O’Leary rink repeats as senior curling champions in Amherst

Dave Mathieson
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Pinkney repeats on women’s side

Team O’Leary gathers around the Nova Scotia senior curling championship trophy after winning the title Tuesday afternoon with a 7-2 win over the Scott Saunders team. The 2014 Nova Scotia senior champions are: (from left) Alan O’Leary, skip; Andy Dauphinee, mate; Danny Christianson, second; and Harold McCarthy, lead.

AMHERST – The Alan O’Leary rink repeated as the Nova Scotia senior curling champions at the Amherst Curling Club Tuesday afternoon.

“This is the second year we’ve been in seniors and this is the second year we’ve been able to win,” said O’Leary while sitting down in the clubhouse with his teammates after the win.

O’Leary, who is a former Tankard champion, and his team of Andy Dauphinee, Danny Christianson, and Harold McCarthy, defeated the Scott Saunders team 7-2 in the championship game.

“The competition was really good this year,” said O’Leary. “We had two losses, and last year we had one loss."

O’Leary’s team, which curls out of the Mayflower Club in Halifax, started the tournament by winning the A-side of the triple knockout format.

“That helped us after a couple losses and we got the bye to the final,” said O’Leary. “That gave us a day off on Monday. The 24-hour break was good.”

The entire team has Tankard experience.

“We didn’t play together very much over the years but we respected each other as good players and it’s been a good fit."

O’Leary says senior’s competition has given them a new lease on life as curlers.

“We played good in the tankard for so many years, and then you get to seniors and we’re the young guys instead of the old guys,” he said. “So it’s a breath of fresh air and provides some energy, or you think you have more energy.”

O’Leary also liked the ice at the Amherst Curling Club.

“It was consistent and fast but not too fast. It was just right for us,” he said. “After you played a game or two you knew exactly what the ice was going to do, so it was just a matter of making the shots.”

The team will now prepare for the Canadian seniors championship in Yellowknife, which runs from March 22 to 30.

“We had a good run last year and ended up in fifth place, so the goal will be to take a better run at winning the whole thing this year.”

Colleen Pinkney’s team won on the women’s side in Amherst on Saturday. They will also represent Nova Scotia in Yellowknife. Pinkney won last year’s provincials, and then went on to win the Canadian seniors championship in Summerside, P.E.I.

“Last year was a lot of fun,” said O’Leary. “It was exciting to watch them win a national title for Nova Scotia. They’re off to the worlds in Scotland in April.”

O’Leary is from Cole Harbour and said he had a lot of fun in Amherst.

“The whole week was run well by the volunteers, the icemakers and the officials. It was fun to be here,” he said.

Lisa Emery, event chairperson, said she’s happy the curlers had a good time.

“All teams commented on how great the ice was and how consistent it was to play, so we’re really excited to hear that because it can be confusing to play if the ice changes in the middle of a game,” said Emery. “We absolutely have to thank our ice technicians for doing such a great job and thank the Town of Amherst for sponsoring the event.”

She also thanked all the volunteers.

“It’s really important for the Amherst Curling Club to host events like this and to get their name out into the curling world,” she said. “We needed people in the bar, people in the kitchen, people to keep the place clean, and people to score and time the games, and they all made the tournament a success.

The tournament took place while Olympic curling was wrapping up in Sochi, Russia.

“During the event we were watching the curling on the ice and watching the curling on TV at the same time, so people were swiveling their heads,” said Emery. “During the week some of our younger players came out to watch the curling and it’s growing in excitement because of the Olympics.”

The Amherst Curling Club has a light rocks program for children eight-years or older, and they also have a junior program.

“Anybody can come at any time and ask for lessons and we’ll see what we can do for them,” said Emery.

She says curling is a great sport for any age.

“Take a person like Roger Bacon for example. He’s 89-year’s-old and he’s still curling here. He’s been curling for about 80 years.”




Organizations: Amherst Curling Club, Mayflower Club

Geographic location: Amherst, Nova Scotia, Halifax Yellowknife Summerside Scotland Sochi Russia

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