BOTH Irish teams at the world seniors in South Korea exited the competition at the quarter-finals stage yesterday.
The women had a hell of a battle with the Japanese team, with Irish skip facing a tricky draw to the pin for the win after the Japanese skip’s last stone, which was supposed to be a guard, crept into the house to sit just behind the pin. Dale’s stone was a foot too heavy and, despite frantic sweeping to curl it over on top of the shot, rubbed off it and to the side.
The game had been carefully managed by the Irish to ensure last stone in the last end. But the first end looked like going horribly wrong when the Japanese, who had hammer, looked like getting four. Thankfully the good hitting skills of the Irish, with a crucial last double take-out from Dale changed the end and the Japanese decided to blank. They then took a single in the second end
After taking a two in the third and forcing the single in the fourth, the Irish blanked the fifth and took a well worked two in the sixth. In the seventh, the plan was to force again but a couple of missed hits left Japan an easy draw for two.
In the last, Japan got guards up that the Irish could not get rid of but the path to the four foot was open at the end. Unfortunately, the Japanese got in there first, albeit unintentionally.
The Irish men on the next sheet came off worst in a bruising encounter with Canada.
IRELAND women ended the group stages of the world seniors with a 5-4 win over Australia that sees them finish on a 4-2 win/loss record and third place in Group B behind Scotland and Switzerland.
The girls got off to a good start stealing and one then a two in the first two ends but the Australians were gutsy and kept a barrage of guards and tee weight draws coming at the Irish who had to be patient and wait for the chances to come.
Peels going into the last end, a superb double clear from Bernie Gillett left the four foot open. Australia tried one more guard and Dale Sinclair drew back four with her first stone.
When Aussie skip Kim Forge caught her own guard with her first the game was over. Ireland’s women now face Japan in the quarter-finals at 1pm Korean time tomorrow, while Ireland’s men, who also got through today with a victory over Norway, face Canada.
IRELAND’S senior women qualified for the quarter-finals of the world seniors last night after they beat Latvia in the afternoon and Finland lost in the evening, meaning the Irish were in third place in their group behind Scotland and Switzerland.
The game against the Latvians went the way of the Irish with steals of two in the first and second end. The team had their shooting boots on and made sure the Latvians were limited to singles.
Keeping it clean in the last end, Bernie Gillett secured the victory with a cracking double take out to run the Latvians out of stones.
THE Irish women lost to Scotland yesterday afternoon but then had to regroup early this morning to grind out an extra end victory over Finland.
Against the Scottish women, the loss of a four was the turning point in a game that saw both teams get into a hitting contest over the first three ends. But after the four, Ireland just got one more shot before the Scots scores a two and a three in the seventh.
This morning against the Finns, the Irish seemed to be in a good position towards the end of the game but the Finnish skip, Tiina Julkunen played some terrific shots under pressure to keep her team alive and it all came down to an extra end. This time skip Tiina missed her draw with her first stone, and as Ireland were lying two, Irish skip Dale didn’t need to play her last stone.
The women play Latvia tomorrow afternoon at 4pm Korean time. The women are currently joint third in the group on two wins and two losses.
IRELAND women lost to Switzerland today at noon in a game that saw the team struggle to get draw weight in the first four ends, and then find it again in the last four.
The Swiss seemed to have the game won when then scored a four in the fifth end just after the half time break to go 7-1 ahead, but the Irish dug deep and got a two in the sixth end to keep the game alive. The Irish then put a clutch of good solid draw together in the seventh, and a great draw from Dale – and a huge sweep from Bernie – to keep it straight on swingy ice saw a three score against the head to leave the team going into the last end one down without. However, despite good stone placement again by Ireland, the Swiss skip was left facing two Irish shots when she went to play her last stone. One back four and one back eight and a guard in place for good measure. To her credit, and hats off to her sweepers, who dragged her shot into the four foot to get the win.
IRELAND’S women’s senior team got the win today against Czech Republic in bizarre circumstances when the Czechs ran out of time in the eighth and final end.
The Irish were 6-1 up at the fourth end break after losing a one in the first end, then scoring a two and stealing successive twos, But loose shots from all four in the seventh let the Czechs back in. But one up with hammer the Irish were looking good for the win when the timeclocks handed it to them without skip Dale Sinclair having to play her last stone.
