Euro C Division 2014 – Ireland’s teams

The Irish Curling Association is delighted to announce that they will be entering both a ladies and mens team in the forthcoming European Curling Championship C-Group which kicks off in the Silverdome ice rink at Zoetermeer in the Netherlands on the 6th October this year.

The Irish Mens team are:
Alan Mitchell, John Furey, James Russell, Craig Whyte & Arran Cameron.

The Irish Womens team are:
Clare McCormick, Margarita Sweeney-Baird, Ailsa Anderson, Katie Kerr and  Hazel Gormley-Leahy.

The top two mens and womens teams in the C-Group will qualify for Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2014 B-Group event which will take place in Monthey alongside the A-Group event in Champéry, Switzerland from 22-29 November 2014.

For more information about this event and others, visit

Euro C Division 2014

The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced that Zoetermeer in the Netherlands will host the European Curling Championships C-Group between 6-11 October 2014.

The event will be held in the Silverdome, a multi-purpose ice rink and events venue in Zoetermeer, near Rotterdam.

The European Curling Championships C-Group is an open entry competition for all World Curling Federation European zone Member Associations that have not already qualified teams for Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2014 A or B Groups. Deadline for entry to the event is 31 May 2014.

Both a men’s and women’s competition will take place and the top two teams in each competition will qualify for Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2014 B-Group event which will take place in Monthey alongside the A-Group event in Champéry, Switzerland from 22-29 November 2014.

For more information about this event and others, visit

Irish Mixed Doubles World Championship Summary

World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2014, Dumfries, ScotlandLouise: Now that the dust has settled I must firstly apologise to all blog readers for the lack of input during the worlds in Dumfries. Firstly, my playing partner banned me from doing any blogs about the men’s games in the hope I would concentrate on the mixed doubles. However, time just seemed to run away from us every day. Mind you, the majority of the people who read the blog were there anyway! so they know what happened.

World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2014, Dumfries, ScotlandJohn: In all fairness, the mens senior team consisted of 5 + coach. I was thinking that they had more than enough people to blog for themselves.

Lousie: On the ice, the mixed doubles was the usual mix of elation, devastation, drama, trauma, thrills and spills. We went into the competition very short of MD practice and that combined with taking time to adapt to the ice conditions resulted in a disappointing performance overall.

World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2014, Dumfries, ScotlandJohn: I’m trying to recall the trauma episode but I don’t think I actually hit Louise at any point in time. With a little distance I can now say that we were slow to adapt to the ice conditions but for the most part we were competitive.

Taking the games one by one:

Thursday 24th April 2014 3:45pm: CHINA


Louise: We were more than holding our own until one bad end when we lost a four.

WMDCC2014IrlVChnJohn: I think we had them really worried until the four, I’ve never seen such obvious relief from an opposition team until that happened.





Friday 25th April 2014 2:30pm: FRANCE


Louise: we played out of our skins in the last four ends especially and were so close to the winning shot at the extra end.


John: I though I’d nailed the final draw…to pull an inch too far at the end was sickening.

Sat 26th April 2014 8am: GERMANY

WMDCC2014Game3ScoreWMDCC2014VsGermanyLousie: Neither John nor I can remember playing any good stones in this one but the Germans were worse!

John: Easily our worse performance of the competition. I think we encouraged the Germans though as I believe they went on to win their next match.




Sat 26th April 2014 5:45pm: NORWAY


Lousie: They were a class act and we tipped them to get a medal. Afterwards they told us that the legendary Norwegian coach Ole Ingvaldsen came out of retirement to help them as they were arguing so much with each other.

John: Far and away the best team in our group. And they ended up with nothing…like us.

Sunday 27th April 2014 2:30pm: USA

WMDCC2014Game5ScoreLousie: Grannied in this one. I struggled to get the weight with my first stone and we kept losing ones. There is a difference playing on competition ice to ice rink ice. As I said at one point, it’s like curling on polished velvet. The stones sound different and react differently on hits. John was fighting hard looking for us to score a big end – rightly so – but I just would have been happy just to get on the scoreboard!

Our coach, PJ Wilson, was getting to the end of his tether by this time. Christine Cannon and Isobel Hannen from the Scottish ladies team came through from the seniors hall to support us and sat beside Pete on the bench. Looking at the distressed coach with his head in his hands, Issy chided: “Peter! Come on! Positive body language at all times!”

