World Mixed -Game 4 Ireland 2; Hungary 9

Kazan Ice Arena

Kazan Ice Arena

Team Ireland took to the ice at 8pm last night for their only game of the day against the Hungarians who on paper at least looked a pretty strong team – and so it proved. Having given up the hammer from the LSD, we then compounded this by once again struggling with the weight on probably the fastest sheet we have played on so far (and the fastest I have ever experienced). Consequently we gave up a 4 and were on the back foot for the remainder of the game.

Skip feeling a little vertically challenged!!

Skip feeling a little vertically challenged!!

Hungary rarely missed a shot but we hung in after losing a further 2 in the 2nd and played some better shots but it’s fair to say that we were not allowed a look in as the opposition removed any opportunity of multiple scoring in a professional display. I would think they will go a long way in this competition. No excuses really; we can’t let a team such as Hungary get an early big lead as the standard of their play along with many others in this tournament is excellent. We still have a chance to qualify by winning our last two games and relying on some other results going our way so still plenty to go at. A day off today (watching SWE v ENG as I write this) and then up and at Finland tomorrow at 1200 MSK time.

The Kazan 6; the story so far

Sorry folks. At last an update from the tour so far. Apologies from the blogger. Couldn’t get a ribbon for my Russian Orthodox blog machine!!

Skipper on the Russian Orthodox Blog Machine

Skipper on the Russian Orthodox Blog Machine

As a result there is much to report!
Team Ireland arrived safely in Kazan after a remarkably uneventful trip. There was a moment of consternation arriving in Moscow when we were directed behind a screen at passport control to find ourselves in the Diplomatic area. Our status had gone before us, obviously although there was a further small alarm when Margarita seemed to take an age to come through the control.
Check in to the Kazan flight followed almost seamlessly although the check in girl dealing with Ross and the broom bag suddenly bolted from her desk and ran off leaving a bemused Barr family stranded. She did eventually return looking refreshed!

Team Transport. I'm sure Catherine the Great won't miss it

Team Transport. I’m sure Catherine the Great won’t miss it

As usual, the organising committee have excelled themselves with their customary efficiency and bus transport, hotels and security (!) have posed no problems so far.
The opening ceremony was a great affair with dancers and musicians along with the athlete parade. Jacqui – our international debutant – was entrusted with the fleg and led us out.

Proud moment for Jacqui

Proud moment for Jacqui

The arena is impressive and looking spectacular – a great place for a great event and while I gave already reported on the games, in general we are pretty happy with the ice etc. Food in the sport complex is pretty pricey and has to be preordered so we have given that a miss but unfortunately there is nowhere to have a drink of anything with our opponents after the game although we did go to the adjacent shopping mall for a coffee with Team England – we weren’t going to let them off scott-free after handing us our second defeat! We are storing up some celebratory drinks with our playing colleagues on Saturday night.I’m particularly looking forward to catching up with the Brazilians again. Samba time

Thankfully near our hotel there are loads of restaurants and bars (latter for after the competition obviously). Ross is the orderer-in chief with his impressive grasp of Russian – also knows how to ask for the bill, pay for it and say thank you! Top man.

Ross negotiating for team pizza

Ross negotiating for team pizza








We have been joined on this trip by the originally named ‘Paddy the Bear’ courtesy of one of a Jacqui’s work colleagues.

Skipper nervously carries Padraig Bear for the first and possibly only time

Skipper nervously carries Padraig Bear for the first and possibly only time


Unfortunately he has already been banned from the coaches bench (coach and manager had failed to read the Team Document), the broom bag (too much hair falling out) and is now to be found in a rucksack! He has also been renamed Padraig to further enshrine the all-Ireland status of the team.

Padraig renaming ceremony. Paddy no longer

Padraig renaming ceremony. Paddy no longer

As I write we have been on a city tour but to avoid too long a blog entry, more on that later. For now it’s back to curling. We are in a must win situation just now so Hungary tonight.

World Mixed – game 3; Samba time

Team Ireland took on the Vancouver based Brazilians in their third game and right from the outset started to put their opposition under pressure by getting stones in much better places than in either of the first two games. We picked up three in each of the first two ends before Brazil opened their account with a single. A further three after an angled raise tap by the skip to take out the Brazilians shot stone gave us a 9-1 lead at the 4 end break. Somewhat inevitably, concentration wavered a little in the fifth and sixth ends to allow Brazil to score a 2 and steal a single in the sixth. We played a great 7th end and when Bill removed the Brazilian counter with his last to score 4, handshakes were offered. A great sigh of relief to get a win under our belts after the earlier disappointment sees the team in better spirits. Tour of the city this morning before the 8pm game against Hungary.image

World Mixed – Game 2

Well….where to start? Team Ireland started solidly enough in this tussle with England with much more than bragging rights potentially at stake. A clean first end with the hammer after Jacqui and Ross had thrown good LSD’s ended with a single as Bill’s attempted blank didn’t quite roll out. image

We were struggling a bit with the weight as the game went through the next few ends until the 4th where after multiple missed shots, Bill faced 4 with his last and managed to draw round and although a little heavy came to rest art frozen taking three shots out of play. The English skip tried to clear for three but jammed our stone and we escaped with a loss of 2. Unfortunately the weight malaise continued and we struggled to impose ourselves at all and despite going to the last 5-5 we never really looked to be in a position to steal until late in the end but couldn’t make them play their last. A disappointing result but actually both teams agreed afterwards that neither had played that well.

Onwards and upwards for the greens. Brazil next at 4pm so it will be colourful!!

World Mixed – game 1

Ireland 2 Sweden 9.

