We, your committee, like to think that we are approachable and know the mood of our members. One of the key areas of our development plan is the membership offering and so we have put together a short survey to ensure that was the case and to hear your ideas for reinforcing and growing our membership.
Please answer as honestly as possible and only say you are interested in events if you really are and will travel to support such. Also please take the time to explain if required or add suggestions at the end.
We will close the survey on Sunday 9th August to allow some time to review at our next committee meeting. This was sent to all members by email on 27th July – if you haven’t received it please check your junk mail and reach out if we have missed you somehow!
We have 24 competitors from the ICA and beyond ‘taking to the ice’, but not as we know it, this weekend in the first-ever ICA Virtual Bonspiel. The bank holiday and lockdown fever provided the perfect combination to arrange something substantial to entertain both members and supporters with a taste of the game we all know and love.
The triple knockout format with 4 end games will kick off on Friday morning with competitors being given timeslots to complete their games in. All 8 qualifiers from this will then proceed to the quarter-finals on Sunday 10th May with the champion being crowned at some point on Sunday afternoon.
You can keep track of the draw here and there will be daily summaries on social media throughout the event.
Draw 1: To be played before 11am on Friday 8th May
- Ross Barr v Frances Whyte
- Jen Ward v Maggie Wilson
- John Wilson v Christine Furey
- JJ Kenny v Kyle Paradis
- Alison Barr v Eoin McCrosan
- Niamh Begley v Gillian Russell
- Iain Wallace v Bill Gray
- Arran Cameron v Mike Spain
Good luck and good curling!
If you are missing the game we know and love as much as we are, then why not join us next weekend for a virtual bonspiel via FlyOrDie.com? The tournament format will be determined by the number of entries but we hope to give competitions more than one game to pit themselves against other curlers.
All entries should be made through the ICA facebook page or through the email address email@example.com giving your FlyOrDie username if you have one. All games will take place from Friday 8th May to Sunday 10th May and will be 4 ends long. Get practising!
Festive spirit abounded in Stirling yesterday as 16 curlers took to the ice for the Winter Bonspiel. Eoin McCrossan skipped his team of John Burns, Niamh Begly and Eleanor Burns to an 8-6 win over Arran Cameron, Paul Cromey, special guest Shelagh Fulton and Kerianne Cox. An aggressive approach was adopted by both skips with plenty of stones in play, the game turned with an excellently judged runback for 4 made by the McCrossan team.
Victory overall however went to the team of David Hume, Margarita Sweeney-Baird, Sue Scotland and Frances Donald who pipped Ian Donald, Dave McHale, Isla Kinnear and Maria O’Neill. David raced out into a 7-1 lead before a huge score of 4 brought everything into play. David and team held their nerve and scored a single point in the final end for a winning score of 8-5.
David thanked his team for their efforts and to all those who had made the trip out. Special mention must go firstly to Sue Scotland and her amazingly festive reindeer bonnet and secondly to Frances Donald who provided tasty chocolate treats to all, which definitely made all the difference in those fully swept shots.
Enjoy all the action of the World Curling Federation Mixed Championships live from the website: https://hughmillikin.wixsite.com/wmxcc2019
The Irish Curling Association received an early Christmas present recently with the news that following extensive discussions with South Dublin on Ice, we have secured ice in Ireland to promote curling.
The event, which will be held on the temporary ice rink created this winter at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin on 16/17 January 2019. We have been assisted by the World Curling Federation using their Development Assistance Programme (DAP) funding.
The event is not only approved by the World Curling Federation, but also incorporated into its Olympic Celebration Tour. Which allows the ICA to get the curling message into schools in the Tallaght area of Dublin as well. Having this status means Olympic curlers Anna Sloan and Michael Goodfellow and qualified coaches will travel to Ireland to raise awareness and be on the ice to assist anyone interested in trying the sport – adults, children and wheelchair users.
Several members of the ICA including Johnjo Kenny and David Whyte will also be there to assist with the come and try sessions and take part in a demonstration game.
This is very exciting news as it could open the door to the ICA’s primary aim – a permanent curling facility in Ireland.
The ice rink at Tallaght is only temporary, but with other ice sports such as skating and ice hockey also looking for a home, raising awareness and creating a demand is paramount.
An ICA sub-committee has been working hard behind the scenes to get the event organised. Stones need to be taken over and the ice prepared. The logistics of equipment, transport, marketing and accommodation are well advanced and online booking of come & try sessions is now available.
