P.E.I. knows it won't be easy

PETER RUICCI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- Were it not for the exuberance that younger teammates provide, Kathy O'Rourke could very well be retired today.

Instead, she's anxiously preparing for the 2010 Scotties, which begin Saturday at the Essar Centre.

The skip of the Prince Edward Island champions, O'Rourke, who calls the games but throws second stones, ended last season having already been to five Canadian women's championships. Plus, she'd won the 1989 Canadian mixed championship.

"I was seriously thinking of retiring," said the 45-year-old O'Rourke, who played with lead Tricia Affleck last season.

O'Rourke mentioned to Affleck that she should consider asking juniors Erin Carmody and Geri-Lynn Ramsay to form a rink.

Affleck did, but asked O'Rourke to be a part of it, too.

Carmody, who throws skip stones, and Ramsay, the rink's third, combined to win the last three, PEI provincial titles.

"I knew it would be a good team so that wasn't really a tough decision," said O'Rourke, who admits she feels hungry again alongside her 21-year-old teammates. "They're great shot-makers and they bring a lot of enthusiasm. It recharges you, certainly. If it wasn't for these two young girls, I might not be here."

Representing the Charlottetown Curling Club, the team stole two points in the final end to beat Tammy Dewar of the Montague Curling Club 8-6 in the provincial final.

O'Rourke calls her teammates "hardworking" and says she's excited about bringing them to the Canadian championships.

At the Scotties, she said the rink's plan is simply to concentrate on one shot and one end at a time.

"There won't be anything easy at the Scotties," O'Rourke said. "We just have to keep grinding and our goal is to do as well as we can."

O'Rourke spoke of defending champion Jennifer Jones, British Columbia's Kelly Scott, Amber Holland of Saskatchewan and Ontario's Krista McCarville as pre-event favourites.

"But we feel we can compete with anyone there," she added. "We're looking forward to this."


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