PJ to step down from world stage

PJ Wilson has decided to retire from the world seniors after winning a bronze medal in Karlstad.

PJ and Christine pose with their world senior championships medals - bronze for Ireland and gold for Scotland.

PJ and Christine pose with their world senior championships medals – bronze for Ireland and gold for Scotland.

He and his wife Anne, plus ICA President (me), were the guests of Jim and Christine Cannon last weekend to celebrate the success of Christine winning her second senior gold for Scotland and PJ winning his bronze for Ireland.

With a large glass of coca-cola in his hand (he was driving) the Irish stalwart announced: “Karlstad was my last appearance for Ireland. I have enjoyed every moment but have now decided it’s time to do other things. I started by winning a bronze world junior medal for Scotland 41 years ago and I finish with a bronze world senior medal for Ireland, so now is the perfect time to go out – at the top!

” I just want to thank all my team-mates down the years – I’ve been lucky to curl with great curlers on the ice who were also great friends off the ice.”

PJ say he will still turn out for Ireland for the Four Nations and take part in Irish bonspiels, but is now looking forward to taking things a bit easier now he’s in his 60s.

He has represented Ireland  68 times, (35 wins and 33 losses) starting at the very beginning with the European B League in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2004 where he won silver. He was on the team at the European A League in Garmisch, Germany, in 2005,  that secured Ireland a place at the world championships, for the first and so far only time, in Lowell, USA in 2006. He was back on the ice at the European A League in Basle, Switzerland, that December, when Ireland went down to B. But he was in the team that won European B League gold in Fussen, Germany,  before skipping the team at the A league in Onskolsvik, Sweden, in 2008. He then concentrated on the Seniors, skipping Ireland at the world seniors in Minneapolis-St Paul’s, USA, in 2011. He was back as a member of Peter Wilson’s Irish senior champions at the world seniors in Fredericton, Canada, in 2013 before his bronze medal-winning swansong in Sweden last month. He also was coach to the Irish mixed doubles teams at the world championships in 2014 and 2016.

Peter was also the skip of the rink that won the Scottish junior championships in 1974. That team then went on to win a bronze medal at the first world junior championships in Toronto in 1975.

PJ served as President of the ICA from 2013 to 2015.

Well done and thank you Peter JD Wilson  – what a terrific servant you have been to Irish curling.

Ladies team to be sponsored by Kerry Group

Ladies-with-bronze-medalsThe current Irish ladies curling squad (Team Anderson) have announced that Kerry Group has come on board as main sponsor to the team for the forthcoming WCF C-Division European Championship and the 2016/2017 season.
Kerry Group logoWith its headquarters based in Tralee, Co. Kerry, Kerry Group is a world leader in the global food industry. Kerry provides market leading innovation through its Taste & Nutrition technologies and systems for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets.

Kerry has enjoyed phenomenal success since commencing operations in 1972, and now markets some of the best known and best performing brands in the chilled food sector including, Dairygold, Richmond, Charleville and Yollies through its Kerry Foods branch. Kerry Agribusiness forms the third strand of the Group, which works closely with the Group’s 3,500 milk suppliers in the South West of Ireland, ensuring the efficient production of high quality milk as a source of premium quality, sustainably produced dairy and nutritional products.

Speaking about the ladies team, Kerry Group  Director of Corporate Affairs Frank Hayes said:

Kerry Group has a proud record of supporting a range of community development, arts, education and sporting initiatives. We are pleased to support the Team Ireland Ladies Curling and wish the team every success in the upcoming tournament.”

As the ladies prepare for the C-Division European Championship, taking place in Ljubljana, Slovenia from 25 April to 1 May 2016, skip Ailsa said:

We are absolutely delighted to be joined by Kerry Group. Their generous sponsorship means that the ladies can invest in the future of the team.

 

“Kerry Group’s sponsorship also secures the attendance of Coach, Martin Sutherland at the Championships, something which the Team might otherwise have been unable to afford without securing sponsorship.

 

Martin is an invaluable member of our Team and we are thrilled that he will be able to accompany us later this month in the pursuit of building on our bronze medal in 2015.”

Hardline-logoIn addition to the Kerry Group sponsorship, the ladies area also pleased to announce that they have agreed a deal which sees them join the Hardline Family (#Hardlinenation). Watch out for the Irish Ladies using Hardline Power Grip brooms at the C-Division Championship and at competition throughout the 2016/2017 season.

Irish Curling benefits from Schengen Treaty amendment

The amendment to The Schengen Agreement agreed in Brussels last month may have made waves in Calais and Dover and the other channel ports but for Irish Curling there has been an unseen and surprising benefit.

The extension of country borders into the port of departure will mean that once the Schengen Appendix 1 Charter comes into effect in a few months the area extending three miles in-shore from Loch Ryan near Stranraer will in effect become part of Ireland, or at least it will for citizenship purposes. Irish Curling Secretary Bill Gray takes up the story: “It is a strange bit of bureaucracy which will not have much effect on most folk however in curling terms anyone born in or residing within three miles of the shoreline around Stranraer could become eligible for team Ireland”. Appendix 1 only applies to the Ports of France, UK and Ireland and to their closest destinations. There had been concern that with the main ferry terminal now in Cairnryan rather than Stranraer this would take most good curlers out of the zone but the UK government minister responsible for Homeland security, Theresa May MP, confirmed the Irish zone extended for three miles inshore from the whole of the Loch Ryan Port area.  Bill Gray continued: “For the three mile rule to incorporate an area of such curling tradition and indeed talent is something we could not have dreamed off”.

