ICA Retain the Belfast Medal

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.

Fyfe Trophy winners at Braehead

As the Irish mixed team in Canada pack up their kit, the rank and file members of the ICA turned out in force at Braehead Curling Rink today to contest the Irish Open Championships for The Fyfe Trophy.

Fyfe Trophy winners – David, Louise, Clare and Karin with the Pres

Six rinks played four 4-end games,two before lunch and two after and after a some very complicated maths, due to the Schenkel system, the gold medal winners for 2018 were the team of David Hume, Louise Kerr, Karin Hutchison and Clare McCormick.

Silver – Sue Scotland, Frances Whyte, Neil Fyfe and John Burns

The silver medals went to the team of Neil Fyfe, John Burns, Frances Whyte and Susan Scotland.

Bronze – Bill, Jacqui, Paul and Frances

The bronze medallists were Bill Gray, Paul Cromey, Jacqui Davidson and Frances Donald.

Consolation – David, Marie, Anne and Eoin

The consolation prizes were to Marie O’Kane, Eoin McCrossan, Anne Gibson and David McHale. Thanks to President David for doing the medal and trophy presentations, secretary Bill for his hard work organising the competition and all who turned out to play, especially the Hutchison  family.

WMCC game 8


Arran and Ailsa at the world championships – photo credit WCF

The Irish Mixed team of James Russell, Ailsa Anderson, Arran Cameron, Katie Kerr and coach Steve Callan ended their adventure at the World Mixed Championships in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada with a defeat to Denmark.

The experienced Danish team got of to a flyer with a three at the first end, followed by a steal of two that effectively put the game out of Ireland’s reach. Twos were exchanged until the game was ended before the last end.

Russia, Denmark and Switzerland qualify from Ireland’s group for the final stages.

WMCC game 7


A storming extra-end victory for the Irish mixed curling team against Finland at the world championships in Canada took their win-loss record to 3-4 and boosted their confidence ahead of second in the group Denmark later today.


Ailsa, Arran and Katie on the ice – photo credit WCF

A very tactical game ensued with lots of singles and blank ends on the scoreboard as the two teams fought to keep last stone advantage. Finland had last stone in the last end, which was blanked and, therefore, the extra end, but Ireland keep their nerve to steal a one for the victory.

Their last game is at midnight (our time) tonight.

Come on Ireland!


WMCC game 6


Arran and Katie on sweeping duty – photo credit WCF

There was another defeat for the Irish mixed curling team in Kelowna, BC, through the night, going down 6-2 to the USA.

Singles were exchanged over the first three ends before the Americans stole a one and then a two to put clear water between them and the Irish.Ireland struggled to get more that a one on the scoreboard and the USA ran out comfortable winners.

The team have a break now till midnight our time (4pm in western Canada) when they face Finland.

Come on Ireland!

WMCC game 5


James Russell in action against Russia – photo credit WCF

Ireland suffered their third defeat at the World Mixed Curling Championships in Canada, going down 8-3 to Russia.

James Russell, the skip of Team Ireland – photo credit WCF

It was textbook stuff from the Russians for the first four ends, limiting the Irish team to ones while taking twos when they had the hammer. A steal of two by the Russians in the fifth end heaped the pressure onto Ireland and, after scoring another single in the sixth, the Irish curlers lost yet another two at the seventh.

The team will now regroup before facing the USA at midnight (BST).

WMCC game 4


Ailsa and Katie mean business – photo credit WCF

A wonderful day for Ireland’s mixed team at the world championships recording their second win with a comprehensive rout of the Netherlands.

Ireland second Arran Cameron in action – photo credit WCF

A stunning six in the first end set the tone and after a few ends where they limited the Dutch to singles, a four in the sixth end meant the opposition offered handshakes.

Next up is Russia…….


WMCC game 3


Ireland’s mixed curling team of James Russell, Ailsa Anderson, Arran Cameron and Katie Kerr got their first win of the world championships today in Kelowna, British Columbia, with a 10-6 victory over Brazil.

Lefty James Russell delivers his stone – photo credit WCF

The first three ends of this contest were a bit of a nightmare for the boys and girls in green, losing a single, a three and then another one before they got on the scoreboard with a three at the fourth end. That saved them from a tongue-lashing from Stevie ‘Hairdryer’ Callan at the break.

Back on the ice, the Irish limited the Brazilians to a single in the fifth before thumping seven shots past the Samba sliders over the last three ends. A dominant second-half display that drew comparisons with a certain  world cup semi-final circa 2014.

If they can just nutmeg The Netherlands later on today……

Come on Ireland!

Kelowna craic

Our top team in Kelowna are not alone! Hoards of Irish fans have descended on the Rockies town to support the curlers.

