Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December 2011/1

Connacht Championships Report
Yet another loaves and fishes event where a small number manage to feed a multitude. The Ryan family and Padraig Higgins staged another Connacht Championships on November 27th, on a new map of open firing-ranges and military land at Oranmore, Co. Galway.
The terrain was fast but provided few technical challenges for the experienced competitors. The map was good (1:10000 scale with 2.5 m contours) and had a much more professional look than the Portumna map used for the 2010 event. Some winning margins were pretty tight (2 seconds in W16) so small errors or route-choice variations could be the difference between winning and losing. Climb was negligible so running the whole course at speed was the only way. The final loop (shared by a large number of courses) traversed an area of long tussocky grass which contrasted with the faster running of most of the map. Old walls and lots of small stony areas shown as cairns, with shell-crater depressions, provided many of the features.
Darren Burke (CorkO) added to his Munster Champs title and won the M21L course, and Ros Hussey (DUO) did the same in W21L. Organisationally, the event was good, with SportIdent timing, results and Routegadget available at teatime (others please copy!) and the opportunity - as with other WEGO events - to enter and pay electronically.
Looking at the courses on Routegadget, there did seem to be a lot of shared legs and some more variation in direction would have provided more interest, and maybe more use could be made of the large depressions rather than just siting a control on the edge at ground level, but I have learned over the years that you criticise a Connacht Championships at your peril!
The area is a bit reminiscent of a nearby one at Kilcolgan used for an IOC Relay (in 1991?) with lots of walls and cairns, but that area was forested which reduced the visibility of the controls and increased the navigational challenge. On this occasion, for me, the controls were too visible and the navigation too easy. It would be a good area for a night event, though.
Results, Routegadget etc here.

Irish Trail-O Championships
LVO staged the Irish Trail-O Championships at Castlewellan on November 26th. Alan Gartside, Stephen Gilmore and Wilbert Hollinger, who would normally be among the top finishers, were involved in the organisation, so it opened the competition up a bit.
There were two classes: one for Irish Champion and one for visitors. John Kewley won the visitors' class with a score of 19 points out of a possible 22, and a decision time of 56 seconds. Interestingly, John was the only one of the 22 competitors to get the first timed control right. Second was GB team-mate Ian Ditchfield also with 19 points but with a decision time of 105 seconds. Christine Roberts was 3rd with 16 points.
In the Irish Championships section, Declan McGrellis again proved his expertise, winning with 18 points and 86.5 seconds from Helen Baxter (18 points, 116 seconds) and Lyle Fleming (16 points, 222 seconds). Details of the event and results (also of previous ITOC's) are here. Planners analysis etc to follow.
It is hoped to run the British Trail-O Championships at Newborough Forest in Anglesey in March, only a stone's throw from Holyhead.
Virtually all the Irish Champs competitors were from LVO so they obviously know about the event. Try finding details of it via the LVO or NIOA websites, though ...

Junior Squad Training for JWOC
Junior World Championships hopefuls had a training weekend at Newcastle, Co. Down on December 3-4 under the watchful eye of coach Greg McCann. The weekend coincided with an LVO competition in Donard Forest on the slopes of the highest mountain in Ulster. Donard, incidemtally, was the location of possibly the first Irish Junior Championships, at a time when the Junior and Senior Champs were separate. That was, I think, in 1977. The map was printed on Tyvek, which was a revolutionary step: it stained easily with mud and blood, but you could read it in the bath (nobody had showers then!).
JWOC 2012 is in Slovakia next summer and age alasses M and W 20 are mainly involved.
There will be further training sessions for the Juniors at the end of January, with the possibility of a spring tour during February mid-term. They will also have a week's training in Scotland after the JK at Easter, and a tour to the Welsh 6-Day in July. Oh to be young again!

Design an O-Top
The Irish Juniors are working on a design of an O-top for international competition. Production of the tops will be subsidised by income earned at JK2011 in Northern Ireland.