ICA President David Whyte said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase curling as we seek to develop closer relations with other winter sports, the public sector and commercial enterprises. We aspire to establish the sport of curling in Ireland and increase the membership if the ICA.
“Our thanks go to the World Curling Federation whose support will help us promote the event, as well as giving the visit the kudos of an ‘Olympic Celebration Tour’ event, which automatically involves curlers who have taken part in past Winter Olympic Games. This will give the event priceless publicity with the Irish media.
“All we need now are people to register for a session via our website and then come along to Tallaght and try curling.
“I love curling and I just want others to try it and hopefully get the same enjoyment out of the sport as I do.”
On Wednesday evening (5th December 2018) at Greenacres Curling Rink, two teams of Irish Curlers competed against Ardrossan Castle Curling Club in the annual match for the Belfast Medal. The contest is always looked forward to and was played in good spirit on lovely, keen, swinging ice.
Team 1– Neil Fyfe (skip), Jim Winning, Carolyn Hibberd ,Margarita Sweeney- Baird settled quickly and maintained the lead throughout the game. Some spectacular shots from the skip left the opposition scratching their heads and wondering what they could possibly try next! Final score was 11-2.
Team 2– Martin Sutherland (Skip), Christine Furey, Gilly Drury, Clare McCormick had a closer battle to begin with but after scoring 3 at the 3rd end, they settled into a winning streak. Never write off opposition skip Donny Shedden however, who had a chance of scoring 5 at the last end to even the game. Sighs of relief from the Irish as his attempt just failed. Final score was 8-4.
Following the game, tea/ coffee and sandwiches were enjoyed by both squads and an enjoyable hour was spent in each other’s company.
Thank you to the members who took part. We are looking forward to defending the trophy next year.
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 medal was originally played for between Belfast Union and RCCC. The teams now contest the beautiful wooden trophy fashioned by Ardrossan curler Donnie Sheddon for the fixture.
This friendly annual event, was revived by the ICA in 1994 but was first played in 1861. Originally we hoped to play it alternating between Irish and Scottish ice rinks, however we cannot provide ice time in Ireland at the moment.
This annual competition format is for two teams from each club playing a single eight end game each and the aggregate score across the two rinks determines the winner.
Coaches blog on the past few days in Kelowna at World Mixed Curling Championships.
Day 3: Ireland 10-6 Brazil
I am happy to be corrected but this may have been Ireland’s first sporting victory since Liam Brady popped one in the net at Landsdowne Road in 1987 (ed: Ireland vs Brazil friendly football match for those not in the know).
Things did not start well though and we were quickly down 5-0 after 3 ends. Brazil’s skip could draw anything to the button no matter what was in front of her. Ireland were in trouble. Thankfully a 3 in the 4th end stemmed the tide.
Following a ‘wee chat’ at half time and a change in tactics and after Brazil took their 1 in the 5th end Ireland went into overdrive and scored a 3 in the 6th to tie the game 6-6. Ireland went onto steal a 3 in the 7th end and another steal of 1 in the final end to run out comfortable winners despite the rocky start and record Ireland’s first win of the week. Confidence was much higher going into the 8pm games versus The Netherlands.
Thankfully the Brazil Coach has agreed to swap his jersey with me at the end of the week. He is of similar build and I was struggling to find an athlete with the same curves!!!
Day 3: Ireland 12-3 The Netherlands
A resounding victory on James Russell’s 50th cap for Ireland in 6 ends versus a surprisingly under-performing Netherlands team. Ireland set the tone from the first end with a resounding 6 which appears to be the highest end score in the competition. By half time it was 8-2 and Ireland were in control with good accuracy. The Netherlands scored a 1 in the 5th end but Ireland closed out the game in the 6th end with a 4 to win 12-3.
After a wee drink with a visibly shell shocked Netherlands team it was straight home to bed as undefeated Russia were next at 8am and USA at 4pm. A tough assignment against the world ranked No.2 team that contained some world championship silver medallists.
Day 4: Ireland 3-8 Russia
A slightly flattering score line against an emotionless but highly skilled Russian team. One of our objectives was to make them smile and we got one or two smirks out of them.
Ireland took the lead with a single in end 1. This rattled the Russians a bit who hit back with a 2 in the second. Ireland levelled in the 3rd end but Russia pulled away with a 2 in the 4th end. They thought it was a 3 with one biting the house. The match umpire said it was in but Alisa stuck to her guns and called for a measure. Just out was the result. I blame a ‘dodgy hole’ but we took it and a bit of the so called ‘luck of the Irish’ came our way.
However Russia stole a 2 in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. Ireland dug in and grinded out a single in the 6th. Russia again took a 2 when they had hammer. In the 8th end Russia quickly ran us out of stones and hands were shaken before the end.
Ireland played really well against very quality opposition with clear designs on winging the competition. The only real difference was they took twos when they had hammer whilst we took singles.
The defeat was softened by the drinks purchased in the bar afterwards by our opponents!!!!
USA beckoned at 4pm.
Day4: Ireland 2 – 6 USA
This defeat was a combination of many things. Irish fatigue with 4 games in 28 hours and USA finally getting their A game out following 3 consecutive defeats.
In addition to this a lack of communication in the first half did not help matters.
Ireland trailed by by 3 to 1 at half time but soon became 5-1 after end 5. It could have been a hand shake at end 6 with Ireland lying 3 against before James made a tremendous draw to the 4 foot for a 1. USA took another 1 in end 7 and hands were shaken midway through end 8 once we were run out of stones.
USA were clinical and we just could not match them. The USA coach confided that she watched us versus Switzerland and The Netherlands and warned her team that
“we were an ‘awesome’ team with enough capability to beat them”.
I like to think of it as justified respect for Ireland.
It was a special occasion for our LA team member KT Kerr playing against her country of birth. A good time was had by both teams in the bar afterwards before team Ireland and Austria went on the well organised pub crawl arranged by the local committee. Arran and I made it to the small hours and found all the Irish pubs in Kelowna. There are just 2 by the way!
News filtered through that morning that Russia were finally beaten. Who were Ireland’s next opponent but the team that beat them, Finland who themselves had aspirations of doing very well in the competition.
Ireland 4-3 Finland (after extra end)
What a game of high intensity, skilled and sh*t in your pants curling.
It was clear from the outset that Finland were quality opposition but Ireland were up for the fight following a chat about improved communication and the importance of good guards from the outset.
Finland had to play a perfect hit and roll across to take their 1 in the first end. A blank end in the 2nd meant Ireland retained the hammer. James Russell played a delicate draw to take 1 in the third to tie the game. A poor end in the 4th saw Finland score a 2 and take a 3-1 lead at half time.
A positive half time discussion meant Ireland’s going back out firmly believing a win was possible.
Ireland reduced the deficit by one in the 5th end which was followed by a blanking the 6th. Following some exceptional guards and draws by Katie, Arran, Alisa and James, Ireland stole a very important point to tie the game going down the last. Whilst not having the hammer Ireland looked confident but a mistake by Finland was needed. This came in the very last stone. James had spotted that the Finnish skip was a tad weaker on his outurn and James placed his final stone out wide on the 12 foot and invite Finland to either go for a hit and stick or a draw to an empty 8 foot. He opted to go for the hit and stick but he slid marginally wide and whilst he cleared the Irish stone his slid off to the side and an accidental blank. Extra end and by now a huge crowd had gathered as an Irish win had significant implications for Australia and Switzerland.
As we were without the hammer again we needed to steal. The following was the sequence of Irish stones – guard, guard, guard, guard, guard, guard, guard and a draw to the 8 foot by James and hidden by numerous guards. The Finnish skip had to draw to the 4 foot for the win. However he slid out light and despite a wee pop, it overcurled and caught an Irish guard leaving Ireland with a momentous win and huge cheers from the USA, Swiss and Aussie teams standing behind me plus the crowd upstairs.
An exceptional game of curling by both sides that had everything. I don’t normally get too emotional but a tear was shed afterwards whilst packing up after the game. Finland were understandably gutted as it prevented them from making the play offs but joined us shortly after for a drink and we remain good friends.
A wee Irish celebration continued back at the house.
Day 6: Ireland 4-9 Denmark
Final day of the round robin saw us face Denmark who had already qualified for the play offs and as we were out, it was a dead rubber. It would have been nice to finish with a win but Denmark were too strong and ran out 9-4 winners in 6 ends.
Whilst it may have been a competition of a few could and should haves, Team Ireland performed exceptionally well against high standard opposition in a ‘group of death’ and can hold their heads very high. We have made many friends at the competition and the future of Irish Curling looks good. It was certainly my proudest moment in my curling career.