A new mens’ seniors team, formed out of the embers of Peter Wilson’s senior champs from 2013, took to the ice for the first time last weekend.
Robin Gray, having now turned 50, takes over as skip with Peter playing third stones, PJ Wilson goes to second and coming in at lead is Tony Tierney.
Tony, who was previously with the team that unforgettably won senior gold in 2012, was looking for a new challenge this season and Team Gray were more that happy to welcome him into the fold.
The four of them got the stiffness out of their legs with an intensive two days of on ice action at Stranraer Ice Rink, including a high-quality bounce game against a Stranraer select skipped by Peter’s brother Philip.
The team will now have their first competitive test playing in the European Senior Invitation at Greenacres in early November. This will be part of their preparation for the Irish Senior Championships at Dumfries Ice Bowl, 9/10/11 January 2015.
The championships looks like being a three-way tussle between the new team, the current champions, skipped by Johnjo Kenny, and another team of challengers, rumoured to be skipped by David Smith.
After the Stranraer weekend, Robin Gray said: “A very enjoyable weekend that mixed some old and new practice drills with a competitive game against some old friends! Incidentally, that game included one of the best curling shots I have ever seen from Philip Wilson when he took out four well spread stones and lay, in a last gasp effort to save the fifth end. The new stones ensured we were looking at a good swing on the ice and Stranraer was playing better than I can ever remember. Having been out of mens competitive curling for three years now, I am really looking forward to the European Seniors at Greenacres and thank the organisers for allowing us to be there. Big thanks to Gail Munro at NWC for her hospitality and support during our time here.”
Irish curling has a great friend in sports journalist Michael O’Neill.
He has written the following report about our Irish teams competing in the recent Euro C Division for the website ‘Sports News Ireland’ although the piece has been attributed to a Sean Flynn, whom he has never heard of!
Anyway, have a read here: http://sportsnewsireland.com/other_sports/curling-not-hurling-bronze-for-ireland/
In case you haven’t been following the two teams at the European C league in Holland:
The men ranked top of the Round Robin and played Belgium in the Gold Medal game. The Belgians managed to reverse the result from the Round robin and finished Gold Medalists.
This put our boys into the Silver/Bronze medal game against Israel today. The Israelis went into an early 4-0 lead and although the guys fought hard, they couldn’t overcome the deficit and went down to Bronze medal position. While they must be congratulated on winning the Bronze, the ultimate goal was to qualify for the European Championships B league and they will be hugely disappointed not to have done that as there were only two places available which went to Belgium and Israel.
They must be congratulated though on their performance all week, only to come up short of their goal.
Photo by Willy Moerland
The ladies team playing together for the first time, had a difficult start but once they got into their stride, they turned in some gutsy performances particularly giving Spain (one of the finalists) a hell of a fright and losing agonisingly to Slovenia to measures in the 10th and extra ends. They beat Romania in their last game which ended their campaign with a win.
They must be commended for performing as they did given their huge inexperience at this level (Hazel excepted) and lack of familiarity with one another.
The ICA would like to thank both teams for their performances this week and their commitment to promoting Irish Curling on the international stage.
The Irish men’s team (Alan Mitchell, John Furey, James Russell, Arran Cameron, Craig Whyte and coach Martin Sutherland) have finished the round robin stage of European Curling Championship C-Group in 1st place out of 10 teams with 7 wins and only 2 losses. An impressive feat.
They will play on the 1 v 2 final tonight (10th October) at 8pm EST.
You can follow their progress via the Live Scores at www.curling2014.nl
Thanks for everyone’s support and good wishes.
Three of the Irish Ladies team (Margarita Sweeney-Baird, Clare McCormick and Ailsa Anderson) prepared for the 2014 European Curling Championship C-Group with a match against Livingston curling club at Murrayfield on Sunday 28th September. Their coach John Jo Kenny made up the team in the absense of the other members. The winners were the Irish and thanks go to Livingston Curling Club giving us a game.
