2023 AGM & Closing Bonspiel

Steve Callan Becomes President-Elect

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.

Winning Team of Bill Gray, Steve Callan, Christine Furey & Ari Furey.

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.

President Eoin McCrossan and President-elect Steve Callan

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.

Outgoing Committee members, Christine & Caroline with President Eoin.

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.

Biggest ever Battle in Bowl set for this weekend

In a moment of ICA history, four teams will contest the 2023 Irish Mixed Championship marking the biggest national championship in Irish curling history. Dumfries Ice Bowl once again plays host with games beginning on Friday evening ahead of a potential final on Sunday. The winning team will earn the right to represent Ireland at the 2023 World Mixed Championship in October.

Defending Champions - Team Wilson
Defending Champions – Team Wilson

Leading the field are the defending champions John Wilson, Alison Fyfe, Craig Whyte and Jen Ward. They enjoyed the best possible preparation for the event by winning the Irish Weekend at Stranraer and will be keen to represent Ireland once more.

Senior women’s skip, Dale Sinclair, joins three of last year’s runners-up Kyle Paradis, Ailsa Barron and Eoin McCrossan. They ran their rivals close last year and will hope to take that final step to the top of the podium.

The third team of Bill Gray, Nina Clancy, David Whyte and Louise Kerr sees parts of the two Irish Seniors teams heading to Korea in April to join forces to tackle another national championship. Experience may prove crucial this weekend, and if so Team Gray has it in spades.

Brian Mathews rounds out the field with his team of Clare McCormick, Jason Medhurst and Stephanie McDonald. This mostly Ireland-based team is representative of the ever-growing and changing membership of the ICA and they will be keen to play their first national championships.

The event begins on Friday night with a 4 team round-robin ahead of playoffs on Sunday to be determined by the round-robin standings

All games will be streamed live on the Dumfries Curling YouTube channel which can be accessed here.

Irish Mixed Playdowns Schedule

Team Wilson wins Stranraer Weekend

THE Irish descended on Stranraer last weekend for the annual social event of the year with four games of curling shoehorned in between the eating, drinking and the craic.

When the dust settled, John Wilson, Alison Fyfe, Craig Whyte and Jen Ward were once again worthy winners of the Magners sponsored Stranraer Weekend having seen off all opposition brave enough to take them on.

The runners-up in the high road were Bill Gray, Nina Clancy, Walter Scott and Alison Scott.

In the low road, the eventual winners were Johnjo Kenny, Gillian Russell, John Burns and Russet Fullerton. The runners up were Kyle Paradis, Carolyn Hibberd, Eoin McCrossan and Geraldine Murphy.

There was, as always, a rush to the bottom to secure the Tayto crisps and this year the lucky four were Guy Topping, Shena Chad, Paul Chad and Carol Topping.

Thanks go to Magners for their excellent and continued sponsorship of the Stranraer Weekend and Gail and her staff for the great ice and the staff of the North West Castle for looking after everyone so well. PJ Wilson did a great job of recruiting players to ensure there were 16 teams in the competition, while lambing sheep at the same time – what a man…

Finally, Saturday night’s raffle raised £317 for ICA funds. Thanks to all who bought tickets and provided a raffle prize.