Friday, 29 February 2008

March O-Bits

Rothery takes win at Bull Island for Ajax, Quinns make it a double for GEN

Colm Rothery led in the field on the 9 km Brown course 37 seconds ahead of John Casey making it an Ajax double at last Sunday’s Leinster spring series event at Dublin's Bull Island.

Off the back of a hard cross country race the day before (in which he beat Setanta rival Gerry Brady), he was well pleased given that it was his first outing on the map. Reckoning the time could have been pushed into the low 50s, his approach of navigating off larger features and isolated vegetation lost him time when the intricate contour detail of Aonghus O'Cléirigh's map was the way to go.

A rise in form may see him mount a challenge at the upcoming Leinster Championships at Fair Mountain on April 6th (Details here) but he will face stiff competition from some of the younger contingent absent on Sunday.
The Quinns, Laurence (M14) and Jonathan (M12) made it a double for GEN (Great Eastern Navigators) with Laurence taking first place on Light Green, Jonathan first on Orange. Both won against large strong fields.

Una May (3ROC) showed her experience and put two minutes between herself and Maritta Kymalainen (Setanta) at the top of the Green course.

James Millar, M10, LVO (Lagan Valley) was the winner for the Millar clan taking a clean win on the Yellow course.

Denis Reidy (Organiser), Donal Wickham (Controller) and Aonghus O'Cléirigh (Planner/Mapper) of the organising club Ajax produced a faultless, high quality event which must rank as a leading League event if not championship standard.

Two maps were used, the original Bull Island map and a new northern section, as technical as the first and deemed by some more so because of fewer large features.

See Results See Routes

Peter Kernan

News wanted!

Pieces published here don't have to be big: if you have any reports on events, any news of interest to orienteers, any plans, suggestions or proposals, stories or histories, please e-mail them to the editor for consideration for TIO.

The O-Bits column in The Irish Orienteer has always been a miscellany of orienteering news from around the country and around the world and I'd like to keep it that way.

One concern, which I have raised before, is that those of you who have access to and are comfortable with the internet can get all the information, results, entry forms, Routegadget action replays etc, very easily. There are many others who don't have access to this, or who prefer to have a printed page in front of them.

In 50 years time, will anyone bother to search the electronic archives for information on Irish orienteering in the early days? Will future technologies allow us to search things as primitive as PC's or the internet? Nowadays we can still read printed information published hundreds of years ago: the printed word is more powerful and more permanent than characters on a computer screen.

Having said that, it is far easier to type something on here and have it available around the world almost instantly, than to grapple with layout, desktop publishing, printing, enveloping and posting a printed version.

In a reversal of this process I hope to publish archive material here, once I can bring myself to venture into the cobwebby attic to search.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Junior Issues

Colm Hill reveals some of the behind-the-scenes activity at a recent Sprint-O event run by the Leinster Junior Squad

Up before the sunrise.....

Controls and SI boxes in the bomber vests. First thing you notice is that it’s cold, very cold. Then you notice that annoying drizzle that wets everywhere and everything, it being January and all that. Then comes that moment when you realise you actually volunteered for this of your own free will. That's what orienteering does to you.
The second Irish Junior Squad Sprint-O event was in UCD, Belfield. The course was planned by Colm Hill and controlled by Niamh O’Boyle, with her mother, Bernie, as acting controller on the day. Niamh was horrified at the first draft for the long course with the distance around the 6 km mark and 40 controls. Realising we didn't have that many SI boxes and the fact that it’s a so-called sprint series, the course was modified to make it a more humane course ....slightly.... the long course ended up at 3.9 km with 28 controls, and the short 1.6 km with 13 controls.
On the day, Ruairí Short, Bernie, Fiach, Colm and Kevin (somehow I got all the far controls) could be seen running around with chains and padlocks, securing the SI units to any immovable object. As the Juniors were putting out controls, Conor Short had the SI system up and running with Don marshalling everyone including Colm before he had a stress breakdown (planning is more difficult that it sounds). The event was ready to get cracking by 10:00 am. As the runners went out, the conditions got worse. The sheets of rain could be seen sweeping across the car park, including that special wind that never makes up its mind on what direction it wants to blow in.
One of the first runners through the car park was Darren Burke. He looked tired. A big grin could be seen on Colm’s face- the course was making the good orienteers suffer. More orienteers could be seen running in circles over by the engineering building as controls were scattered everywhere. As confused orienteers ran left and right, the results looked as if Darren's time of 26:52 would win it, but to the dismay of Darren, Ger Butler could be seen flying across the car park. He caught the last 2 controls and finished in a fast time of 23:11.
On the short course, Jonathan Quinn had it all his own way coming home in 15:29 with Laura Kelly almost a further 3 minutes back.

The main discussion point of the course was leg 19 with the uncrossable fence. When putting out controls a gate was discovered. This we quickly blocked as best we could. Some orienteers fell into the trap only for someone to knock down the gate- it’s obvious who fell into the trap on splits browser. Dave Masterson put it best after the event, " Sure I've been in UCD half my life, I intended to go that way and if it was locked I would have climb the fence, its only 7ft with no barbed wire". (He was quietly informed of the sprint-O “no crossing uncrossable fences” rule). For those that didn't check their control descriptions around the steps, you can thank UCDO for the control site from the night-O a few weeks back.