John: It’s possible to win a game in MD by only winning a couple of ends, but the USA were basically out drawing us every time.

Sun 27th April 2014 9pm: SPAIN

WMDCC2014Game6ScoreLouise: We went down 10-5 to the eventual bronze medallists after playing a much better game. But we really pi**ed them off by making them run us out of stones in the last end. They just could not get rid of the one they needed for the win….they were bemused, we were amused. But as JF says “you play the game to the rules of the governing body.”

John: By now we were starting to understand that it really was two and a half feet for a hit and we managed some nice run-backs in this game which we hadn’t managed to do all tournament. In the final end the Spanish kept looking at us as if to say why haven’t you conceded. I was more like why can’t you hit an easy double. And the stones needed to be returned to the home end anyway.

Mon 28th April 2014 5:45pm: NEW ZEALAND

WMDCC2014Game7ScoreLouise: That was a great game. Kenny Thomson and Waverley Taylor were just two of the nicest people we met. Kenny, as many will know, is originally from Uplawmoor. In fact, there were more people playing with Uplawmoor roots than the entire Chinese delegation. The Kiwis’ gave us a pounding for the first few ends but all of a sudden we got our shooting boots on and a series of good hits, especially John’s last double left us lying five! We stole at the next end, then lost a one but got a two at the 7th. We played a good last end and left Waverely with a hit for the one which she made and it was another extra end. They got the important shot on top of our stone on the button. Eventually we ran out of stones trying to dislodge it but we went down with Irish pride intact in that game.

John: Easily our best game of the competition. We took our tentative hitting game from the Spanish match and went hell for leather. The five was probably the high point of our tournament as we both made some great shots to make it happen. Lousie has forgotten that she basically had a hit for three that would have almost sealed the match for us but she only got the double. I also had a shot for the game, a tricky raise on an outlying rock but missed. So we had our chances. If we had played like this in the rest of the tournament the end result would have been far different.

Is it me to play or you?

Is it me to play or you?

Louise: Did you realise our combined ages totalled 100 while the Scottish pair’s combined ages is something like 38?

Louise & John: Many thanks to everyone who send cards and texts with good wishes and words of encouragement. They are very much appreciated.

Irish Senior World Championship Summary

TW3 or That Was The Week That Was

I am not quite old enough to remember the legendary TV programme of the above title but looking back now from the safe distance of several days I can reflect that our week in Dumfries was really quite a week. A week full of memories and a week of many highs and just a few lows.

WSCC2014SupportersThe biggest “high” of the week was unquestionably the support of “The Irish Fans” or as Paul Cromey christened them “The Irish Kop”. The atmosphere and level of goodwill certainly carried us through Saturday’s tense extra end win against Switzerland but unfortunately despite an outstanding level of support on Tuesday night we fell just short against the USA. To anyone that I or the rest of the team has not thanked for their support, can I take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of us all. You were all marvellous and much, much appreciated.

The facility at Dumfries, while not the biggest, was in my opinion excellent. Friendly and efficient volunteers and very good ice (admittedly 6 ½ foot swings are not to everyone’s taste) made the week a pleasurable one and ,of course, being on our own “doorstep” the usual bugbear of these competitions i.e. transport, was not a factor (for us) on this occasion.

WSCC2014IrlVAutAs to the curling itself, we started of slowly against a very solid Swedish outfit. After the game we calculated that 2 of their team had 100% games and the other 2 over 90%. I didn’t think we played horrendously but there is no doubt they were far more ‘match sharp’ than we were, possibly the benefit of emerging from a 35 team play-down in order to qualify! I know the Swedish team were very disappointed with their silver medals and especially their performance in the final, they certainly felt that they were good enough for the Gold and I certainly did think that too. However I am sure as the weeks go by they will enjoy their medals. In the other round robin games we really picked up our game and unlike our “extra end” laden adventure in Copenhagen 2 years ago we scarcely got past the 6th end in any game, except the aforementioned Swiss clash. Maybe the lack of close games cost us? Our quarter final was one of “those games” that every sports team has now and again. We never managed to stamp our authority on the game and while we had chances we just never quite got our stones in the right place. I could go on, but suffice to say some days the Curling Gods are on your side and on other days you wonder what heinous crime you have committed to offend them. Tuesday night was one such occasion.

