Squad system made the difference

JohnJoNewly crowned Irish senior champion skip Johnjo Kenny talks to Louise Kerr about what this win means to him and his team, what made the difference at the weekend and what are his plans for the future:

LK – A successful weekend by the narrowest of margins, can you summarise how you saw the games and the weekend?
JJK -We expected it to be a tough weekend and were not disappointed. The first game was really over after 2 ends when we went 6 up but that possibly worked well for Pete’s team as they then had 5 ends of good stress free practice. Game 2, we felt in control and were 3 up but David Whyte had a horrendous pick in end 6 which opened the door for them and they jumped through it to get a 3 back and then my last stone in 7 picks to gift them a two…that was a sore one!  In game 3 they just outplayed us throughout and that left us drowning our sorrows in the last chance saloon. An early team meeting on Sunday and a change of strategy and tactics gave us good focus and despite living dangerously with this aggressive game we did enough to get through the last 2 games…just!  Fair play to Pete, Peter, David and Tom though, they played a really strong weekend. Ultimately with 5 games of such intensity in a relatively short period, especially in seniors, our ability to rotate our front end with the 5 man squad was a big factor, possibly the determining one.
LK – How did the squad format work for you?
JJK – I think we are all comfortable with it. We all get on well together, even in defeat, and we recognize that the recruitment of Neil (Fyfe) strengthens our squad. David Hume wasn’t called into action this weekend but
took a full part in everything, including keeping the rest of us organised, booking meal times and organising the game drinks and nutrition (bananas and jelly beans!). That really typifies the spirit in the squad.
LK – How does it feel to win your first Irish seniors title?
JJK – It’s great. It is a bit strange to have been World Champions before winning our own Championship but while nothing will ever beat that afternoon in Copenhagen, this came mighty close. Before stepping onto the ice for the final game I reminded the guys how lucky we all are to be participating in a national championship and we should really enjoy these moments. You never know if you will experience it again. Sometimes you just lose sight of the bigger picture and a big part of our team has always been trying to enjoy the moment. I think we managed that for the 5th game and it paid decent dividends.
LK – And preparation between now and April?
JJK – Nothing planned, I think we need to savour this and maybe have a wee celebration event when my alcohol fast is over. Eventually there will be practice..lots of it!!

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