The Czechs are new to senior international competition so every day’s a school day was the most appropriate phrase. However, the on ice angst was soon replaced by friendly banter over a few Korean beers as the rookies were introduced to post-game cameraderie by the Irish ladies.
Irish women will play Switzerland at noon tomorrow out here in Gangneung, South Korea.
IRELAND got off the blocks with a win here in Gangneung with a win over Australia in the first session of play tonight.
The men’s team – Bill Gray, David Whyte, Neil Fyfe and Ross Barr – won 8-7 with a five in the sixth end proving crucial. As the game progresses it was obvious the Australians were going to be tight for time at the eighth end.
Despite the time pressures (Hugh Milligan took his time out with 34 seconds left and two stones to play) he narrowed the scoreline but the game was Irelands. Women’s team play at noon tomorrow v Czech Republic at noon.
IRELAND’S senior teams are off on their travels again tomorrow. Both the men’s and women’s team are competing in the world senior champions in Gangneung, South Korea from Saturday until the following Saturday…hopefully.
The women’s team is skipped again this year with two of last year’s team, Bernie Gillett and Louise Kerr also on board. New to the team this time round is Nina Clancy who cut her competitive teeth at international level at the C League in Lithuania last season.
The women play Czech Republic, Switzerland, Scotland, Finland, Latvia and Australia in their group.
The men’s team, skipped by Bill Gray, consists of the experienced back up trio of David Whyte, Neil Fyfe and Ross Barr. Fifth man Jonhjo remains in Kinross at present but a helicopter is on standby.
They will face Australia, Estonia, USA, Scotland, Slovenia, Wales and Norway.
The 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Irish Curling Association was held on 19th March 2023 at Lanarkshire Ice rink in combination with the closing bonspiel.
To begin the day, 6 teams took to the ice in 3 very competitive games. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, the usual rules of keeping family members apart were dispensed, but any combative fireworks that might have been forecast failed to materialise. Inspired by the Women’s worlds, Neil Fyfe threw last and Eoin McCrossan skipped from third in a 6-5 win over Alasdair McIntyre’s team – not quite up to the standards set by Patz and Tirinzoni perhaps. A strong start from David Whyte saw him prevail in the father-son battle over Craig Whyte by a score of 8-5, but it was Bill Gray who won the day with a final score of 10-6. Bill’s team of Steve Callan, Christine Furey and Ari Furey saw off Ross Barr, Alison Barr, John Burns and Eleanor Burns. Bill utilised the hammer effectively with big scores of 4 and 5 seeing him to victory.
Following the bonspiel, Bill paid thanks to all who had participated as well as the staff at the ice rink for providing a great day. Reveling in the victory, Bill noted it had been a good while since he had tasted victory in an ICA bonspiel and this really was one to enjoy.
The AGM followed the bonspiel with a hybrid meeting being offered to all members in a technological first for the ICA. President Eoin chaired the meeting beginning with a moment’s remembrance for those we had lost in the past year, including ICA founding member Liz Knox. Following that members heard reports from the President, Treasurer and WCF reps highlighting the activities of the association throughout the year including WCF competitions, Four Nations success and advancing the cause of ice in Ireland.
Steve Callan was elected as President-Elect meaning he will succeed Eoin McCrossan as president at the 2024 AGM. Steve thanked everyone for their support and said a few words including a touching tribute to the community the ICA provides, giving him his ‘Irish Fix’. David Whyte and Bill Gray continued in their roles as Treasurer and Secretary respectively and new ordinary committee members elected were Kyle Paradis, Brian Mathews, and John Wilson. They join Craig Whyte, Ailsa Barron, and Jason Medhurst who continue in role. Nina Clancy completed the committee being elected as the new female WCF representative.
These elections meant that there were some farewells and President Eoin led the thanks to outgoing committee members Christine Furey and Carolyn Hibberd. In particular, Carolyn’s departure comes after a hugely significant contribution to the association. As a founding member, Carolyn has championed the cause of the association for 30 years. She was the second president, a long-time WCF rep and competed at 5 international championships, the highlight no doubt being a 2010 European C-Division Gold medal. In recognition of this, Carolyn was awarded honorary life membership of the ICA – a truly fitting accolade after a huge amount of service.