Back your team! PokerStars’ Ireland v England Challenge at the 2024 Irish Open

Irish Open headline sponsor PokerStars is hosting a fun Ireland v England challenge during this year’s Irish Open festival – with the two nations going head-to-head in a series of tense contests both on and off the felt.

The action kicks off around 2pm on Tuesday, March 26. Head for the lawn just outside The Craic Den player lounge to watch Irish PokerStars’ Ambassador Fintan Hand and England’s Team PokerStars Pro Spraggy leading their elite teams in an inflatable Sumo Wrestling bout and inflatable Horse Racing obstacle course race.

Team England

With UKIPT Brighton champ and PokerStars Team Pro Spraggy at the helm, Team England is a fab mix of football pundits, pro players and online winners. Joining Spraggy is fellow PokerStars Team Pro Parker “Tonkaaaa” Talbot. He’s actually Canadian but happy to line up for the English posse. The rest of the team comprises The Club’s Adam McKola and Rory Jennings, along with Timothy Goodwin – who actually won his place in a Fintan Hand home game – plus a Power Path winner.

Team Ireland

Playing on home soil is PokerStars Team Pro Fintan Hand’s squad which includes Irish Poker Open Ambassador Chris Dowling, Irish Open regular Mark Buckley plus home game winner Johnny Devaney and a Power Path winner. To spice things up (maybe a lot!), a mystery guest is joining Team Ireland – to be announced next Tuesday – who is certain to fuel the international rivalry even more!

Home game winners Timothy Goodwin and Johnny Devaney won their places through the home games of the opposing captains but, as Johnny is Irish and Timothy lives in England, they decided to swap!

Challenge schedule

Following Tuesday’s inflatable contest, the rest of the Challenge will take place indoors. The Games Night contest will start around 10.30pm on Wednesday, March 27 in The Craic Den. On Thursday, it’s Darts Poker, then a day off, then the contest resumes on Saturday with Shuffleboard and Cornhole. Only on the final day of the Challenge – Sunday, March 31 – will the action take to the felt with Spraggy and Fintan sitting down in an exciting Heads Up Final. 

Irish Open entertainments whizz Phil Baker will be organising and MC’ing all the challenges, as well as managing the scoreboard.  We’ll keep you posted on the rankings throughout the festival.

Ireland and England traditionally field the largest number of players at the Irish Open so it makes sense to host a formal grudge match away from the felt as well as on it! Last year’s record-breaking Main Event field involved players from nearly 60 countries with more than 60% from Ireland or the UK.