It’s almost a week until the European Team Championship kicks off. This year, Team Ireland have three chances of nabbing a trophy. Our crack teams of hardened baby-killers will be competing in the Fantasy ETC for the fourth year, the 40K ETC for the third year and the Flames of War ETC for the first time.
In honour of the Nerd Olympics, we’re running a two part series on the history of Team Ireland. We’ll look at 40K today and Fantasy this weekend. This should give the uninitiated a quick guide to our record on the international stage. The records are somewhat patchy, we’re definitely missing some team photos but we’re pretty confident that the following is true. Please correct me on any errors.
First up, a brief history of Team Ireland 40K…
Home Nations Championship 2010
The first Home Nations Championship was held in Firestorm Games in Cardiff. Inspired by its Fantasy counterpart, it was considered a warmup for the ETC proper. It was a glorious debut. After triumphing over every other nation, they found time to display the glaring weakness of every Irish sporting team by almost bottling it against the softest opposition. For Team Ireland, their first international event was also their first, and to date only, tournament success. Great things were expected…
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European Team Championship 2010
Arrogant in their victory, the 40K team spent almost all their training time on the beach, drinking heavily. Although they won their first game, their hubris was their undoing. They suffered their first ever defeat in the second round. Most regrettably, it was at the hands of our ancient enemies, the Vikings. Draws against the Czechs and Welsh left us facing some familiar and vengeful faces. A defeat at the hands of our other ancient enemies, England, and a draw with the Faroe Islands left the team finishing a disappointing 19th of 24 nations. Hungover players trudged home.
There was a short film made at the event, which you can find here.
Home Nations Championship 2011
With the hosting rights going to the champions, the 2010 Championship was held in Cork. Our bid to retain the title ran into trouble immediately. A first round draw with a strangely effective Team Northern Ireland gave those sorry souls their second international point and riled the Irish team into action. They took it all out on some innocent Barbarians and went on to beat the Scots to end Day 1, just behind the leaders. Day 2 was far less successful, a narrow draw against the Welsh prefaced our first Home Nations defeat. The English beat us to claim the title and knock us into third place.
Round 1: Ireland 85-75 Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 106-54 Barbarians
Round 3: Ireland 86-74 Scotland
Round 4: Wales 81-79 Ireland
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European Team Championship 2011
Following in the proud tradition of 90s-era Irish football teams, Team Ireland open their campaign by avenging themselves on the team that beat them in the previous ETC. Finland are convincingly crushed in what proves to be a false dawn. A disappointing draw with Belgium is followed by a defeat at the hands of those other Vikings, Sweden. The second day sees Ireland unlucky to draw with Denmark, lose heavily to the host nation and smash an under-strength Austrian team. Two wins, two draws and two losses show an improvement on the previous year but no-one is pleased with a mid-table finish.
Round 1: Ireland 91-69 Finland
Round 2: Ireland 82-78 Belgium
Round 3: Sweden 122-38 Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Denmark
Round 5: Switzerland 105-55 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 103-57 Austria
Six Nations Championship 2012
Here’s where it all becomes second-hand information. You’ll see that the competition was renamed the Six Nations Championship. Belgium were invited to join, probably due to the hope that they would bring waffles. The tournament starts badly for Team Ireland with the first loss to a Welsh side. But the Irish avenge themselves on the Belgians and Northern Irish for previous draws and beat the Scots once more. The scope of those wins suggests a team unlikely to stumble against weaker opposition. But the English once again prove too strong and take the gold.
Round 1: Wales 87-73 Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 103-57 Belgium
Round 3: Ireland 118-42 Northern Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 113 -47 Scotland
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European Team Championship 2012
So, that’s Team Ireland 40K. Born in victory, somewhat less glorious ever since. But each year sees new hope as another team steps up. The Six Nations results bode well for Ireland. If they can continue to mangle weaker teams this proficiently, then we could see Team Ireland 40K finishing within the top ten for the first time. The first round will tell us a great deal, the Latvians are one of the top ten teams and a good result would be excellent.