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2019 European Curling Championships
#1
In these C Championships, eight Women’s and ten Men’s teams will be competing for two places in each of the Women’s and Men’s European Curling Championships B-Division 2019, which will be held in Helsingborg, Sweden from 15-23 November.

The eight Women’s teams are: Austria, Belarus, Croatia, France, Ireland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia and the ten Men’s teams are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia.

Round-robin play will run from Friday 12 April until Tuesday 16 April. After the round-robin the top-four teams on the Women’s and Men’s side will progress to the play-offs. The top two teams – ranked one and two – will then play each other at 09.00 (Eastern European Time) in the gold medal games on Wednesday 17 April. The winners of these games will claim the first places in the European Curling Championships B-Division. Also, at this time the teams ranked third and fourth will play each other. The winners of the 3v4 games and the losers of the gold medal games will then play in silver medal finals at 14.30 the same day. This will decide the second Women’s and Men’s teams to qualify for the European Curling Championships B-Division.

[Image: 1zmph8w.jpg]
The Four Provinces Flag Of Ireland

MEN - James Russell (Skip), Arran Cameron (Third), Steven Callan (Second), Eoin McCrossan (Lead)
WOMEN - Alison Fyfe (Skip), Jen Ward (Third), Jacqui Barr (Second), Katie Kerr (Lead)


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Alison Fyfe (skip)

Yesterday saw an Ireland Mens' team eventually defeat a dogged Luxembourg by 11 shots to 8 after an extra end. In their 2nd game today, Ireland were forced into playing catch-up after a poor start, running out of stones in the 10th end to lose 5-7 to Roumania. They did redeem themselves tonight, comfortably defeating Greece by 11-5. Belgium and Slovenia lie in wait tomorrow, with Croatia and Bulgaria to come on Monday.

The Irish Women had an amazing finish to their opening game against Belarus. Ireland were 3-5 down after 7 ends and scored 4 shots in the 8th end to put themselves in a strong position with 2 ends to go. In an unbelievable 9th end, Belarus roared back with 6 shots of their own to win 11-7. They also redeemed themselves in their 2nd game today, scoring 3 shots in the final end to win by 9 shots to 8. They play against Croatia and Roumania tomorrow and then Austria on Monday.
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#2
In Sunday's games, Ireland Men led all the way against Belgium to record an 11-8 victory at lunchtime, but fell away badly later to suffer a 1-9 defeat by Slovenia, one of the early pacemakers. Despite losing 4 shots in the 1st end, the Irishmen made a strong recovery to win 12-5 on Monday morning against Croatia. Once again though, they disappointed in their 2nd game of the day, losing 4-9 to Bulgaria, another of the leading teams.

With 2 games to go in the round-robin, they have won 4 and lost 3, but are still tantalisingly close to promotion to the B Division. France have already qualified for the play-off games with 7 wins, followed by Bulgaria, Roumania and Slovenia on 5 wins. Joining Ireland on 4 wins is Belgium. They now have to play Liechtenstein and France tomorrow to complete their round-robin games, so qualification is still in their own hands, although 2 wins might be necessary.

In the Women's games on Sunday, Ireland demolished Croatia 10-2 and then, in an amazing game against Roumania, they scored 4 shots in the last end to force an extra end and then scored 3 shots without the hammer to win 11-8. Unfortunately, despite outscoring Austria today by 6 ends to 4, they still lost the game 9-11.

This leaves them in a similar situation to the Men, still in with a chance of a top 4 finish with 2 games to go. Belarus lead with 4 wins, followed by Ireland, Slovenia and Slovakia on 3 wins. Austria, Croatia and France are just behind on 2 wins and all have a chance of getting through. Ireland have a difficult finish with Slovenia and Slovakia still to be played tomorrow, but I would hope that 1 win might be enough to progress.
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#3
In the Men's Championships, Ireland gave themselves half a chance after beating Liechtenstein by 9 shots to 7, thanks to a strong finish. However a 3-7 defeat to table-topping France means that they have failed to qualify for the last 4.

France finished with 9 wins out of 9 games, with Bulgaria finishing on 7 wins. Slovenia and Roumania make up the numbers on 6 wins, ahead of Ireland and Belgium on 5 wins. France now play Bulgaria in the Gold Medal game with the winner gaining promotion to the B Division, and the loser playing the winner of the Slovenia v Roumania game to decide the 2nd promoted team.

Yesterday's statement that Ireland had a difficult end to the round-robin was emphasised by their 0-12 capitulation against Slovenia in the opening game. They fared much better in their game against Slovakia, but fell away badly, losing 6 shots in the last 3 ends to go down 6-9. If they had managed to hold on to their lead, they would have qualified for the last 4.

Belarus finished top with 6 wins out of 7, with Slovakia on 5 wins. Slovenia were on 4 wins and Austria had 3 wins, the same as Ireland, France and Croatia, but Austria went through with the best head-to-head record. The games tomorrow are on the same basis as the Men, with Belarus v Slovakia in the Gold Medal game and Slovenia v Austria in the play-off.

Both Irish teams finished in reasonable 5th places, but must be kicking themselves in that each could have done well enough to get into the final placing games.
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