2022 Irish Men’s Championship Preview

Two teams will hit the ice in Dumfries to contest the 2022 Irish Men’s Championship. The Ice Bowl will once again play host to the best-of-3 series beginning on Saturday at 11am with game 2 scheduled for 4pm and the final game if required will take place on Sunday at 10am. The winning team will earn the right to represent Ireland at the European Curling Championships C-Division in Vilnius, Lithuania in May.

European Curling Championships C-Division 2021, Geneva, Switzerland

Coming off a fourth-place finish at the most recent C-Division, John Wilson returns at skip with a slightly altered lineup of James Russell, Kyle Paradis and Craig Whyte. John is excited for the challenge of the weekend

“Craig, Kyle, James and I are all looking forward to getting on the ice on Saturday and competing for the opportunity to represent Ireland in Lithuania. To get back on the ice and play competitive curling is exactly why all of us play the sport. Kyle, Craig and I haven’t been on the ice together since Geneva and we are extremely excited to play in an Irish Championship. Dumfries is always a great place to play, the ice is always prepared to an excellent standard and the venue and competition should be a cracker.”

European Curling Championships C-Division 2021, Geneva, Switzerland

Adopting the role of challengers are Team Cameron with skip Arran Cameron backed up by David Hibberd, Steve Callan and Eoin McCrossan. The team are happy to play down expectations as Arran explains

“Well it’s nearly here and Team Cameron are feeling excited for the playdowns. Training unfortunately has been a bit sketchy with events on and off and COVID pings here and there, however we did enjoy competing at both the British Open and the Haggis. The team being located across Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Perthshire doesn’t make for easy logistics but we have enjoyed the craic when we have managed to get together. We go into this weekend as challengers with three of John’s team having competed last year in Geneva and we know we are up against it. We do however feel it’s important for the growth of the ICA to have playdowns where possible and would encourage more to get involved in the future if you can. We are looking forward to some good curling and a few beers with John and his team this weekend”

Scores will be available on the ICA social media channels with a full event write-up available on the website soon after. Good luck to both teams, the long road to Vilnius in May starts with the battle in the bowl!

ICA Opening Bonspiel and Training Day

Thirty ICA members gathered last week at Greenacres to start the season in earnest. To help get members back into the swing of things this was a bumper event with a morning training day preceding an afternoon bonspiel.

The training morning was generously supported by the WCF Development Assistance Program to help the ICA to hit the ground running in their post-pandemic recovery. This was incredibly gratefully received by members of all abilities. “It was such a wonderful opportunity to practice rather than to be thrown into a game” explained member Clare McCormick. Eleanor Burns agreed: “I was just so happy to have the chance to practice after so long, it was really important to get my confidence back”. After getting to grips with the ice, members worked on a number of skills; honing their setups and deliveries concentrating on consistent rotation and weight control. For some members though, the aim of the session was a lot simpler: “I’ve only fallen once – so that’s a success” Steve Callen wryly noted.

With the sea legs re-established; 8 teams took to the ice in the afternoon with some incredible shot-making accompanying some close (and not so close) games. The final scores were:

    Neil Fyfe 10 – 4 John Wilson

    Alison Fyfe 10 – 6 Jen Ward

    JJ Kenny 3 – 12 Andrew Gilmore

    James Russell 9 – 5 David Whyte

That meant that the winning team were Andrew Gilmore, Dave Hibberd, Isla Kinnear and Ari Furey. President Eoin presented the prizes, thanking everyone at Greenacres for keeping everyone safe, fed and entertained and expressed a huge debt of gratitude for the number of members supporting the event. In particular, he welcomed Brian Mathews all the way from Dublin and new member Megan Priestley.

We’re off and away – stay tuned for the rest of season 2021-22!

Euro C profile – Craig Whyte

Name – Craig Whyte

Age – 32

Occupation – Business valuations

Lockdown loath? – Trying to get a tee time on the golf course

Lockdown like? – A 10 second commute to work

Staycation destination? – Cairngorms

Coffee order? – Black

Best curling team to watch and learn from? – Mouat

Any competition superstitions? – Green socks

What will finally break the internet? – The new ICA website

Euro C profile – John Wilson

Name – John Wilson

Age – 35

Occupation – Teacher of Mathematics

In-turn or Out-turn? – In-turn

Best ever curling memory? – World Mixed in Aberdeen

If you had to switch careers, what job would you do? – Explorer / Travel photographer

Apart from the ICA, what website do you spend the most time on? – YouTube

Best & worst subjects at school? – Best – PE, Worst – French

Who’d be your four ideal dinner guests? – Father Jack, Dougal, Ted and Mrs Doyle.