Harold awarded Torch Trophy
LVO's Harold White received a Torch Trophy at the end of November to mark his many years of service to orienteering, culminating in his coordinating the very successful JK2011 last Easter. Harold, wearing his 3ROC hat, is also the IOA Technical Officer.
The Torch Trophy Trust has its origins in the 1948 Olympics held in London. Before every Olympic Games a torch relay is organised from Athens to the host city. Following the 1948 Games, the Torch designed for the last leg of the Relay into Wembley Stadium was presented to the Trust.
The Trust provides small bursaries to assist volunteers in sport and presents Awards to individuals who have been identified as making an outstanding contribution as a volunteer in their chosen sport.
For the Torch Trophy Trust, the flaming torch symbolises its dedication to helping and recognising the efforts of volunteers in sport. Click on the flames on this page to find out more, and apply for one of the limited number of Torch Trophy Trust Bursaries.
The Trust is entirely run by volunteers, and its Trustees are some of the best known names in British sport. Those involved include Mary Peters, Jimmy Hill and Bobby Charlton. See more details here.
Congratulations, Harold!

Night-O Starts in Howth
The first night event of the winter is at Howth, Co. Dublin, on Saturday 10th December. Subsequent events in the "Dublin by Night" series are on Saturday January 14th (Phoenix Park), 21st (Ballinascorney), 28th (Carrickgollogan), February 4th (Slade Valley) and 11th (Curragh East). Generally two courses are offered but for insurance reasons they are only open to M/W16 and above. The Howth event will start at the GAA club on Dungriffin Road and there will be two courses, about 3.0 km and 4.5 km. Start times 6 to 7.30 pm. The club bar will be open afterwards for orienteers! Details from Fingal Orienteers here.

O in Venice
Dave Richardson reports from the urban O-event in Venice ...
M50 Venice 2011
Saturday's Park-O
The 2nd weekend in November brought our 2nd visit to the Venice street orienteering event. As last year the Venice event was preceded by two world Park tour sprints, unfortunately the details of the sprint events were only published a month before so we had already made our travel plans.
This year's trip started with a "Park O" event in Venice S.Elena on Saturday afternoon, this was actually a sprint type event on a 1:5000 map. The weather was great for running, 14 deg C, sunny and no wind.
My men's open course was 4.2K and 18 controls around the streets and alleys of an area at the Eastern end of Venice, it was a nice easy introduction to orienteering in Venice for those new to it. I had been in bed with the 'flu most of the week so was reasonably happy with a time of 30:55, I made one small error missing the alley I was looking for on the first control that cost around 30 seconds but other than that no mistakes.
The main Venice street O was Sunday morning, again aroound 14C and sunny. The first start times were at 0900 so by the time we travelled up the Grand Canal on the water boat we could already see orienteers appearing and disappearing up lanes and passages, maps in hand, dodging tourists.
The organisation of the event is good: a large sports centre acts as event centre and has a large basketball arena where everyone changes. The buzz around the place is fantastic, 4000+ orienteers from all over the world all there for the unique experience of the strret O.
A short walk to the Square used for the start, into the -4 box, clear. -3 Check, -2 control descriptions (Wait a minute -  they are all "end of building"!). -1 box ready to go, beep beep beep and off just like every event except this time it's fast and furious. Which alley way to take? The left hand one, across the bridge, second turn on the right and then next right, just down here - yes got it! Good - now I can settle down. The course was 7k but by the time I had navigated the narrow streets I actually ran 11k. There were some really good legs including my 8-9 that was 1.6k including the problem of which Grand Canal bridge to use.
Quick route choices, fine navigation at speed (not so much of the speed for me!) and keeping map contact are the challenges on this 1:7500 map. Small errors losing 30 secs or a minute can lose you 5 -10 places the times are that tight. I finished in 72:13 in 78th place, without the 5 minutes of errors I made I would have been 55th, but that's orienteering.
Personally I can't wait to go back next year and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Hopefully next year we won't be the only two entries from Irish O-clubs. Visit the Venice orienteering web site here. See the Men's Elite course here.
[Dave found the Venice experience useful a few days later, running in the Ajax Glendoo Ridge event - remember the area of the IOC Relays in May? "First turf bank on the left, second right, third left ...- Ed]
(Editor's note: travel may be simpler next year with the possibility of specially arranged direct flights from Ireland going out on Saturday morning and back on Sunday evening. Interested? Watch this space!)

