We held a tourney on Irish land but it was won by an Englishman…

Galway 2022: Champ Robbo with his trophy, presumably found at the end of a rainbow

FOCAL’s Irish holiday kicked off in style this past weekend as ZoomDown host Paul Anderson welcomed us to his home for a uniquely enjoyable event in County Galway.

Borne by planes, trains, automobiles, bicycles, boats and buses, a diaspora of anagramming Brits joined a healthy crowd of local Irish Countdowners last weekend, kicking things off with a group meal on Friday night by Galway’s beautiful Eyre Square.

Galway 2022: Group meal. The British are coming!

After enjoying half an hour more in bed than they are used to in their homeland on a Saturday, five of the British contingent headed to Cappagh park at the top of the morning to take part in the Knocknacarra parkrun. There was an excellent photographer there who captured some great action shots of our perambulating puzzlers, plus a lovely group photo at the end.

After the parkrun it was time for the anagramming to begin over at Paul’s house. Plenty of great matches were played between the 29 players until, after the six heat games, Callum carried his form over from our last event – in the North East – to be the only unbeaten player, while Robbo claimed the second spot in the final as the only player to have won five out of six games. Tom rounded out an all-Yorkshire podium. The final was broadcast live as a ZoomDown special, and you can watch it below.

Robbo took the lead straight away as Callum was overambitious in round 1, and extended it with a good natural spot in Round 4. From there on Callum was forced into taking risks but his efforts left him grasping at straws as the luck of the Irish deserted him and his opponent didn’t give an inch. Robbo then sealed a superb performance with a rapid conundrum solve to secure a thoroughly deserved 130-95 scoreline, and his second Irish co:event title (he also won Dublin all the way back in 2015!)

Galway 2022: The group pose after the event in Galway (not Yorkshire!)

Countdowning complete for the day, the house party began, complete with football, curry, pool, darts, and a 80+ song karaoke session in which everything from Destiny’s Child to Dr. Dre to Tenacious D to Dragostea Din Tei was covered.

After some touristing which apparently included Robbo’s open-top bus victory tour, our thoroughly satisfied eventgoers headed home with a wonderful weekend behind him. Or at least most of them did…

… because some of our local Irish folk (including host Paul) are heading across the country to Waterford this coming Saturday for the second of our back-to-back Irish events. And what’s more, they’ll even be joined by two of the travelling Brits! At the time of writing, Fiona and Tom are currently midway through a mammoth bicycle trip from Galway to Waterford. If they can make it, so can you! It’s not too late to join in the FOCAL Irish extravaganza, so get yourself down to Waterford this Saturday. More details of the event are on our event page here.

The first leg of Fiona and Tom’s Tour de Ireland.

What next?

We now have a complete calendar for the remainder of 2022! After next weekend’s event in Waterford, we also have:

BRIGHTON on 16th July

BIRMINGHAM on 13th August

BLACKPOOL on 10th September

EDINBURGH on 15th October (webpage to follow very soon)

BRAINTREE on 5th November (webpage to follow very soon)

MILTON KEYNES (Focal Finals + Open tournament) on 26th November

Keep checking back at our Upcoming Events page to see the latest event details as they land.

George’s strong 6th place finish in Galway has taken him into the Top 8, indeed all the way up to 7th place, knocking Jack Worsley down one place into 8th, and displacing Tim Hebbes from the Top 8 altogether. Keep attending FOCAL events for the rest of the year for your chance to earn FOCAL points and make your way up the League Table!

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