Fail to prepare…..prepare to fail

Ireland Men - seniors 2014 -1The Irish mens’ senior squad and the Irish mixed doubles pair were all at Dumfries Ice Bowl at the weekend for some practice ahead of the world seniors and mixed doubles championships.

They were lucky that teams from other nations were also at the Ice Bowl for the same purpose and bounce games against the Scotland ladies seniors team and the Welsh mens seniors team gave Johnjo, Bill, David, Tony and Neil the chance to sharpen their competitive teeth ahead of the white-hot heat of the world championships.

Jojnjo said: “We had an excellent two days of practice not only playing lots of stones and playing out a variety of scenarios against other teams and ourselves but also were able to refine pre-game routines and some of the other bits and pieces that can be very important during the championship week. It was also good to be in Dumfries, and while we didn’t learn anything about the ice conditions (the stones are being refurbished this week and the ice was being melted down a bit today) it was handy, and of course very valuable, to discover the best dining establishments and purveyors of hard alcohol for our support crew. It was a difficult task but someone had to do it! Seriously it was a worthwhile weekend and I certainly appreciate the commitment of all the guys to travel down to Dumfries for the complete weekend given we are all going to be away from home and work for another 10 days or so in just a weeks time.”

The mixed team of John and Louise also played two games against the Wales mixed doubles pairing of Adrian Meikle and Dawn Watson.

Adrian and Dawn were very glad of some opposition as they hadn’t played a competitive mixed doubles game until Saturday morning! They didn’t have a challenge for the Welsh berth at the championships so were taking the ‘no stone left unturned’ preparation format to the extreme.From a personal point of view we felt the better of the practice games but I was knackered after playing 16 ends as John is now insisting I get up and sweep my own stones! At one end he enquired, with a hint of menace in his voice: “So, Louise…..are you GOING to sweep your stones?”

WSCC Team Profile – Bill Gray

BillGrayProfilePicName – Bill Gray
Age – 54
Occupation – Farm Manager
Three things you really like? Toast and Marmalade, all things Irish, Lazy Sundays.
Three things that really annoy you? Disobedient dogs (mine and often-that’s two), slow golfers.
Three things from your ‘bucket list’?
  • Own a sports car (not just a GTi, Fyfe!),
  • Visit Australia and New Zealand,
  • Curl in Canada.
What was the last film you saw?  Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
And the last book you read? The China Thrillers by Peter Kay
Give us a playlist of five of your favourite songs (and artists)?
And one song you never want to hear again? The Birdie Song (tweet, tweet)
What would be your specialist subject on Masternind? Irish Curling 1993-present
What’s your favourite meal? Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Washed down by? Guinness again! or possibly a good Merlot!!
Tell us something about yourself that will surprise people? I was on a TV show when I was 5.
You can save one prized possession. What is it? My Senior Gold Medal
What keeps you awake at night? Polishing my Senior Gold Medal
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? On the rugby pitch: “if it moves, kick it; if it doesn’t move, kick it till it does!”

WSCC 2014 Team Profile – Tony Tierney

Tony Tierney-ProfileName – Tony Tierney
Age – 64
Occupation – Financial Adviser

Three things you really like? Old Classic Films, Living in the past…’s cheaper! Travelling and Holidays

Three things that really annoy you? Bad Manners, Bad Grammar and getting ripped-off

Three things from your ‘bucket list’? Visit more of America especially re-visiting New York, Cruise around New Zealand and Retire

What was the last film you saw? Appaloosa

And the last book you read? Da Vinci Code

Give us a playlist of five of your favourite songs (and artists) Gary Moore….Still Got The Blues, Dire Straits…..Money for Nothing…..David Gray…..White Ladder, Pink Floyd……Comfortably Numb and Gary Moore…..Parisian Walkways(the live version)….to be played at my funeral!

And one song you never want to hear again? The Birdy Song

What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind? Steve McQueen

What’s your favourite meal? Penne Arabriata

Washed down by? Chateauneuf Du Pape

Tell us something about yourself that will surprise people? I was the first Queens Scout in our Troop in Belfast

You can save one prized possession. What is it? Charlotte

What keeps you awake at night? Eating too late

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Read and apply everything in the poem IF, by Rudyard Kipling …..and I have tried to!

“No stone left unturned” for MD twosome

WMDCC-Ireland-PhotoIn the tradition of many Irish teams over the years (but not all) the mixed doubles pairing of John Furey and Louise Kerr have gone down the “no stone left unturned” route as they prepare for the World Championships at Dumfries, April 23-30.
The twosome played their first mixed doubles game since wining the Irish playdowns at the beginning of December when taking on PJ and  Anne Wilson in a practice game at Stranraer Ice Rink on Sunday.
And…. they got on really well it has to be said. Took shedloads of shots off the bewildered Wilsons.  Sitting afterwards having a drink,  feeling very pleased with themselves and filled with confidence for the challenge ahead, they read the rules.
Turned out they had played the game the wrong way. Having dumped the ‘lose and choose’ format and played the ‘Irish’ version where, if you win the end you both keep last stone in the next end AND get to choose where your placed stone goes. A win-win format!

