WMCC game 6

IRELAND 2 USA 6

Arran and Katie on sweeping duty – photo credit WCF

There was another defeat for the Irish mixed curling team in Kelowna, BC, through the night, going down 6-2 to the USA.

Singles were exchanged over the first three ends before the Americans stole a one and then a two to put clear water between them and the Irish.Ireland struggled to get more that a one on the scoreboard and the USA ran out comfortable winners.

The team have a break now till midnight our time (4pm in western Canada) when they face Finland.

Come on Ireland!

WMCC game 5

IRELAND 3 RUSSIA 8

James Russell in action against Russia – photo credit WCF

Ireland suffered their third defeat at the World Mixed Curling Championships in Canada, going down 8-3 to Russia.

James Russell, the skip of Team Ireland – photo credit WCF

It was textbook stuff from the Russians for the first four ends, limiting the Irish team to ones while taking twos when they had the hammer. A steal of two by the Russians in the fifth end heaped the pressure onto Ireland and, after scoring another single in the sixth, the Irish curlers lost yet another two at the seventh.

The team will now regroup before facing the USA at midnight (BST).

WMCC game 4

IRELAND 12 NETHERLANDS 3

Ailsa and Katie mean business – photo credit WCF

A wonderful day for Ireland’s mixed team at the world championships recording their second win with a comprehensive rout of the Netherlands.

Ireland second Arran Cameron in action – photo credit WCF

A stunning six in the first end set the tone and after a few ends where they limited the Dutch to singles, a four in the sixth end meant the opposition offered handshakes.

Next up is Russia…….

 

WMCC game 3

IRELAND 10 BRAZIL 6

Ireland’s mixed curling team of James Russell, Ailsa Anderson, Arran Cameron and Katie Kerr got their first win of the world championships today in Kelowna, British Columbia, with a 10-6 victory over Brazil.

Lefty James Russell delivers his stone – photo credit WCF

The first three ends of this contest were a bit of a nightmare for the boys and girls in green, losing a single, a three and then another one before they got on the scoreboard with a three at the fourth end. That saved them from a tongue-lashing from Stevie ‘Hairdryer’ Callan at the break.

Back on the ice, the Irish limited the Brazilians to a single in the fifth before thumping seven shots past the Samba sliders over the last three ends. A dominant second-half display that drew comparisons with a certain  world cup semi-final circa 2014.

If they can just nutmeg The Netherlands later on today……

Come on Ireland!

Kelowna craic

Our top team in Kelowna are not alone! Hoards of Irish fans have descended on the Rockies town to support the curlers.

Coach Steve Callan as well as composing a comprehensive match report (see below) has also been taking photos to record a few “special moments” of the world championships.

Jane Cameron and friends fly the flag.

 

Ireland’s super fans Elspeth and Struan Callan.

 

The team in their Craig Whyte Appreciation Society tee-shirts and junior Canadian member Alice

The view from the coach’s bench in the game v Australia.

The team headquarters is sandwiched by the Canadians on one side and the Swiss on the other.

Coach Callan commented:

“The team and support all arrived in beautiful Kelowna on Thursday 11 October and set up team Ireland’s base camp for the next 11 days. We soon found out our house was located in between team Canada and team Switzerland’s houses and both had their flags flying from trees at each house. Not to be outdone on the flag score we duly hoisted three flags of our own!
“There was serious concern over the health of skip James Russell who arrived with an injured shoulder and almost no neck movement. We believe the injury was caused by putting his hand in his pocket for a round of drinks. A nasty fall on the ice during Friday’s practice did not help the injury either and made it considerably worse. There  was serious concern amongst the team that James would not be fit to start the competition and Ireland would either have to play with three, or if the WCF allowed it, I could step in.
“Thankfully following heavy duty painkillers, acupuncture, massage, a witchdoctor and no sympathy from the team, James made a remarkable recovery within 24 hours to declare himself fit to start against Australia on Saturday night at 8pm local time  following the opening ceremony.
“Game 1 versus Australia started slowly for Ireland and were 4-2 down at half time with nerves having a negative impact. Following the restart Ireland fell 5-2 behind. However Ireland pulled 1 back in end 6 and then stole a 2 in end 7 to tie 5-5 going into the last end, but without the hammer. Australia used this to their advantage to draw to the button with their last stone to take the game 6-5.
“The support for Ireland was tremendous and was only outdone by Canadian and USA fans. Arran’s wife Jane, Ailsa’s mum and partner, Katie’s dad and Steve’s wife and two children Elspeth and Struan made plenty of noise for Ireland. Elspeth in particular was very supportive with her cheering and flag waving and was subject to significant media attention during the game.
“Whilst down about losing to a team Ireland were more than capable of beating, the blow was softened by the Aussie team buying several pitchers of beer in the bar afterwards and some good quality banter.
“Next up is a strong Switzerland team ranked sixth in the world on Sunday at 12 noon local time.
“Game 2 started similarly to that against Australia and Ireland found themselves 2 down after end 1. However Coach Callan observed from the evening before that the Swiss team preferred to play a hitting game so Ireland’s tactic was to get plenty of guards out front and draws behind and make life awkward for Switzerland. Ireland quickly imposed themselves on the game and got to half time 3-2 up and playing really well with confidence increasing after ends 2, 3 and 4. The Swiss knew they were in a game.
“Somehow end 5 worked out badly and Ireland shipped a 4 and the momentum swung back to Switzerland. Ireland hit back hard with a 2 in the sixth end to be 6-5 down. Switzerland took their 1 in the seventh end leaving Ireland needing to score 2 in the last to force an extra end. Following excellent stone placement by Katie, Arran and Alisa, James had straightforward draw to tie the game at 7-all.
“The extra end was exciting and nerve wrecking as Ireland had 4 stones counting before Switzerland’s final stone. Their skip played a delicate draw and looked like it was going to catch a guard and hand Ireland a famous but deserved victory. However, the so called “luck of the Irish” failed as the stone clipped the very edge of the guard stone and spun its way into the house and lie 1 and take the game.
“As  coach, I could not have been more proud of their efforts against Switzerland who are one of the world’s strongest curling nations. Ireland’s game management and accuracy was a massive improvement on the first game versus Australia and hopefully bodes well for the rest of the competition. Whilst deflated following the loss to Switzerland there is increased confidence within the team that some more positive results will come Ireland’s way.
“Next up is Brazil at 12 noon local time on Monday quickly followed by The
Netherlands at 8pm.”