Bizarrely The Irish Curling Association were made aware of this law change by the Republic of Ireland Taoiseach himself. Enda Kenny is the cousin of Irish Curling’s Development co-ordinator Johnjo Kenny.  Johnjo explains: “I was surprised to get the call from Enda especially given  his current political woes but he has taken a keen interest in curling over the years and he is very aware of the curling heritage in Stranraer having himself visited the rink at North West Castle in 2013. While the port of arrival will be Belfast this makes no difference in terms of the Citizenship eligibily”.

Irish curling president Louise Kerr is “over the moon” with the news. “I live locally” says Louise, “although not quite in the catchment zone, however, there are literally dozens of international curlers who will very soon be eligible to curl for Ireland. The prospect of Hammy McMillan, Hugh Aitken etc wearing the green and white of Ireland is something none of us thought we would see”.
We contacted  April Fecher TD (The Irish immigration minister) for a comment however she was not available.

Mixed playdowns this weekend

 

The Irish Mixed Championships takes place this Friday and Saturday at Dumfries Ice Bowl.

Three teams have entered – Team Russell, Team Gray and Team Whyte.

 The winner of the final will earn the right to represent Ireland at the World Mixed in Kazan, Russia on 15-22nd October 2016.

System of play The three teams will play a round robin of 8-end games. The first named team has first practice, plays with light stones and is top of the boards.

Game 1 – Gray v Whyte 5 pm Friday

Game 2 – Whyte v Russell 8.30 pm Friday

Game 3 – Russell v Gray 10 am Saturday

If the scores are W2, W1, W0 then the 3rd team is eliminated and the other two teams play two further games at 1.30pm and 5pm on Saturday to complete a “best of 3” decider.

If all three teams are on one win, ranking is on DSC, and 3 plays 2, the winner playing 1.

Girl power!

ladies champreyIrish ladies team member Ailsa Anderson recently gave an interview to Irish sports media publication ‘The42’ and it has already been viewed 27,612 times on The42 website!

Here’s the link:

 

 

As much publicity as possible is needed as the team are hoping to raise funds for their European C League trip via: 

https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/curling-european-championships-2016-funding/

Weekend extra

The times for the Saturday games will run 9am / 11.10am / 1.20pm and 3.30pm. This is to allow time for the ice to be pebbled between sessions. We will try and keep to the original two-hour sessions on the Sunday so we don’t finish too late for those travelling a distance.

The Saturday evening drinks reception will start at 6.45pm in the Prince Phillip Lounge (same as last year) and after the draw for the Sunday morning games has been announced there will be the presentation of Irish Championships medals to the winners of the mixed doubes; mens and mens seniors teams for 2015.

After that will come the grand raffle for ICA funds. Could each team provide a raffle prize please?

 

C League venue confirmed by WCF

This has just arrived from WCF headquarters:

 The Slovenian Curling Association will host the European Curling Championships C-Division (ECC-C), its first international curling event, in April.
The event will be held in the Ice Arena Zalog in Ljubljana between 25 April and 1 May 2016.
The ECC-C traditionally took place in October, but was moved to the spring following a decision taken at the World Curling Federation’s Annual General Assembly. This will give the winning teams more time to prepare for the European Curling Championships B-Division which take place in November.
World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness, said: “The World Curling Federation (WCF) are excited to be taking this qualification event to Slovenia. The Slovenian Curling Association has shown great ambition in developing our sport in recent years and I am in no doubt that the local organising committee will put on a great show for all the athletes and supporters.”
Previously, five national curling championships and four junior curling events have been held in the Ice Arena Zalog, but it is hoped that an international event will play a significant role in the future development of curling in Slovenia and Central Europe. 
Gregor Rigler, President of the Local Organising Committee, said: “Slovenia is a relatively new country in the curling family and tries to promote curling in all possible ways. We believe that organising ECC-C will, among other things, help to promote the unique sport of curling and raise its popularity in Slovenia.
“We also wish to be a role model for all the countries participating in the C-Division and give them the courage to organise future competitions. We hope we can catch some attention from potential sponsors, and that the organisation of this championship will help us take steps closers to getting dedicated ice.”
One women’s team and one men’s team from each WCF Member Association in the European Zone may enter, only if they are not competing in the European Curling Championships A or B Divisions.
Two women’s teams and two men’s teams will qualify for the European Curling Championships B-Division in Glasgow, Scotland from 18-26 November 2016. 
Marko Kolenc, Director of Sport Municipality in Llubljana, said: “On behalf of Municipality of Ljubljana we will be glad to welcome the European Curling Championships C-Division to the 2016 Green Capital of Europe. Curling is one of the youngest Olympic sports in Slovenia and the speed of its development is amazing.”