As the day came to a close the control collecting duties were given out and everyone ran in different directions. As is normal, once you get given your controls, you run as fast as you can so not to get another five added to your list. With one slight problem: Colm forgot to hand out the keys!! (O, and what’s that? I'm gone to the furthest control, in the rain) This affected everyone with the exception of Marcus, who returned with the control and chain in one hand, a smile on his face and...a lock cutters in the other.
The final junior spring series event is at Killiney Hill, Co. Dublin, on Sunday March 2nd.
A wet, tired and cold junior – Colm Hill

Junior News
Last weekend’s Irish Junior Squad training weekend in West Cork attracted more than twenty aspiring team members to the squiggly contours, man-eating marshes and craggy open mountainside which characterize the area. Cork O’s Darren Burke and Ailbhe Creedon and IOA Juniors Officer Ruth Lynam concocted a menu rich in variety, with two sessions on Saturday at the adjacent Carrigalougha and Derragh maps. Both these areas are open mountainside and have been used for the Shamrock O-Ringen.

The juniors, aging from M/W14 to M/W18, showed no fear, coping with the contours and the cold with aplomb.
The sessions included a line event (a line on the map with unmarked controls: follow the line to find the controls), control pair exercises and a range of circular courses which could be tailored to the needs and ability of each individual. The afternoon finished with a tricky course running back to the cars, followed by a game of marsh football (a west Cork specialty pioneered by Bernard Creedon and CorkO some years ago). For the record, the match was a draw but nobody is too sure of the score.
Saturday night had talks on course planning by Brian Corbett and Darren Burke and Ruth Lynam outlined the plans for the Junior Squad in 2008.
A Munster League event at nearby Tir na Spidoige on Sunday finished off the weekend (and nearly finished off some of the juniors too, if the snores in the car on the way home were anything to go by!). Darren’s courses were challenging and made the trip well worthwhile.

You can see the courses and routes on Routegadget here.


Junior Plans 2008
The next Junior Squad weekend is in Leinster on March 8/9. The sessions wil include time trials in the Furry Glen at the Phoenix Park and relay training in a forest near Castledermot in Co. Kildare. On Sunday the juniors will take in Fingal's event at Castletown House, Celbridge.

Junior tours this year include the JK in the south of England at Easter, the Danish Spring Cup in March, the Swedish 5-Day in July and the French 6 Jours d'Aveyron in August. Representative events include the Junior World Championships near Gothenburg in Sweden at the end of June, the European Junior Championships in Belgium at the end of August, the Junior Home International near Liverpool in late September and the European Youth O-Champs in Switzerland in October.
For more details visit the Irish Junior Squad web site.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Black Night by Slade

Marcus Geoghegan is nothing if not a perfectionist, so when 60 minutes had elapsed with no sign of the front runner, Ger Butler, on the 4 km Long course, doubts started to creep in.

"Have I overdone it..some of it is tricky..there's some rough bits..." he starts muttering.

Standing under an umbrella by the car with a light implanted in his head it was dark and wet. His concern wasn't helped by the headlamp walking by the car reading a map ... this isn't a normal route choice "...WHERE did you get this manky piece of forest..." spits the headlamp and grumbles off.

It's a strange sight: 20 or so cars thrown up on the side of the road by the forest, it's dark, wet and misty... no street lights ... frightening for townies like us. Apparently a local had pulled up and roared at the sight of the cars ..."What's going on here lads?". Probably expecting some normal pursuit like badger baiting, he turned on his heels quickly when invited to take part in a spot of night orienteering.

The young Shorts, Ruarí and Conor, clatter up in their spikes to the car, grab control descriptions and go. Tall and light, they're seasoned O-soldiers at this stage, a couple of kilometres on a wet night in February is nothing to them, a mere skirmish.

Finally a finisher... Ger Butler comes in. Shakes his head at the time and the missed controls, the one on the hide lost him time... it's a story that will be repeated. Marcus's mood improves immensely - going from zero to one finisher is a big step.
After that finishers start rolling in. Despite the numerous tracks and relatively open forest, the mist makes picking up controls in the forest tricky. Stories abound of the one that got away.

Ruarí Short wins Long in front of Philip Brennan with Mary O'Connell snatching third ahead of Martin Flynn and Conor Short. Andrew O'Mullane leads in a small field on the short ahead of a brace of Redmonds and Patrick O'Brien. Old names on young shoulders.

Finally I'm sent of on my allotted task with Gavan and Tony, control collecting, the pinnacle of orienteering tasks. My choice of an LED bike light as I was going out the door proves unwise ... at 10:20 pm I can't find the last control. Mobile phone calls in Marcus to sweep up the one in the hide.
Back on the road everyone is gone ... as though it never happened.

It's a strange one, night orienteering. You can't get it on Playstation or by pressing the red button. You have to go out in the black dark. There's one left in the Dublin series ... worth a try.

Peter Kernan

(Peter was at the AJAX night event at Slade, near Saggart, Co. Dublin, last Tuesday night. The final Dublin By Night event for the season is Phoenix Park on Saturday February 16th. Courses of about 9 and 5 km ..., starting between the US Embassy and the Ordnance Survey. Turn left 500 m NW of the Phoenix Monument, 6.30-7.30 pm. Adults only!).

But wasn't Black Night by Deep Purple, not Slade?