Team Ireland ran into a very good Swedish team today in their first game at the World Mixed Championships in Kazan, Russia. The Swedes took control in the second end after a blanked first end with the Green Team struggling to get the pace of the lightning fast ice. A heavy draw against two coughed up another single in the third but a nicely controlled double by Bill in the 4th got the team on the board. A great freeze by the skipper in the next prevented a big end with the Swedes lying well when their skip failed to remove our stone to allow us to steal a single. After this solid start it was frustrating to allow a big end of 3 in the next and even more so to end the game losing a three against the hammer. All in all we were pleased to get on the ice and we will take the lessons forward to the England game tomorrow morning. Thanks for all of the good luck messages.

Team Ireland and. Team Sweden

ICA opening bonspiel at Greenacres

Thanks to all the members who put their names down for the opening ICA bonspiel of the season at Greenacres on Sunday, October 16th at 12.30pm.

The draw has been made and the teams will line up thus:

Team A – Arran Cameron, LouiseKerr, Gillian Drury, Nathan Furey


Team B – Neil Fyfe, Christine Furey, Gillian Russell, Clare McCormack

Team C – Johnjo Kenny, John Burns, Jen Ward, Roberta Warwick


Team D – James Russell, Marie O’Kane, Eoin McCrossan, Patricia Boult

Soup and sandwiches will be served after the game.

World Mixed profile 2 – Bill Gray

10257733_1024462894261880_6249122666796938499_oHere’s the inside story on our mixed  skipper Bill – who still has the same hairstyle 56 year on….
Name? – Bill Gray
Age? – Plenty
Occupation? – Part farmer, part curler
The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity? – Floodlit indoor Camogie
What’s your guiltiest pleasure? – A Mars bar
What is your favourite word? – Unprintable ! Take your pick from a few…..
What’s your biggest fear? – having to give up playing sport/ having to skip Eoin in an early morning 4 Nations match – sorry Eoin!!
Last gig you went to? – Jools Holland in Glasgow last year; pure dead brilliant
The film you can watch time and time again? – Gmac’s video from Tarnby for the 2012 World Seniors Gold medal – so much going on at the end you just have to watch it over and over and over…………”he’s heavy…..he’s THROUGH”…. etc etc
What are you best at? – amusing profile answers? Yeah okay; not even that!
The sport you won’t watch? – Floodlit Indoor Camogie – it’s not on the telly or doesn’t exist; not sure which.

World Mixed profile 1 – Margarita Sweeney-Baird

Our Irish mixed team will be gearing up to fly out to Kazan, Russia, for the 2nd World Mixed Curling Championships, which begins on Friday, October 14 and goes on to Saturday, October 22.

20141008-pd-014Starting off this batch of player profiles is third in the team – Margarita Sweeney-Baird:

Name – Margarita Sweeney-Baird
Age – over 21.
Occupation – Inclusive Skating Chair (I develop events and opportunities for disabled skaters).
In-turn or out-turn? –  In-turn.
Best ever curling memory? –  Winning the first Irish Open Championships in memory of Isobel Fyfe – it was such an honour!
If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? –  I’m also a lawyer so I would go back to working in Financial Regulation in practice and/or at University again.
Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on? – Inclusive Skating
Best / worst subjects at school? – Best – English, History, etc. Worst is definitely singing.
Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – Jo Brand, Barack Obama, Boris Johnson, Andrew Neil – they would be very funny and entertaining!
Earliest curling related memory? – watching the curling at Crossmyloof whilst I was on the end ice skating behind the yellow plastic barrier. It was Ken Horton and Graeme Adam who were practising.
Favourite curling destination and why?  – Any curling rink in Switzerland. I love Switzerland.
How do you relax away from work (and curling)?  – Spending time with my family.
The person you most admire, alive or dead, and why?  – Kate Caithness – because she does the right things for the right reasons. Kate introduced wheelchair curling – just because it was the right thing to do. I wish she was president of the IOC or International Skating Union or perhaps both!
What did you have for breakfast this morning? – Tea and toast.

Get your Euro tickets now!

Tickets for every session of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships go on sale Friday 9th September but The Royal Caledonian Curling Club are giving you the chance to get yours before they are available to the public.

They are holding a ticket pre-sale from Monday 5th September at 10am when they will  email the ICA  with a link to purchase your priority tickets online. Pre-sale will continue until Friday 9th September at 10am when the general sale will start.

A RCCC spokesperson said: “With tickets starting from just £10 per session, don’t miss the chance to see Europe’s curling elite take to the ice at intu Braehead Arena for a week of top flight sporting action. To help you plan your Euro curling experience, visit the official event website for the latest info including playing schedules.

“If you are planning to attend several sessions of the championships you might be interested in a Tournament Pass giving you access to every game, including the finals!” Tournament Passes are already on sale and can be bought direct fromTicketmaster

Exciting news about Liffey Valley

Our dream of having an ice rink home in Ireland got a massive boost last week when planning permission was granted for the expansion at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre – which will include an ice arena.

South Dublin County Council green-lighted plans for additional retail space and an ice rink, but took issue with the construction of a multi-storey car park and denied permission to build the 1,800-space facility.

The expansion at Liffey Valley will feature an additional 7,000 sq m of retail space, 3,774 sq m of restaurant space, a refurbished 14-screen cinema and an Olympic-sized indoor ice arena that can hold 2,500 spectators for skating competitions, ice hockey matches and other entertainment events.

The new development, dubbed the Western End, is due to be completed by the end of this year.

An artist's impression of the proposed ice arena.

An artist’s impression of the proposed ice arena.

Vibrant Partnerships, which manages the London 2012 Olympic Games venues, is acting as consultants on the layout of the ice rink, while US architects RTKL has been chosen to design the expanded centre.