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 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 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 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 two in Östersund – women win two in one day

With the Italian team

The Irish senior women had a busy day here in Östersund starting at 8am this morning against Italy, a game they won 7-6.

With the New Zealand team

Then it was back on the ice 12 hours later for their second game of the day against New Zealand. The Kiwi ladies managed to steal the shot over a succession of ends but thankfully the momentum swung back in Ireland’s favour with a four at the seventh end to level the scores at 5 all.

In the last end the Irish managed to get two draws into the four foot behind a wall of stones and the New Zealand skip couldn’t get near them. Ireland therefore took their second win of the day by a score of 7-5.

Seniors settle in

After a late-night arrival in Ostersund yesterday, the Irish men’s and women’s teams and the mixed doubles duo had time today to get their bearings here in the geographic centre of Sweden.

The ladies at the Ostersund arena

At the reception this evening

All three teams completed their practice sessions and attended the opening drinks reception in the Clarion Hotel.

We have got our ‘access all areas’ accreditation so the next challenge is getting the right bus to the arena for the right practice slot with the right coloured stones!

The supporters club arrived tonight in the shape of Jen’s mum and dad and Eoin’s dad.

The competition to be world champions begins tomorrow morning and we’re all thrilled to be here curling for Ireland.

World Mixed Doubles profile – Jen Ward

And now it’s Irish World Mixed Doubles team member, Jen’s, turn for some in-depth analysis:

Name – Jen Ward
Age – 31
Occupation – HR Officer
Three things you really like? – Holidays, cinema and going to gigs/music festivals.
Three things that really annoy you? – People who walk too slowly, bad manners and bad drivers.
Three things from your ‘bucket list’ – Drive the west coast of USA, see the northern lights, camp on Keel beach in Ireland.
What was the last film you saw? I, Tonya
Give us a playlist of five of your favourite songs (and artists)
(I’ve gone for some old school ones!)
* Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley ,
* Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears,
* We Close Our Eyes – Go West,
* Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard,
* Holiday – Madonna
And one song you never want to hear again?Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. Eoin has started singing it whenever I get into the hack to throw a strike – it gets more annoying every time!
What’s your favourite meal? Caesar salad and chips.
Washed down by? 4 bottles of Blue WKD (obviously!) and a G&T.
You can save one prized possession. What is it? My puppy, Maggie, and my photographs (I know that’s two things).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? There’s no meaning or point to life; you have to give it one. (My brother heard from two old guys in a pub one night and we thought it was quite good).

World Mixed Doubles profile – Eoin McCrossan

Ireland will be represented at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships in ÖstersundSweden, April 21-28, by Eoin McCrossan and Jen Ward.

The team are hoping to boost Ireland’s ranking up from 23 into the top 12 to gain Olympic qualification as part of the Irish Curling Association’s strategy to have representation in the Olympic Mixed Doubles in Beijing in 2022. Eoin and Jen won the Irish Mixed Doubles Championships in December 2017 and have been putting in hours of practice on the ice ahead of their debut in the world championships, although both have represented Ireland in International competition.

Let’s find out a bit more about both of them, beginning with Eoin:

Eoin’s on the left…

Name – Eoin McCrossan
Age – 24
Occupation – Competitions Coordinator, Scottish Curling
Three things you really like? – Napping, gin, being on commentary
Three things that really annoy you? – Open mouthed chewing, selfishness, ill-considered rules
Three things from your ‘bucket list’ – Making a nominated triple (on the out turn), learn how to drive, go to Eurovision.
What was the last film you saw? Ready Player One
And the last book you read? ‘Curl to Win’ by Russ Howard
Give us a playlist of five of your favourite songs (and artists)
* Boy in the Bubble – Paul Simon
* Fairytale – Alexander Rybak
* Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
* Africa – Toto
* Fox on the run – Sweet
And one song you never want to hear again?What Does the Fox Say – Ylvis
What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind? – 2017-18 Irish Curling Champions
What’s your favourite meal? 20 Nugget Sharebox (not to share)
Washed down by? Gin (and tonic I suppose)
Tell us something about yourself that will surprise people? I can’t actually Irish dance.
You can save one prized possession. What is it? My curling shoes (they have my name on them!)
What keeps you awake at night? Last minute competition withdrawals
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? – “The best thing we can learn is how to fail.”

Euro C profile – Andrew Gilmore

Last up is the ‘baby’ of the team, Andrew Gilmore.

Name – Andrew “Happy” Gilmore
Age – 19
Occupation – Student
In-turn or out-turn? – In-turn
Best ever curling memory? – Bronze medallists in the European C League 2016
If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? – Competitions Coordinator at Scottish Curling, the current person in this position just doesn’t have what it takes.
Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on?  – Netflix
Best / worst subjects at school? –  Best (Maths/Physics), Worst (Art)
Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – I would say the Irish men’s team but there have been too many discussions regarding mathematics over the past two days.
Earliest curling related memory? – Throwing my first curling stone at the age of six, I think (didn’t quite have the same strike weight back then).
Favourite curling destination and why? –  Stranraer Ice Rink – They have a great DJ.
How do you relax away from work (and curling)? – Going around the World on a boat.
The person you most admire, alive or dead, and whyErnest Shackleton – even when all was lost he never gave up.
What did you have for breakfast this morning? – Buffet breakfast at the Airport Hotel Dan.

Euro C profile – John Furey

John Furey has been representing Ireland since 2004 and has answered every question I could think of. However, his Euro teammates still had a few things to ask him……..

John when he had hair…..

The Furey Five!

Name – John Furey
Age – Senior curler (available for requests)
Occupation – MOL (man of leisure)
Red or yellow handles – red or dead
Last time you had a haircut – every two days
Any pre-game routines – a PGJ
Favourite WCF tournament you’ve participated in?  – World Mixed Doubles  with Louise (at Dumfries 2014)
Favourite ICA calendar event?  Senior mens  championships
Any remaining curling goals to accomplish? 100 caps (currently on 57)
Who is your ICA dream team? The Furey Five……….
Favourite place you’ve ever lived? – Tampere, Finland
Best non curling sporting achievement? – runner up Scottish Junior Scottish chess champion