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Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Irish Senior Bridge Team Euros 2018

At this moment in time the Irish Senior Bridge Team has just moved into the lead in the European Championship Senior Teams event. This event qualifies for the d'Orsi Bowl which is the over 60s equivalent of the Bermuda Bowl. As I write this article Ireland are leading Hungary in their current match while France trail 15-7 to Spain. I expect France to catch up and defeat Spain so Ireland could end the match back in 2nd place.

The Irish team in this event is

BJ O'Brien
Ranald Milne
Padraig O'Briain
Michael O'Briain
Adam Mesbur
Nick Fitzgibbon

Mesbur and Fitzgibbon were the driving force which led Ireland to a silver medal in the European Championships of 2006. Some years ago they won the Cavandish Pairs which is arguably the toughest event in Europe out side of the main pairs championships. Not so well known at this level and up against serious world class pairs like Helgemo Helness it would take a brave soul to put money on two Irish lads who were not even on the Irish Open team. However I did mention their presence back in 2014 when I wrote a blog before the start of the Cavandish 2014 event. As nobody purchased them in the auction one presumes they had to invest the minimum auction fee themselves.
Anyway they won the event which took place over 5 long sessions.
40 plus years on since they partnered up  Mesbur and Fitzgibbon can be found twice a week at the Partnership Bidding practice tables of BBO.

The O'Briain brothers are also two of Irelands long time bridge players and recently attended the Seniors Bermuda Bowl getting as far as the quarter finals before running out of stamina against a strong USA senior team backboned by the Clerkin brothers from Monaghan.

Our final pair is the teacher player partnership of Ranald Milne and BJ O'Brien. Ranald Milne recently retired as Irelands premier bridge teacher and  Grandmaster BJ O'Brien who is an avid player of bridge. After a shaky start to this event BJ and Ranald had climbed into 6th place in the Butler. With 22 teams there could be as many as 66 pairs in the Butler but some teams are probably playing 4 handed. BJ can be found regularly playing on http://bridge-now.com where he is usually in the weekly top 10. However most weeks CBAI treasurer James Mullally  outruns him.
No doubt BJ is pulling on his togs for the 2nd match of the day as we speak.

I think they call him the incredible BJ O'Brien as nobody can believe all the contracts he makes and all the opponents contracts he defeats. BJ has developed a great declaring ability due to his lack of a complicated bidding system. His sole ambition on every hand is to make a plus score. BJ is seldom far away when the prizes are given out in any Irish bridge event. A very nice man but don't mention the war because you will lose it. An angry BJ is not to be trifled with....Happily he seldom gets angry ... but on National Geographic I have seen some safari tourists  anger a rhino or hippo or elephant. Its hard to drive away with the car wheels facing the sky ...and a rhino horn through the window or similar.


Meanwhile Hungarys batters have unleashed 29 runs on the Irish Seniors and we are back in Silver medal position. However there is some potential for gains on the final 3 boards. Depends on if Mesbur Fitzgibbon fancy a slam on a finesse and a 3-3 break .. thats about 16% odds. Its not an Irish slam as they miss 2 aces ..

Ah I almost forgot ... NPC Derek O'Gorman a very strong player in his own right but too young for this Senior Team.

Meanwhile in Ireland Storm Hector is blowing hard. Not so much rain in Swords but its blowing.
I went out to the back garden this morning to find my Lidl seed pots blown to bits. I was able to put them back together but now I don't know which is a carrot or which is a beetroot. Just have to grow them and see what appears. Could be interesting.
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