New mens champions head to Denmark for C League

Congratulations to John Wilson, James Russell, Craig Whyte, John Furey, Eoin McCrossan and coach Martin Sutherland who won the Irish mens championships at Dumfries today winning the first two games in a best of three challenge against Andrew Gilmore, David Hibberd,  Steve Callan and Tom Roche.

They will now represent Ireland in the European C League in Taarnby, Denmark, April 11 – 18.

ICA continues winning streak in world’s oldest international fixture.

Last week at Greenacres, two rinks representing the ICA overcame their Ardrossan Castle counterparts by an aggregate score of 17-9. Neil Fyfe’s rink triumphed 10-3 while Andrew Gilmore – currently back on shore at college – had a much tighter game squeezing home 7-6. We noted that the ICA talisman – Erin Furey – was to be booked for this year but unfortunately she had to rely on her senior colleagues to seal the deal without her! Fear not- there is a surprise coming in the New Year. Watch this space!!

We are hugely appreciative that Ardrossan Castle continue to contest this fixture – first played as far back as 1861 when the prize was a RCCC medal struck for the Belfast Curling Club. The teams now contest the beautiful wooden trophy fashioned by Ardrossan curler Donnie Sheddon for the fixture.

We look forward to continuing this historic association next year.

Golden memories

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

Exactly 10 years ago on December 7th, 2007, Ireland won it’s first curling gold medal at the European Championships in Fussen, Germany, when the men’s team of Peter Wilson, Robin Gray, Neil Fyfe, PJ Wilson and Tony Tierney, plus coach Ron Myers won the B League.

The Irish team went through the round-robin undefeated, beating Belgium, Holland, Iceland, Greece, Austria and Spain before taking down Latvia in the semi-final, taking a four in the fifth end to ease themselves to a 9-7 win. The gold was then secured in a one-sided game against Spain.

The team had no time to celebrate as they then had to prepare for the best of three challenge with the Czech Republic for the last place at the 2008 World Championships. This was their third game in one day and it was a game too far. After taking the Czechs to an extra-end in the first game they lost two in a row and the Czech Republic went to the worlds the following year.

Happy days for the Irish in fabulous Fussen! Seems like yesterday……….

Ireland’s ladies team get some practice in

Marie, Louise, Christina and Clare

The Irish ladies team heading to the world seniors in Sweden next April got together on the ice for the first time at the Greenacres Invitation last week. Marie O’Kane, Louise Kerr, Christina Graham and Clare McCormick had plenty of practice against some of the top senior ladies teams in the world and improved every game.

Going forward, they have engaged Gordon McIntyre to coach the team ahead of their world challenge.

Day 7 update from the Big Cheese

Day 7 Update from Ross Barr

The final session of the round robin stage saw Team Ireland come head to head with Team Spain. Both teams were on four wins and sitting joint third. Knowing that the winner of this match would qualify for the knock out stages provided an extra degree of interest. Spain secured a two shot advantage in the second end after blanking the first. Chasing the game from that point Team Ireland set up a number of promising ends but they were continually thwarted by the accuracy of the Spanish play.

A disappointing end to what was generally a successful and very enjoyable tournament for Alan, Jacqui, Ross, Clare and coach Alison. Team Ireland offer thanks to all those who have provided encouragement and support throughout the competition.

Day 6 in Champery

Alan ‘Skippy’ Mitchell on the blog:

Met with another beautiful day in the Swiss Alps we had the full day to prepare for our 6th game and enjoy the superb weather with temperatures exceeding the nicest of Belfast summer days.

Our opponents today were the young South Korean team who had 5 wins to their name – looking resplendent in their bright yellow team uniforms they exuded confidence from the moment they stepped on the ice. It was soon obvious they had trained to a very high standard and were positioning stones to the nearest mm.

Some great 1st end play by Ireland was sadly the highlight of the game and the incessant pressure applied by the Koreans took its toll. We can take comfort that without doubt these young players will be stars of the future.

Our team walk back from the rink witnessed another glorious sunset which lifted team spirits and soon brought our trip back into perspective.

Day 5 update from Champery

Ross Barr writes:
Our 8 am game against Kazakhstan got off a solid start with four players in both teams for the first two ends.  The Kazakhstan lead was then banished to the coaches bench where she remained for the rest of the game, as usual.  A lead of 6 – 2 was established by mid game break. Hands were shaken during the eighth end when the score line read 7 – 3.Team Ireland then retired to review stone placement and sweeping tactics on the patio.

The team decided nutrition needs should be met by a visit to the local Cailler chocolate and Gruyere cheese factory in preparation for the game against Korea.

Day 4 Update

From Ross Barr:

Nothing like keeping things exciting for our dedicated coach!

Coach in the frame!!

Having decided that our tactics for the Luxembourg game was to avoid having guards, we managed to play the first two ends continually setting up guards and letting Luxembourg draw around them. Realising this was not in our game plan, we began to play the intended tactics from end three onwards and we held our own, which resulted in s good win for Team Ireland! An early morning game tomorrow against Kazakhstan – it will be interesting to see if the full opposing team can make it through the whole game with four players.