INTERNATIONAL: Ireland update
Ireland have seen plenty of action as a team this year unlike last year where their only action was the Senior Home International and the Celtic Cup. They had teams in the latter 2 matches in 2015 as well as the Junior Home International, the Senior World Cup and the Senior World Pairs. The Junior World Cup & Junior World Pairs did not feature Ireland due to rider unavailability
The first action for Ireland was at Ipswich where the Junior & Senior Home Internationals took place as well as the Celtic Cup. In the Junior Home International Ireland had 3 riders who were making their International debuts, namely Astley & Tyldesley’s Ciaran Collins, Ciaran Wenn of Norwich & Hethersett’s Adam Reeve. Hethersett’s Katie Adams completed the line-up and although they only scored 19 points between them the efforts of all 4 riders were not a reflection of their score. Ciaran Collins top scored with 6 points, Katie scored 5 with Ciaran Wenn & Adam scoring 4 each. England won the match with 61 points ahead of Wales on 39 with Scotland 3rd on 36
The Senior Home International saw Ciaran Collins double up where he joined Ipswich riders Lewis Roberts & Charlie Rumbold and Norwich riders Craig Norton & Gary Colby (the Ireland co-manager). After the 1st 4 races Ireland were level on 10 points with England, Scotland & Wales but that was as good as it got for them as they finished 4th with 30 points, England having won with 58 points from Wales on 49 and Scotland on 40. Gary scored 8 of Ireland’s points with Lewis & Charlie scoring 7 each (Charlie having scored Ireland’s only race win in heat 4), Ciaran scored 5 points and Craig, who had only returned to the sport a few weeks earlier, scored 3
The Celtic Cup featured Craig, Ciaran Wenn, Katie, co-manager Steve Copping, Lewis & Charlie with Adam as reserve. They managed 40 points between them with the Ipswich duo of Roberts & Rumbold scoring 16 between them. Craig & Katie managed 6 points each with Ciaran & Steve scoring 5 each and Adam 2 from 2 rides. Wales retained the Celtic Cup with 72 points from Scotland (who retained the John Murphy Shield) on 67
The World Championships were staged in the UK for the 1st time since 2003 and Ireland entered a team in the Senior World Cup where they had to face Australia, Wales & Scotland in a qualifying round at Poole to see which 2 countries would join Poland(2013 champions) & England(tournament hosts) in the final. Ireland could only field 3 riders in this match and this saw Poole rider Ben Donohue join up with Steve & Charlie but it was to be Australia (58 points) & Wales (45 points) who advanced to the final ahead of Scotland on 31 & Ireland on 24, of which Charlie scored 10 points, Ben 9 and Steve 5. This match was the end of an era for Ireland as Steve has now retired from International racing having declared his intention to do so upon the conclusion of the World Championships.
The World Pairs at Exeter saw Ben & Charlie joined by Ciaran Collins. Although it was another last place for them with 17 points it wasn’t for the lack of trying, especially in heat 7 when Ciaran briefly managed to get ahead of England’s Chris Timms exiting the pits bend before Timms got back ahead. Going into heat 15 Ireland needed to prevent Poland getting a maximum heat win which would give the Poles a run-off with England but Charlie & Ben were unable to split the Poles who retained the title after the run-off