Earliest curling related memory? – being pushed down the ice, sitting on a curling stone.

Favourite curling destination and why? – Perth … Great ice and easy to get to.

How do you relax away from work (and curling)? – running (hills and roads).

The person you most admire and why? – Ranulph Fiennes or anyone who has to carry out any feat of endurance.

Euro C profile – Arran Cameron

Name – Arran Cameron

Age – 47 and feeling it with these youngsters

Occupation – Civil Engineer doing too much paperwork

What is your favourite word – Currently it’s Nefarious

What’s your biggest fear – The Guinness running out

Last gig you went to Mad Ferret Band

The film you can watch time and time again – The Hunt for Red October

What are you best at – 🍺

The sport you won’t watch – diving, cmon it’s not a sport

Euro C profile – Kyle Paradis

Dr. Kyle Paradis

Name – Dr. Kyle Paradis

Age – 34

Occupation – University Professor in Sport Psychology at Ulster University.

Status – single / married / divorced / other/ – Partner – Tais

Children – No Children.

Years curling – 30

Home club and ice rink – my ICA club is Belfast, back in Canada, Tam Heather and Leaside

Favourite sport outside curling

  • To watch – Football (Soccer)
  • To play – Golf

Who would you really like to meet? – Whoever is around!

Favourite TV programme? – Derry Girls!

Favourite holiday destination and why? – Hawaii was great, but I have always wanted to go to Italy.

Favourite other Irish curler and why? – my teammates and Eoin McCrossan who was the first person I met and talked with the ICA before moving over and welcomed me, and now he’s our president!

You can save one prized possession. What is it? – my dog, Sophie.

Who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with? – My partner, Tais.

Sum yourself up in five words – Only needs one word – lucky.

Burns Bows Out at ICA AGM

For the second year running the Irish Curling Association held a virtual Annual General Meeting. In addition to constitutional change and committee elections, the meeting saw the departure from the committee of John Burns – a founder member, past president and ICA titan.

The meeting began with ICA President Eoin McCrossan reflecting on those who the association lost in the previous year as well as those lost to the pandemic. He paid particular tribute to past President and “latter-day Boudica in emerald green”, Fiona Turnbull.

Eoin took the opportunity, through his President’s report, to update the membership on the great work done by the committee throughout the year behind the scenes. He paid tribute to all committee members hard work but in particular departing member, Arran Cameron. Despite a lack of on-ice events, the committee had the time and space to progress with the Association’s development plan with particular progress seen in improved governance and digital offerings to members. He reported a rise in membership of more than 10% and set out six key targets for next season:

  • Hosting Member events including training and social events
  • Redesigning the ICA website
  • Contributing to the Irish Winter Sports Strategy launch
  • Assisting teams to realise their competitive ambitions
  • Utilising a greater percentage of DAP funding
  • Continuing to improve governance practices

Finally, he was able to share a provisional calendar for next season:

26th SeptemberOpening Training DayGreenacres
26th SeptemberOpening BonspielGreenacres
31st October
7th November
Fyfe TrophyGreenacres
December 2021Winter BonspielStirling
TBCArdrossan CastleGreenacres
January 2021 (if required)Men/Women PlaydownDumfries
January 2021 (if required)Senior PlaydownDumfries
28th-30th JanuaryFour NationsAyr
February 2021Spring BonspielMurrayfield
26th-27th FebruaryStranraer WeekendStranraer
12th-13th MarchMixed PlaydownDumfries
March 2021Closing BonspielHamilton

All seven constitutional changes were approved by the membership which gave clarity to membership categories, introduced greater flexibility for a digital committee working and enshrined updated voting practices for office bearers and the business of future AGMs.

Bill Gray and David Whyte were re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer. Craig Whyte and Christine Furey were re-elected onto the committee after serving three-year terms as ordinary members and Steve Callan re-joined the committee following a few years away. Finally, Carolyn Hibbard and Eoin McCrossan were elected as WCF representatives, meaning that John Burns stepped down from the committee after a tenure approaching 30 years. In the meeting, President Eoin paid tribute to him:

John has worked tirelessly for well over 25 years to advance the cause of Irish Curling and I feel slightly overwhelmed with the task of paying tribute to such a titan of the ICA. John was a founder member, past president and past secretary. John established our relationships with many organisations in Ireland including the OFI and has advocated the cause of Ice in Ireland and shown incredible tenacity in the face of many disappointments. Thank you John on behalf of everyone in the association”.

John remains a valued member, and no doubt a source of support and knowledge when needed.

The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the chair and just in time for the secretary to watch the end of the second test of the Lions tour of South Africa!