WMCC game 2

IRELAND 7 SWITZERLAND 8

After a spirited fightback to take this game to an extra-end, Ireland’s mixed team lost out, once again by one shot, in their second game at the World Mixed Curling Championships in Canada.

Ireland’s mixed team skip James Russell – photo credit WCF

The team had gone into the fourth end break leading 3-2 after stealing in two consecutive ends, but the Swiss swiftly wiped that advantage out, taking a four in the fifth. Ireland got a good two back in the sixth and after giving up a single, kept their nerve to score the deuce to tie the game up at seven all at the end of the eighth. The Swiss team then used the last stone advantage in the extra end to take the single for the win.

Next game for Ireland will be against Brazil at 8pm (our time) tomorrow.

Come on Ireland!

WMCC game 1

IRELAND 5 AUSTRALIA 6

A defeat for the Irish in their first game in the World Mixed Championships in Kelowna, BC, going down by one shot to an Australia quartet after a very close contest.

Australia, wit the hammer opening proceedings with a two at the first end. Ireland – James Russell, Ailsa Anderson, Arran Cameron and Katie Kerr – took a single at the second, but Australia raced in to a 4-1 lead with a second deuce at the third. Ireland got another single before the half time break to peg the score back to 4-2.

Ireland’s Ailsa Anderson in action – photo credit WCF

After a chat with coach Steve Callan, the Irish tightened up their defences and single were swapped over the next two ends before the Irish stole a two in the seventh end to level the game at five all. But the Australians made use of the last stone in the eighth and final end to record a 6-5 win.

Mixed team ready to take on the world in Canada

The Irish Mixed team are either at, or nearly at, their base camp in Kelowna, British Columbia, ahead of the World Mixed Curling Championship starting on Saturday.

James, Ailsa, Arran and Katie with coach Steve in front.

The team of James Russell, Ailsa Anderson, Arran Cameron, Katie Kerr and coach Steve Callan will start on Saturday evening with a game against Australia. They then face Switzerland, Brazil, The Netherlands, Russia, USA, Finland and Denmark.

Skip James Russell said: ” Hello members and fans. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support, with special thanks going to those of you who have helped us out with our preparations for the World Mixed in Kelowna. Myself, Ailsa, Arran, and Coach Callan have been working hard over the start of the season both on our curling and team building at the new curling academy in Stirling, Greenacres, and Kinross. While super lead Katie Kerr has been travelling across the United States on her free weekends to practice tick shots. Glamorous locations include Baltimore, Phoenix, and Ice Station Valencia. 
“Arran and Steve were sent out earlier than everyone else in order to scout out the local gym scene so the team can relax between games and I have it on good authority that that is exactly what they have been doing. The ‘Vice on the Ice’, Ailsa Anderson, arrived in Canada on Wednesday  and rumour has it that she has been sitting in an ice bath since in order to be acclimatised to any conditions during the competition. I am currently sitting in Calgary Airport awaiting my connection to Kelowna, wondering if I will be able to convince the rest of the team that pizza is the ideal food for competition. Katie Kerr for once has the shortest distance to travel to get to the championships and is celebrating this by arriving last. 
“For all of us it will be our first world championships and we could not be more proud to do it representing Ireland. Shoulder to shoulder we will stand and hopefully we will make you all proud.
“Finally, as many of you know we are the first Irish team competing since the passing of our friend and founding member Tony Tierney. We would like to dedicate our time at the worlds to Tony as our way of thanking him for all he has done for the ICA. We would also like to give our deepest condolences to Charlotte and Tony’s family. May he rest in peace.”
 