NB – players must read the rules before playing in future.

For the few out there who don’t know the story behind the “no stone left unturned” comment, we have to go back to Moscow and the Europeans in 2011.
Two of the ladies team (Jane Paterson and Hazel Gormley-Leahy) had never clapped eyes on each other before arriving in Russia. This prompted Johnjo’s classic line:
“The Irish ladies’ curling team on the eve of a major championships……
Jane meet Hazel…….. Hazel meet Jane.
No stone left unturned.”

Dalrymple Cup, Stranraer, 2014

Dalrymple Cup 2There was a European Mixed / Four Nations flavour to the 3rd/4th play-off at the Dalrymple Cup Final Weekend at Stranraer Ice Rink last Sunday afternoon.
Ireland’s Johnjo Kenny, Tony Tierney, Charlotte Tierney and Gillan Russell took on the Welsh team of Adrian Meikle, James Plougher, Dawn Watson and Laura Beever.
Dalrymple Cup 3rdThe Irish foursome always had the upper hand on their opposition and won the eight-end game game 8-4.
At the final dinner the team were presented with a voucher each for a 5-day holiday at a McMillan Hotel and, later in the evening, TT rocked Stranraer with his stand-up routine. WE may have heard all the jokes before, but who else can make you laugh just as hard the seventh time you hear them as the first time!
Ireland’s other representatives at the final weekend were PJ Wilson, Peter Wilson, Louise Kerr, Anne Wilson, Fiona Turnbull and Tom Roche. The first four played together, Fiona played with Michael Sutherland and Tom with Alison Petrie. All had mixed success but enjoyed the socialising, the food and the drink.
First prize went to Neil Kennedy’s rink from Ayr, who beat the former two-time winners, Robert Anderson’s team, also from Ayr, 11-3 in the final.

Ardrossan Castle Friendly 2014

ArdrossanFriendly2014This friendly annual event was revived by the ICA in 1994 but was first played in 1861. Originally we hoped to play it alternating between Irish and Scottish ice rinks, however we cannot provide ice time in Ireland at the moment.

The Trophy is the Belfast Medal hanging in a wooden curling stone. The medal was originally played for between Belfast Union and RCCC.

The venue this year was Greenacres Ice Rink, Scotland, on Tuesday 1st April 2014, followed by tea, coffee and sandwiches.

The competition is two teams from each club who play a single 8 end game each and the aggregate score across the two rinks determines the winner. This year the trophy was retained by Ardrossan with an aggregate score of 19 stones to 9.

Thanks to the ICA’s two teams of

John Furey, Louise Kerr, Arran Cameron,  Yvonne Chalmers
PJ Wilson, Alan Mitchell, Clare McCormick and Margarita Sweeny-Baird

Breaking news

Following months of rumours and speculation the following statement was released this morning on behalf of the English, Welsh and Irish Curling Associations.
Following a weekend of meetings the Curling Associations of England, Wales and Ireland have announced that they are to merge. The strategic goal of the new alliance will be “To deliver a World Class athlete and development programme for some 10-12 curlers”. The full details will be unveiled over the course of the next month as the logistical issues of merging the 3 nations are fully resolved. Team selection will, for the initial 3 years, involve one member of each nation in each team with the 4th player and any alternate players being selected on an agreed rotational basis. The changes will be in place in time for next season as the new Olympic cycle begins. The new body will be known as the Curling Association of Great Britain and Ireland and will be funded by Sport England, Sport Wales and the Irish Sports Council in association with the British Olympic Council. Athlete recruitment will begin immediately and no previous curling experience will be necessary. A provisional budget of £20 million for the Podium Athlete Programme has been approved for the 3 year period to 2018 with an additional £22 million invested in coaching and administrative positions. The Athletes will be based in Canada for the duration. Speaking shortly after the North West Castle Summit the Chief Executive of the new association, Fi Pollora (a former Italian show jumping internationalist) said “This is an exciting time. The uncertainty over the Independence issue in Scotland has forced our hand to an extent, and we certainly could not afford to let the curling programme drift. We will be actively cross recruiting athletes from a variety of other sports over the next few months and thereafter we will ensure they get as much, or as little, curling as they need in order to achieve our stated curling goals and achievements over the next Olympic cycle. We already have a team of World Level coaches who have identified the key physical attributes required for the athlete programme and, in a world first, the coaching staff will include a world leading geneticist who has carried out detailed genetic sampling on podium athletes across a number of disciplines including curling. Our mission statement will ensure that we have podium capable teams in the appropriate time frame.  We already have agreement from the World Curling Association that we will compete from here forward in European and World Events as ‘Great Britain and Ireland’ and that there will be 11 teams and 13 teams respectively in the next European Curling Championships and World Curling Championships. In the event that Scotland does remain in the UK we have agreed that there will be an Olympic Play-Off between the two entities in 2017 if Scotland continues to have international level teams”.