Unfortunately the lack of a full Irish team at this year's event (particularly the attendance of only one M/W20) meant that there was only one competitive Irish relay team fielded, thereby ensuring the wooden spoon position even before the event began (barring a lot of non-finishers among the other national teams).
The following orienteers, managed by Fionne Austin, represented Ireland at the event:
W21 - Aislinn Austin, Fionne Austin (both CorkO), Ciara Largey (FermO), Ruth Lynam, Niamh O'Boyle (both CNOC), Faye Pinker (CorkO).
M21 - Niall Bourke, Shane Lynch (both CorkO), Declan McGrellis (LVO), Marcus Pinker (CorkO), Kieran Rocks (LVO).
M20 - Fiach O'Rourke (Fingal).
The relays were held in some fairly wet and windy conditions, although the rain did stop for a period and the forest provided shelter.
Dalnamein is a forest divided by an uncrossable river with open moorland on 3 sides, next to the A9 main road. The courses were based on a bridge over the river with a longer part firstly in the eastern half of the forest and moorland before returning past the start/finish area again for a shorter and faster finishing loop to the west. The only Irish competitive team saw Shane off first, before handing on to Fiach with Marcus running the last leg. Shane had a solid enough run, coming in ahead of two Welsh teams. However, Fiach had a bit of a problem with one of the controls so even though Marcus was able to pick off one of the Welsh teams again, they didn't score any points for their efforts. The other male team (Niall, Kieran and Declan) had a couple of mispunches and controls not registering, but the result was irrelevant anyway.
The female teams had quite solid runs and recorded the 5th (Aislinn, Faye & Niamh) and 8th (Ciara, Fionne & Ruth) best times, although again not being classified.
Overall Scotland had claimed 1st, 2nd and 5th in the men's and 1st, 3rd and 8th in the women's to claim victory.
The weather called for a quick dart back to the cars after running and on to some hot drinks and food in Pitlochry. All of the national teams were housed in Aberfeldy where the lasagne dinner was devoured on the Saturday evening. The O Mountain Marathon crisis/farce was the focus of much attention in the hostel lounge and the pub, but even Shane at his most charming could not persuade the pub landlord to turn on the news - "we'll all leave if you don't turn it on" didn't work ... so we left.
Sunday's individual event was in much dryer but colder conditions on a tough and technical area with every sort of terrain, changes of direction and leg length. Reigning Irish Champion Marcus had a great 3rd place finishing within a minute of the winner due to a steady race, particularly in the 2nd half while others made mistakes, while among the women both Niamh and Ciara claimed top 10 placings on an enjoyable course.
Scotland completed a clean sweep with M21 being won by Ewan McCarthy and W21 by Mhairi MacKenzie.
There was a final team gathering at the Birnam Arts Centre for feeding and drinking before we split up for the journey home with the Irish-bound flying and the exiles having a long trip back down south.
Thanks to Murray Cowan for getting the selection off the ground late in the day and to Fionne for taking on the managerial role. Hopefully next year back on home soil again in Fermanagh we will have a full selection of competitors and be able to do more justice to orienteering in Ireland.
Full results are available here with Routegadget of the individual here.
Read Andy Kitchin's account of the weekend from the Scottish perspective here.
England 128, Scotland 114, Wales 60, Ireland 58
Notable Irish performances were Áine Mc Cann 2nd W16 and Jack Millar 3rd M14.
The Irish juniors displayed pride, courage and determination to show their country in the best possible light. Their attitude should provide optimism for the future of our sport - let's hope they can carry this through to senior level!
With every year that passes the Irish juniors appear to believe in themselves more and more. Without doubt we will soon lose our customary bottom slot.
Thank you and well done to all.
The team was:
W14. Niamh Corbett, Dearbhla Knight, Cliona McCullough, Deirdre Ryan.
W16. Aine McCann, Andrea Stefkova.
W18. Fiona Hill, Hannah Maxwell, Katarina Stefkova.
M14. Jack Millar, Eoin McCullough, Alex Simonin, Mark Stephens.
M16. Cillin Corbett, Sean Knight, Colm Moran, Conor Short.
M18. Niall Ewen, Alan Lane, Padraig Mulry, Kevin O'Boyle.
Greg Mc Cann
JHI Team Manager
Irish Results here.
More photos here.
Veteran Home International
The VHI was on home ground on 4th-5th October, combined with the Northern Ireland Championships.
The individual race on Saturday at Magilligan brought the runners out into the open dunes into the teeth of gale force winds and rain. Sundays relays at Woodburn, close to Carrickfergus, was a more conventional, if brambly, forest.
Despite wins for Ruth Lynam in W50L and Steven Linton in M40L, the finishing order was Scotland 269, England 267, Wales 224 and Ireland 130.
For a report from Scotland's Martin Dean, see here.
For NIOC results see here.