Plans for WOC
How will the recently-announced IOF plans for future World Orienteering Championships (WOC) affect Ireland? The WOC has evolved over the years since Ireland first took part in 1976: initially it was just an Individual and Relay with all the team running and the event on every second year; in 1979 it changed to odd years so as not to clash with the Olympics; then the World Cup started on the years between WOCs; then qualification races started so that not everyone got a run in the final; then other disciplines were introduced (sprint and middle-distance) and the WOC was run every year.
What's next?
Read aall about the IOF proposals here. Let us know what you think!

Senior Selectors Wanted
Ivan Millar, Director of High Performance Orienteering with IOA, is appealing for people with an interest in international elite competition to come forward to act as selectors for international teams. Contact Ivan at elites@orienteering.ie

That's all for now!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

November News

Munster Championships
Yet again a small group of dedicated volunteers put on a good weekend's orienteering against the odds. This time, Andrew Cox and his crew at Waterford Orienteers staged the 2011 Munster Championships amid the elephant and whale-sized (and bigger) boulders of Coumshingaun in the Comeragh Mountains and followed that with a relay in the John F. Kennedy Forest Park in Co. Wexford the next day.

Conditions for Coumshingaun were far from ideal - rain, mist and wind - but that didn't seem to deter winners like Darren Burke (CorkO) in M21 and Ros Hussey (DUO) in W21. Disintegrating bags, dissolving ink and mushy maps may have affected the slower runners more, and the intervention of a local farmer who didn't like the location of one of the controls marred the competition for some, but by and large the runners seemed to have enjoyed the challenge.
Pat O'Connor kept the courses in the open for all except the very first and very last part, with the more technical courses climbing towards the corry lake and its detailed contours and erratic rock features (imagine that at 1:5000 scale or larger!) and for a large part of the courses the runners luckily had the wind and rain at their backs.
Results of the Championships are here.

Monday's relays at JFK were a more casual affair, with teams made up from multiple clubs in a range of age classes. Again, rain provided refreshment and showers at the same time, and the on site café (on its last day of the season) provided hot chocolate and shelter for the prizegiving.
The open men's class was won by the Irish Junior Squad (Cillín Corbett and brothers Jonny and Laurence Quinn) with only seconds to spare over the more seasoned Aonghus OCléirigh, Brian Corbett and Colm Hill. Fingal (Eileen Young, Kathryn Walley and Jean O'Neill) were the only team in the Women's Open class. Results (containing some anomalies due to SportIdent issues) are here.

Connacht Championships
Another small group staging a Championships are Western Eagles - Galway Orienteers who are running the Connacht Championships at the end of this month, on Sunday 27th November.  The event is on flat, open terrain at Oranmore, Co. Galway. The cheapest entry date has just passed, but entries don't close until 18th November. You can enter by post or by e-mailing the entry form and paying the fees electronically to the WEGO account - details are on the entry form.
Entry form and full details of the event are here.

Irish Trail Orienteering Championships
LVO are staging the Irish Trail-O Championships the day before the Connacht Champs, at Hillsborough Forest in Co. Down, on Saturday, November 26th. Hillsborough was mapped for one of the JK Trail-O events last Easter. Start times from 11.00 to 1.00 pm. 
What is Trail-O anyway? It started out as orienteering for the likes of wheelchair users who had to stay on paths but who still wanted a navigational challenge. Anybody can take part and most of the "legs" (if you can call them that) involve choosing which control, of maybe 4 or 5 visible ones, is the one shown on your map. Typically two "legs" are timed as a tie-breaker: the fastest at making the correct choice. No timing is involved on the other legs, where the competitor travels along a path and looks at controls in the terrain (sometimes wuite a distance away). Sounds easy, doesn't it? Don't be misled: the controls may only be a metre apart, and none of them might be in the right place ...
It's a tough mental and navigational workout and planners Wilbert Hollinger and Stephen Gilmore (not Alan Gartside as I had previously thought) will have you begging for mercy at the end. Give it a try! Get all the information you need on Trail-O at www.trailo.org here.
The website for the Irish TrailO Champs at Hillsborough on Saturday 26th November is now available at www.niorienteering.org.uk/trailo.  Come along and test your decision-making skills against Stephen Gilmore's and Wilbert Hollinger's best efforts to distract you.  You can get a taste of Wilbert's planning techniques by undertaking the Pre-O at the LVO Autumn Trophy event in Kilbroney Park on 19th November; the differences between Pre-O and championship Trail-O will be outlined in the debrief.
Alan Gartside