Opening bonspiel at Greenacres

Frances Donald, John Graham, President David (presenting), Carolyn Hibberd and John Reidy

Welcome to the new season and congratulation to John Graham’s team who took the prizes at the ICA Opening Bonspiel at Greenacres Ice Rink.

A total of six rinks took part and before the players took to the ice a minutes silence was held in in memory of Tony Tierney.

We also welcomed two new members, Eleanor Burns (the new Mrs John Burns) and  John Reidy.

RESULTS:

Neil Fyfe beat Marie O’Kane 8-2
Bill Gray beat James Russell 10-2
John Graham beat David Whyte 12-2 ( no respect for the Pres!)
President David Whyte said: “Remember to get your names down for  the Fyfe Trophy on 20 October and the next Bonspiel on 11 November and finally, we all wish James and team well in the Mixed at Kelowna in Canada.”

In memory of Tony Tierney 1949-2018

 

As an association, but more so as a group of close friends, members of the ICA are having difficulty coming to terms with the passing of one of our most illustrious members, Tony Tierney.

This is a tribute to Tony, seen through the prism of Irish curling.

Photo credit – WCF

Tony and his two-year battle with cancer went down to the last stone in an extra end. We all knew it was peels at the start of the year and although Tony fought all the way, throwing guard after guard in the path of his disease, his opposition had the crucial last stone. We all prayed for a reprieve for him, that cancer would come up short, but it drew the shot and Tony shook hands and left the ice with his head held high, having given his all.

Tony was one of the original members of the Irish Curling Association, a regular supporter of its competitions and a committee member for many years.

Tony also had the honour of playing for his country 104 times. During his Irish curling career, he achieved the one thing that every competitive sportsperson dreams about – he became a world champion.

Tony (second left) with his teammates and coach – photo credit – WCF

Tony played lead in the Irish team that won the World Men’s Senior Championships in Tårnby, Denmark, in April 2012, in one of the most unforgettable weeks of his life. He and his teammates – Johnjo Kenny, Bill Gray, David Whyte, David Hume and coach Gordon McIntyre – went through the entire championships undefeated and beat hot favourites Canada in an extra-end to take the gold.

His sterling performance for Ireland in Tårnby led to the nickname ‘Tony Two Ticks’ but he was even more proud of his teammates, after that monumental success, than he ever was of himself.

Photo credit – WCF

He followed that up four years later in Karlstad, Sweden, winning a bronze medal at the same championships, playing for Ireland with Peter Wilson, Peter JD Wilson, Ross Barr, Neil Fyfe and, once more, coach Gordon McIntyre, one of Tony’s closest friends.

European ‘B’ Gold medallists 2007 – left to right – Neil Fyfe, PJ Wilson, Robin Gray, Peter Wilson, Tony Tierney and coach Ron Myers.

He was also in the team that won Ireland’s very first gold medal at any championships, winning the European Curling Championships ‘B’ League in Füssen, Germany, in 2007 with Peter Wilson, Robin Gray, Neil Fyfe, PJ Wilson and coach Ron Meyers. From 2005 to 2016, he represented Ireland in eight World Senior Championships, two European Championships, six European Mixed Championships and one World Mixed Championships.

Photo credit – WCF

On the ice Tony was committed, competitive and played hard to win. He was also famous for taking into consideration every possible outcome before making a tactical decision and was locked into a wonderfully idiosyncratic pre-shot routine that he was mercilessly ribbed about.

Off the ice, ‘Tony Terrific’ was nothing short of a legend. Blessed with exquisite comic timing, he was a regular when curling social events called for an entertainer. His stand-up routine was unforgettable, with his audience bent double with laughter as Tony reached the punchline. Aided by his “it’s the way I tell ‘em” Belfast accent; such was his talent and command of the floor he managed to make often told tales sound just as fresh and funny as the first telling.

We all will have our favourite Tony Tierney joke, but I doubt we will ever want to hear them again as only Tony could tell them…… and sadly, he is suddenly gone and with him, the magic of a storyteller with the room in the palm of his hand.

Photo credit – WCF

Of course, our sadness pales in comparison with what his devoted wife Charlotte and his family are going through and our deepest sympathies go out to them at this most difficult of times.

Tony had many things to be proud of away from curling. He was a successful and respected businessman with a wide circle of friends. He was a man of integrity, honesty and faith. He was warm, witty, charming, easy-going and generous to a fault, but most of all he was happy and fulfilled in his personal life. He adored Charlotte who was clearly the love of his life, as he was hers.

It was with that immense love as his talisman that he fought leukaemia so long and so bravely.

Photo credit – WCF

In his lifetime, Tony Tierney conquered the world, but his world was Charlotte and their life together and he would want our gaze now to turn to her and to give her all the strength and support we can.

That, surely, would be the finest of tributes to Tony.

Tony Tierney – world curling champion. April 21st, 2012.