Coach Steve Callan as well as composing a comprehensive match report (see below) has also been taking photos to record a few “special moments” of the world championships.

Jane Cameron and friends fly the flag.


Ireland’s super fans Elspeth and Struan Callan.


The team in their Craig Whyte Appreciation Society tee-shirts and junior Canadian member Alice

The view from the coach’s bench in the game v Australia.

The team headquarters is sandwiched by the Canadians on one side and the Swiss on the other.

Coach Callan commented:

“The team and support all arrived in beautiful Kelowna on Thursday 11 October and set up team Ireland’s base camp for the next 11 days. We soon found out our house was located in between team Canada and team Switzerland’s houses and both had their flags flying from trees at each house. Not to be outdone on the flag score we duly hoisted three flags of our own!
“There was serious concern over the health of skip James Russell who arrived with an injured shoulder and almost no neck movement. We believe the injury was caused by putting his hand in his pocket for a round of drinks. A nasty fall on the ice during Friday’s practice did not help the injury either and made it considerably worse. There  was serious concern amongst the team that James would not be fit to start the competition and Ireland would either have to play with three, or if the WCF allowed it, I could step in.
“Thankfully following heavy duty painkillers, acupuncture, massage, a witchdoctor and no sympathy from the team, James made a remarkable recovery within 24 hours to declare himself fit to start against Australia on Saturday night at 8pm local time  following the opening ceremony.
“Game 1 versus Australia started slowly for Ireland and were 4-2 down at half time with nerves having a negative impact. Following the restart Ireland fell 5-2 behind. However Ireland pulled 1 back in end 6 and then stole a 2 in end 7 to tie 5-5 going into the last end, but without the hammer. Australia used this to their advantage to draw to the button with their last stone to take the game 6-5.
“The support for Ireland was tremendous and was only outdone by Canadian and USA fans. Arran’s wife Jane, Ailsa’s mum and partner, Katie’s dad and Steve’s wife and two children Elspeth and Struan made plenty of noise for Ireland. Elspeth in particular was very supportive with her cheering and flag waving and was subject to significant media attention during the game.
“Whilst down about losing to a team Ireland were more than capable of beating, the blow was softened by the Aussie team buying several pitchers of beer in the bar afterwards and some good quality banter.
“Next up is a strong Switzerland team ranked sixth in the world on Sunday at 12 noon local time.
“Game 2 started similarly to that against Australia and Ireland found themselves 2 down after end 1. However Coach Callan observed from the evening before that the Swiss team preferred to play a hitting game so Ireland’s tactic was to get plenty of guards out front and draws behind and make life awkward for Switzerland. Ireland quickly imposed themselves on the game and got to half time 3-2 up and playing really well with confidence increasing after ends 2, 3 and 4. The Swiss knew they were in a game.
“Somehow end 5 worked out badly and Ireland shipped a 4 and the momentum swung back to Switzerland. Ireland hit back hard with a 2 in the sixth end to be 6-5 down. Switzerland took their 1 in the seventh end leaving Ireland needing to score 2 in the last to force an extra end. Following excellent stone placement by Katie, Arran and Alisa, James had straightforward draw to tie the game at 7-all.
“The extra end was exciting and nerve wrecking as Ireland had 4 stones counting before Switzerland’s final stone. Their skip played a delicate draw and looked like it was going to catch a guard and hand Ireland a famous but deserved victory. However, the so called “luck of the Irish” failed as the stone clipped the very edge of the guard stone and spun its way into the house and lie 1 and take the game.
“As  coach, I could not have been more proud of their efforts against Switzerland who are one of the world’s strongest curling nations. Ireland’s game management and accuracy was a massive improvement on the first game versus Australia and hopefully bodes well for the rest of the competition. Whilst deflated following the loss to Switzerland there is increased confidence within the team that some more positive results will come Ireland’s way.
“Next up is Brazil at 12 noon local time on Monday quickly followed by The
Netherlands at 8pm.”

WMCC game 2


After a spirited fightback to take this game to an extra-end, Ireland’s mixed team lost out, once again by one shot, in their second game at the World Mixed Curling Championships in Canada.

Ireland’s mixed team skip James Russell – photo credit WCF

The team had gone into the fourth end break leading 3-2 after stealing in two consecutive ends, but the Swiss swiftly wiped that advantage out, taking a four in the fifth. Ireland got a good two back in the sixth and after giving up a single, kept their nerve to score the deuce to tie the game up at seven all at the end of the eighth. The Swiss team then used the last stone advantage in the extra end to take the single for the win.

Next game for Ireland will be against Brazil at 8pm (our time) tomorrow.

Come on Ireland!