Get ready for winter
Checking you have antifreeze in your car, Yak-Trax for your feet and fuel for your fire are only some of the things you need to do. Orienteers are checking their batteries and sorting out their kit for the start of the night orienteering season.
Lagan Valley Orienteers' Wednesday evening night-O training series starts on November 9th at Ormeau Park in Belfast with a mass start at 7.30 pm. Though aimed primarily at LVO members, they probably wouldn't mind a few interlopers ...
Meanwhile, the annual "Dublin by Night" series starts with Fingal's Howth event on Saturday, December 10th. More about this closer to the time.

Junior Orienteering
Greg McCann (LVO) is stepping down from his coaching position with NIOA after many years encouraging juniors from all over Ireland in the Junior Squad. Greg's IOA counterpart, Ruth Lynam, will also be stepping down after her stint as IOA Junior Affairs Officer at the next IOA AGM. They will both be hard acts to follow. Simon Reeve (FermO) is one of the upcoming coaches in NIOA and he will be working with the Juniors, while NWOC's Allan Bogle will also be taking up a position with NIOA involving coaching development. Allan has been involved for several years in running orienteering training in the Canary Islands, so who knows: a junior training camp there next year, maybe?

The Junior Squad were put through their paces at Glengarra, on the slopes of the Galtee Mountains in Co. Tipperary, in a training day before the recent Munster Chmpionships. Several new faces were notable, particularly with a new wave of girls coming into the squad - that's great to see. Ruth and the other coaches ran training exercises in the forest and on the open mountain, prepared by Brian Corbett, before retiring for chicken curry at the Rathgormack hiking centre.

Plans are afoot for a Junior tour next summer, with families voting on the alternatives of the Welsh 6-Day, Swedish O-Ringen, the OO Cup in Slovenia and the World Championships tour in Switzerland. There may also be a training weekend for JWOC hopefuls before Christmas, and further training at February mid-term and again before March.

Anyone for Venice?
The annual street event in Venice is on next weekend. Read about it here. Irish orienteers have made the trip before - are you going this year? Will you write and tell us about it?
Over 4300 are entered for the event this year. Just because it's urban doesn't make it a sprint: the longest course is Men's Elite at 11.1 km, so the running distance will be about 16 km or more. Entry is still open, by the way, at only €15 for late entries. Details here. There's also a Park-O event the day before.

SHI Results
Few surprises for Ireland in the Senior Home International in south Wales at the beginning of November. Details on the Senior Squad blog here. A cold and windy day on the open mountain for the Individual event saw two of our Swedish-based runners produce the best results: Conor Short 4th M20 and Hugh Cashell 8th M21. Scotland held England to a draw in the individual event with 24 points apiece, but ran ahead in the relays to win by 54 to 46. Wales were comfortably ahead of Ireland on both days, with Ireland only scoring in single figures. Nevertheless, it was a very useful outing for some of our up-and-coming orienteers, running under serious pressure and getting more international experience which will stand to them at Junior World Championships and the like in the future. The final result was Scotland 54 England 46 Wales 28 Ireland 16. See some photos of the event here.

If you have any news, please e-mail theirishorienteer@gmail.com

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Autumn 2011 Orienteering

Senior Home International
Ireland, England and Scotland travel to Wales this weekend for the annual Senior Home International event. Generally the competition boils down to England v Scotland and Ireland v Wales. This also generated a "Celtic Cup" competition for several years at the suggestion of John Butler, then the Chairman of WOA, where there was a Wales v Ireland match alternating between the two countries, with a flexible scoring system dictated by the composition of the away-team, run separately from the Junior, Senior and Veteran Home Internationals.

