The World closed championships got underway this morning following a very impressive opening ceremony last night. The temperature was in the thirties once again today but a nice breeze provided for better pulling conditions although underfoot conditions were not ideal with the ground barely tracking.
Ireland began poorly in the men’s 700kg competition loosing to Switzerland and the Netherlands and loosing a bad end to Latvia. They recovered well picking up a maximum 12 points in the next four contests. The Irish were tied with Germany for fourth position and went into the last pull of the league system needing a point against Sweden to get through. A gutsy performance saw them winning the end they needed to progress setting up a semi final against Switzerland. This was a gruelling contest as the Irish won rope in both ends but failed to finish off their Swiss opponents which left them in a bronze pull-off against Sweden. Ireland dropped in very well and pulled a great end to take the advantage. Sweden fought back in the second end to bring the contest into a deciding pull. Ireland showed sheer fighting spirit in the deciding pull to win the bronze medal, an amazing performance considering their poor start. The Irish team was Donal Conroy, Billy Wall, John McGovern, Shay Ryan, Gerard Ferguson, Connell Ward, Jimmy Ward, Richard Burke & Paul Rowland. Netherlands defeated Switzerland to win the gold medal.
The Irish entered a strong team into the 580kg competition in the afternoon. They began well taking nine points from three matches. They then came up against Switzerland and performed very well shaking the Swiss in both ends but just lost out. Ireland were in a battle with England for the fourth position and the contest between these rivals was very entertaining. Ireland won a few feet of rope in the first end but could not finish them off. England who had a poor start to the competition upped their game to defeat the Irish and qualify for the semis leaving Ireland to settle for fifth position. England pulled well to qualify for the final where they faced the Netherlands. The championships have been dominated by the Dutch so far and they went on to win their second gold medal of the day defeating England in straight ends in the final. Switzerland defeated Sweden to win the bronze medal.
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