Mixed Doubles team – John Furey and Eoin McCrossan Photo: @WCF / Tom Rowland

The Mixed Double duo played Austria. Tomorrow they meet Brazil at 17:45 in their final round robin match.

Day 5 in Ostersund – women’s view

Ireland 2 Finland 9

Ireland and Finland ladies teams after their game this morning

Another defeat here in Ostersund this morning against a very accomplished Finnish team. The Irish once more won the draw shot challenge, thanks to Christina and Clare, but, apart from a good second end were out-curled by the opposition. Two of them live on a small island called Aland, half way between Finland and Sweden, where there is a curling rink! One more game to go against Latvia tomorrow.

After the curling and before supporting the men in their crucial game against the USA, the women walked to the nearby ICA Supermarket! There we found a cafe with coffee and cakes at reasonable prices!

The name tickled us so much we had to get our coach Gerry to take a photo of us outside.

Day 4 in Östersund

The Irish teams in Östersund at the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles day 4 of the round robin games.

The Senior Women had a tough game against the undefeated Scottish group leaders in the first session of day 4. The team concluded “We were outplayed by a very classy Scottish team.” Tomorrow they have another early start, playing Finland at 08:00.

The Senior men played Croatia in the evening and got one step closer – only two more games to go. They commented “Not particularly impressive for the first four ends but ran out comfortable winners against Croatia“. They are currently fourth in their group – all to play for as they meet team USA at 12:00 tomorrow.

The Mixed Double duo had a two match day. They played Germany in the morning and Guyana in the late evening. Tomorrow they meet Austria at 17:45.

Photo: @WCF / Richard Gray

Photo: @WCF / Richard Gray

Day 4 in Ostersund – Women’s viewpoint

Ireland 1 Scotland 11

The Irish and Scottish ladies

After winning the DSC and taking a one in the first end, the Irish ladies were blown away by a very classy Scottish ladies team who took a game-changing  four in the second end, when a Irish tap up to lie two drew too far, opening up Ireland’s shot in the four foot for the Scots to hit out.

The Irish plugged on trying to draw behind cover, but the Scottish women snuffed out every opportunity with accurate hits and after the obligatory six ends were over the Irish conceded the game.

Two early morning games now for the Irish at 8am tomorrow against Finland that the same time on Thursday against Latvia.

Day 3 in Östersund

No wins for the Irish teams in Östersund at the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles day 3 of the round robin games.

The Senior men played Norway in the afternoon and after a close match Norway managed to steal one in the last two ends to take the match.

Bill Gray commented “Always singled out as a tough assignment and so it proved although we were in control for large parts of the game. Losing a steal of 1 in the 7th when we were shaping up for at least a two was a bad break but lying 1 with hammer in the last when the Norwegian skip played a tremendous draw with his last to lie shot. JJ’s run back for the game stayed high and we gave up 1 and the game. Three to go and all must win games if we are to reach Goal 1 – the qualification stage. Thanks to all the supporters- esp Scots who added to the noise level” .Tomorrow Ireland play Croatia at 20:00.

The Senior Womens team played Switzerland.See their overview here. Tomorrow they play Scotland at 08:00.

The Mixed Double duo had another difficult match against a top Korean team. Team member, Eoin McCrossan commented “In today’s game against the Korea, the Irish MD team completed their tough start which saw them play 3 of the world’s top teams (Canada and Czech Republic). A solid DSC saw Ireland win the hammer and showed early promise with untaken opportunities the hallmark of the first half. A poor fifth end saw the game slip away and the team made sure they bowed out on a score in the sixth. Thoughts now to turn to two-game Tuesday where Germany and Guyana lie in wait.

They play Germany at 11:15am and Guyana at 9pm tomorrow.

Day 3 in Ostersund – women’s view

Ireland 7 Switzerland 12

Louise on the ice against Switzerland this afternoon @ WCF / Tom Rowland

The Swiss and Irish women

Despite the obvious blot on the copybook – losing a five in the seventh end – the Irish women played their best game of curling so far against Switzerland here in Ostersund at the World Seniors.

The front end of Clare and Christina locked onto the speed of the ice, and skip Marie brought a round of applause and shouts of “great shot” in the second end with a superb draw to the bite the button out-counting the guarded Swiss shot by a couple of inches.

The Swiss were not having their best game it must be said, but the Irish outplayed them for much of the contest, and when their skip came up short with her last stone against three in the sixth end, Marie coolly drew to the four foot to tie the game up at five all. But trying the keep things clear in the seventh undid the team with crucial missed take outs leaving Switzerland lying four. Marie trying to get a wick of a stone in behind cover but when it over-curled and sailed through the Swiss took a five.

Irish ladies skip Marie O’Kane at the World Senior Curling Championships 2018, Oestersund, Sweden – WCF / Tom Rowland

The Irish played on in the eighth until they were run out of stones.

 

Day 2 in Östersund

Busy Irish teams in Östersund at the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles day 2 of the round robin games.

The Senior Women win two games in one day (read all about it here) .Tomorrow they play Switzerland at 4pm.


The Senior men were also successful against  Latvia with Bill Gray commenting “Usual game vs Latvia!. Right down to the wire. Glad to come out on top thanks to a belter from the big man, Johnjo, with his first in the last end to set up the 2 for the win.” They play Norway at 8pm tomorrow.

“The Big Man” @ WCF / Tom Rowland

The Mixed Double duo had another difficult match against the top Czech Republic team. They play another top team, Korea, at 8am tomorrow.