The SHI team (careful with your acronyms, folks!) is:

Colm Hill (team captain)
Seamus O'Boyle
Ruairi Short
Hugh Cashel
Darren Burke
Gerard Butler

Kevin O'Boyle
Conor Short
Josh O'Sullivan Hourihan

Olivia Baxter
Rosalind Hussey
Ruth Lynam
Toni O'Donovan
Regina Kelly

Áine McCann
Deirdre Ryan
Niamh Corbett.

The competition involves an individual race on Saturday at Merthyr Common South and a relay on Sunday at Clydach terrace (see previous map here), both near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales. This part of Wales has an abundance of open limestone areas, often with old mine workings, quarries and other man-made features. When the mist is down, it can be pretty interesting, as many of the features acan be below ground level (depressions and the like).

Provincial Championships
The 2011 Munster Championships is on Sunday October 30th at Coumshingaun, Co. Waterford ("the valley of the ants", if I'm not mistaken). Waterford orienteers are hosting the event on the boulder-strewn slopes of the Comeragh Mountains. Entries close on Friday October 21st. The Irish Junior Squad are having a training weekend in conjunction with the Championships.
Monday 31st sees a Sprint Relay event run by WatO at the John F Kennedy arboretum near New Ross in Co. Wexford - you can enter the day before at the Championships.
Details of the events are here.

Meanwhile, in the West, Western Eagles are working on the Connacht Championships near Oranmore in Co. Galway on November 27th. Cheap entries to 4th November. The terrain is flat, largely open, military lands, originally surveyed by Padraig Higgins in 2002 and updated in 2011. Full details and entry form here.

Twenty Years Ago
Were you orienteering then?
Autumn 1991 saw Issue 54 of The Irish Orienteer, with Orla Cooke taking over from Una May in the Relays at the World Championships in the Czech Republic on the cover. In those pre-internet days, for the latest fixtures information you rang an answering machine which was updated every week. The Senior Home International (in those days for M/W 19, 21 and 35) was about to happen in Wales, with an individual and a score relay (an idea borrowed from FermO). The Junior event was in West Cork.
Marcus Pinker (3rd in H17A in the Scottish 6-Day) reported on his trip to the Junior World Championships in Germany. (Lesson learned: if you carry pots of jam in your rucksack, make sure the lids are on.)
The Swedish O-Ringen featured a new idea called "Trail orienteering" for what we were then allowed to call "disabled" orienteers.
The Shamrock O-Ringen in West Cork was run at the end of June (in previous years it had been around St. Patrick's Day). 179 foreign competitors ran, with 274 Irish: bigger numbers than we see now.
Brendan O'Brien (current IOA Chairman) discovered aerobics; Thomond Orienteers in Limerick staged their annual Burren Walk at the end of August with a sand-dune event at Fanore next day - traditionally the end of summer and the start of the new O-season. National "Try Orienteering Day" was on 29th September with ten come-and-try-it events around the country. Preparations were in train for the only night-O of the season, 3ROC's Phoenix Park event; the Leinster Orienteering Council (remember that?) and the clubs had their own news pages; Ultrasport advertised VJ O-shoes for £45.95 (like running shoes, they must be proportionately cheaper nowadays).
Results included the Leinster Score Championships at Trooperstown (won by Justin May), the 3ROC bike/foot event in Phoenix Park (won by Justin May), and a league event on Three Rock Mountain .
The address list included several clubs no longer with us: Bolton St, ComadO, Crusaders, Eastern Command, Former UCCO, kevin St, Lee Orienteers, Little Killary Orienteers, Lough Key Orienteers, Southern Orienteers, Thomond Orienteers and Trim/South Meath Orienteers.
Read the full stories here.

Thanks to Brian Hollinshead for the scanning and to Aine Joyce for the other features. All old TIO's are now available on the IOA website.

Read about other non-orienteering events from 1991 here.

Good times, good times ...

That's all for now, folks!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

October 2011 News

Wales 2 Ireland 0
The Irish Veteran Home International Team followed the lead of our Rugby players rather than our Junior orienteers and bowed to a superior Wales at last weekend's VHI near Aberdeen in Scotland. