Skip Suzanne Birt, right, and Kathy O’Rourke discuss strategy during the 2021 Scotties P.E.I. women’s curling championship at the Maple Leaf Curling Club in O’Leary on Saturday. The Birt rink out of the Montague and Cornwall clubs defeated Montague’s Darlene London rink 3-0 in the best-of-five series. O’Rourke is the Birt rink’s alternate but played third stone in the provincial championship series. – Jason Simmonds
O’Rourke, who has not curled competitively for “three or four” years, joined skip Suzanne Birt, third stone Marie Christianson, second stone Meaghan Hughes and lead Michelle McQuaid.
“They called me in the summer to see if I would join the team as an alternate, and I said ‘yes’ to that,” said the 56-year-old O’Rourke, who retired from public accounting with Grant Thornton a year ago. “That gave me some time to spend with the team. The timing for me was good from that perspective.
“It’s been a really great experience so far. They are a great team, and I feel fortunate to be asked to join and be a part of it.”
It marks the first time Birt and O’Rourke, both Summerside natives, have been teammates throughout their distinguished careers. Birt has won 12 provincial women’s championships, two Canadian junior women’s championships and a world junior title.
“Suzanne is a fantastic player,” said O’Rourke. “Over the last couple of years, I’ve watched this team at the Scotties.
O’Rourke also has a lengthy and impressive resumé, including experience playing every position at the Canadian women’s curling championship. She threw second stones but called the game, and Erin Carmody handled skip stones for Team P.E.I.’s silver-medal performance at the 2010 national Scotties Tournament of Hearts.