Worlds2014banquet 1All too soon it was the closing banquet, a 2 hour drive in the early hours of the morning and back to the real world on Thursday morning.

Looking back, finishing 5th equal in the World senior rankings (or 6th according the WCF official rankings) was not a bad achievement and something our team should be proud of. The standard of senior curling really is at an all time high and as the Canadian Skip opined in his acceptance speech Senior curling really is a growth area and quite possibly, strange as it seems, the future of curling. As curling entries decline in most age categories it is the senior scene which is thriving and the senior championships in most countries now attract more entries than all other competitions. It would be nice if the WCF did put a wee bit more effort into streaming some senior games but that is for others to debate. Hopefully the WCF will also take on board that senior curling teams are for the most part self-financed especially those from the smaller nations (like us) and they will endeavour to make forthcoming championships in venues reasonably accessible for the majority of teams.

Worlds2014banquet 6In the meantime I will sign off by thanking my team mates (Bill, Tony, Neil and the two Davids) and also Gordon McIntyre for all his efforts. As always it was an unforgettable journey and a pleasure to be with you all on and off the ice.

Ireland Men - seniors 2014 -1

WMDCC 2014 – Game 2

WMDCC2014Game2ScoreOhm that was soooo close. A topsy-turvy game against France went to an extra end after the the teams were tied at eight all after eight ends. The Irish team tried to get a shot buried behind cover put time and time again it was a foot heavy. But the French left the door open for us and John’s last stone draw got a feather off a front stone to roll onto the top of the French shot, then agonisingly just  roll off it again to leave the French with the game.

We played well especially in the second half after a team talk from coach PJ Wilson. Keeping me on my in turn for the first stone was the key as I can bury stones on that side.

The ice was noticeably heavier on one side and remembering, or forgetting, to put a bit more running on the stones down that side got us into bother when losing the second three.

We are both in good fettle for the games ahead. Christine has travelled down to join john’s ever growing supporters club – his sister and her family have been cheering us on and were left with shredded nerves at the end of that one.

Two games tomorrow to look forward too – gosh this is fun!

WMDCC 2014 – Game 1

Ireland 4 China 9WMDCC2014Game1Score

It was all going so well in our first mixed doubles game at the world championships until the seventh end where we made a compete Horlicks.

WMDCC2014IrlVChnAfter losing a one at the first John Furey had two superb shots in the second, getting shots right behind guards and once we were on the board we settled down. The ice was much quicker than at yesterday morning’s practice when a draw was 2.60!

There was a loss of two in the third and my last draw in the forth stopped an inch short, but we got a two in the fifth, should have been a three but I was woefully short with my last draw. 

We played a good end in the sixth to force a one but ran into all sorts of problems at the next end when my first stone was too heavy and, as you cant hit until the playing of the fourth stone their shot shone that I knocked out was replaced. That put us on the back foot and with the Chinese lying three when I went to play my last stone, I was left trying to hit  a quarter stone of the second shot stone on to the shot stone and spin them both out to just lose a one. It drew too much and raised their shot onto our stone on the back four foot to lose a four. Damn.

Ah well, as Scarlett said to Rhett, “tomorrow is another day”. Next up – the French.

WSCC 2014 – Game 1

Game 1 v SwedenWSCC2014Game1Scores

After 10 successive wins in their previous world championship the team had to suffer their first loss sometime.

This morning they managed that in style! A slow start saw the team 3 down after 2 ends and the only retaliation was a single at the 3rd. Chasing the game a 5 was then lost. The next 2 ends were played out with Ireland scoring singles in both before offering handshakes to the impressive Swedes,who were bronze medallists in 2012 in Tårnby.

Game 2 is tonight v Netherlands and a positive reaction is required to get the show started.

WMDCC 2014 Team Profile – John Furey


My (much) younger self – with hair !!

Name - John Furey
Age - 46
Occupation - Software Stuff

Earlier curling related memory - I remember a skip calling an impossible draw for me to perform against six or so stones in the house, through a couple of staggered single stone width ports. I made it and just remember everyone been dumb-founded, including the skip who called the original shot. It was possibly the first time i thought, hey this sport’s not bad.

Favourite curling destination and why - Karlstad, a nice wooden cottage in the woods and a foot of snow outside. Absolutely lovely.

