Today in the Sunday Independent weekly bridge column John Comyn indicated the Jim Cahill Invitational Pairs would have provided suitable practice for this years Lady Milne squad. The top end of the Jim Cahill Invitational included several European Class pairs (as opposed to World Class). Some of the players on the top 7 pairings could have claims to be world class but that is another argument for another day.
As this years Lady Milne squad involves 6 pairs is John really suggesting that all 6 pairs should have been invited or allowed entry in some way to the Invitational Pairs. At the bottom end of the Invitational Pairs we have Donal Garvey Pat Quinn Terry Walsh BJ O'Brien Karel deRaeymaker Kelan O'Connor. In Tier3 on the overall results we have John Carroll Mark Moran Wojciech Gorczyca & Marcin Rudzinski Eddie Fitzgerald & Michael McDonagh.
I don't know how to run a comparison but I would expect if 3 teams of the above mentioned 6 men played a 2 session teams event against the Lady Milne squads 6 pairs we would see a comfortable victory for the bottom half of the Invitational Pairs.
Some years ago we ran a weekend session where the Senior over 60s squad took on the Irish Open team in a 3 pairs versus 3 pairs training session. The Open Team won by average of 14-6 per match of 16 boards. That senior team included Adam Mesbur Nick Fitzgibbon Pat Barry Rex Anderson and I cannot recall off the top of my head if it was BJ+1 or the O'Briain brothers who filled the 3rd slot that weekend.
If the Lady Milne squad feel the need to check their strength against some opponents they could issue a challenge to for example The Regent Bridge Club or the Bankers Bridge Club. I suspect either of these clubs could field capable teams up for the challenge.
The above named 12 players would be who the Lady Milne squad would replace in the Invitational Pairs if it came to it. Some other capable pairs such as McMaugh MacCormac , the O'Briain brothers, Tommy Garvey John Phelan Diarmuid Reddan Rory Timlin Michael McGloughlin James Heneghan and a few Northern Ireland males and maybe a few Junior Camrose current players could also be considered for inclusion in the Invitational Pairs ahead of most Lady Milne squad members.
Recently the Lady Milne squad have been receiving some training from one Michael Byrne a fine English international player and coach of many English youth teams over the last decade or so.
This should enable a placing of at best 3rd to be achieved in the Lady Milne Trophy.
Currently Scotland and whatever combination England will send are too strong.
My only aim is to encourage all Irish teams to more training and dedication and eventually more successes at international level. The 2 recent Irish Open formations have had lots of success to a European extent. The Bermuda Bowl proved a "Bridge Too Far" in 2007 but getting there was an achievement in itself. I saw Thomas Hanlon's happiness at reaching that goal along with the rest of his team and NPC David Jackson. Paul Porteus even threw us a party at the Airport.
So to more Irish success and no more Lady Milne wooden spoons. We might win the Junior Camrose as well if we sneak up on England.