Ireland’s mens team rounded off day 1 in the European C Group with their second win of the day beating a useful Serbian team 9-7. The game started well for the Irish taking a steal of two in the first end and although the Serbian team came back immediately with a two in the next end, the game never felt particularly problematic for the Irish team.
A four for the Irish in the fifth and a subsequent 8-4 lead meant the game was Ireland’s to lose in the second half and although the Serbian team never gave up they also never looked like recovering the deficit.
All in all a useful 9-7 result against the team who put the Irish out of the competition last year.
Day two’s opponents for Ireland in the 2014 European C group were WCF newcomers Israel. In what turned out to be a tight and highly entertaining encounter, both teams pulled out their A-game and put on a display of quality curling, punctuated with excellent shots.
It was obvious from the start that both teams were looking to keep it clean and the two initial ends were blanked. This set the general pattern for the game where very few shots were in play and the team without the hammer trying to force the single.
It was controlled display by both teams until the ninth end. The Israelis were looking to steal a single, the Irish to blank. In the end the Israeli’s lost sight of the fact that forcing a single would have been a good outcome and they left the Irish with an easy two to take a single point lead into the final end.
The final end was dominated by the Irish who early on took control of the four foot and challenged the Israelis to better it. By the time the final shots were played the Irish were happy to leave the one foot draw open to the Israelis in the knowledge that they would have hammer in the extra end. However, the Israelis were unable to take advantage of Ireland’s largesse, they missed the draw to the hidden one foot and left Ireland 6-4 winners.
Four rinks took part in the ICA Opening Bonspiel at Hamilton Ice Rink on Sunday.
After two hours of very competitive curling on excellent, keen ice the winners were the rink of Johnjo Kenny, Louise Kerr, Steve Callan and Anne Wilson.
This was a momentous moment for the winning skip at it was his first ever ICA bonspiel win!
After the game, President PJ Wilson presented the successful foursome with bottles of wine.
The final scores were:
Bill Gray 6 PJ Wilson 5
Johnjo Kenny 8 John Graham 4
Womens Game 1
Ireland 1 Slovakia 10
Photo by Patrick Dolkens
A disappointing start to the 2014 European C Group for the Irish Ladies team which featured three debutants in a team playing together for the first time.
Slovakia pulled off a superb draw shot to secure the hammer in the first end. The first two ends cost the ladies dearly losing two threes to put them 6-0 down. A tap-up with the last stone however allowed the Irish ladies to take a one in the third end. Now settling into the game the ladies pulled off some good shots in the fifth with the chance of a three at one point however the last shot was thrown wide and a one was handed to the opposition ahead of the break.
The team pulled together in the sixth but by now the game was already beyond the ladies and the decision was taken to shake hands after the sixth.
Having learnt a lot from the first game the ladies now move forward to play Croatia at 12pm today.
The Irish Mens’ team got off to a wining start in the 2014 European C Group with a win against Belarus. The match started well with an excellent two at the first but the stoic Belarus team came back well with an even better three at the third having blanked the second.
At this stage the game could have gone in either direction but fortunately for the Irish, a great last stone meant that Ireland fought back to regain the lead. In the fifth end, Ireland set up the end well to force the Belarus skip to draw against a 4 which was played heavy, giving Ireland a 9-3 lead going into the halftime break.
Thinking they had the game in the bag, the team strived to keep the game clean but came undone in the 6th end when a good series of play by Belarus allowed 4 stones to build up in the head and Ireland were only able to remove one with their last stone.
In the eighth end, Belarus continued their fight back, building up a strong end, forcing Ireland’s third to play the shot of the match – a fifteen foot run back double to remove two Belarus stones and sit three. Ireland went on to take three in the end and forcing a one in the next end secured the first win.
to our two Irish teams at the
European Curling Championship C-Group
in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
from all the ICA members