How do you relax away from work (and curling) - Playing violin.

The person you most admire, alive or dead, and why - I was lucky enough to meet with tech uber guru Donald Norman back in the 90s. One of the things he said at the time was that mobile computing was the next big thing. I’ve been doing mobile computing ever since.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity - I’m turning into a twitcher as a by-product of my youngest son – Ari. I can now distinguish between Collared Doves and Chaffinches.


What’s your guiltiest pleasure - Occasional raids on the kid’s sweetie box. Generally happens after nine at night.


What is your favourite word - In terms of usage, the definite article.


What’s your biggest fear  - I don’t do heights.


Last gig you went to - Does Nicola Benedetti do gigs?


The film you can watch time and time again - Groundhog Day, there’s even some very satisfying self-referential integrity about watching it over and over again.


What are you best at - You’ll notice that my profile is last up. That’s because I’m super good at procrastination. However once I manage to start something I’m ok.


The sport you won’t watch - Ice Hockey. I can’t follow the puck. So all I see is human dodgems on ice.

And finally, what did you have for breakfast - Porridge (with cinnamon) and coffee.


Family Ties

An amazing story told by the Irish World Mixed Doubles representative – Louise Kerr.

Last year in Fredericton I asked Jenny Riordon of the Australian seniors team if I could swap tops with her at the end of the world seniors as my mother’s maiden name was Reardon (different spelling, same pronunciation).

On Monday there I was asked to go and play at Stranraer in a bounce game against the Australian ladies who were staying at the North West Castle and practising at the ice rink.

I knew Jenny would be there but she was stunned to see me walking in with her Australian curling top on.

Jenny’s husband Peter has done some research in his ancestors and discovered that he is descended from John James Riordan who was born in Cork in 1815, emigrating to Australia in 1839.

My mother was born in Bandon, Co Cork and I still have Reardon cousins living in Cork City.

The family reunion was worth a special photograph.

WMDCC 2014 Team Profile – Louise Kerr

Always the bridesmaid!

Always the bridesmaid!

Name -­ Louise Kerr
Age ­- 54
Occupation -­ Journalist

Earliest curling related memory ­-
Outdoors - During the Arctic winter of 1963, my parents took three-year-old me with them to Elrig Loch for an afternoon’s curling with Mochrum Curling Club. There were some older kids there ice skating, so a wooden box and a bit of rope were found from somewhere and Sandra Jesson spent the afternoon towing me round and round the loch. When the sun went down and everyone was packing up to go home they remembered me. My father tried to lift me out of the box but my backside was frozen to the bottom.
Indoors - Before Stranraer Ice Rink opened in 1970, going to the old Ayr Ice Rink when Mochrum were playing and spending the three-hour session skating on the little rink cordoned off at the end of the curling rink (it was an ice hockey stadium). I just loved the cold atmosphere, the feel of the ice under my feet and the unique sound of the stones rumbling down the sheet.

Favourite curling destination and why - Garmish-Partenkirchen. I just loved the place – especially after the snow came. It was magical. Curling in the old 1936 Olympic Stadium was a bit special too. German engineering at its best.

How do you relax away from work (and curling) - Hacking out on my loan horse Tara and being a world class couch potato.

The person you most admire, alive or dead, and why - Ernest Shackleton. If you know the story of Shackleton rescuing all his men from the Antarctic in 1916, you realise you would follow him anywhere and trust him with your life.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity - The First World War.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure - A silk pillowcase to sleep on – a la Nigella.

What is your favourite word - Has to be ‘allegedly’. It can keep reporters in a job.

What’s your biggest fear - Forgetting to write allegedly or falling off a very high building. All that time to think on the way down.

Last gig you went to - Donny and Marie Osmond in the SECC, February 2013.

The film you can watch time and time again - A Man For All Seasons. The battle of wills between Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More over the King’s order to his clergy to break with the Catholic Church . Paul Scofield won an Oscar for his performance as More and no wonder. “I am the King’s loyal servant but God’s first”, said More. Henry chopped his head off.

What are you best at - Two things. Baking a Christmas Cake and setting a fire.

The sport you won’t watch - Any motor sport.

And finally, what did you have for breakfast - Fresh orange juice, black filter coffee and a Star Bar.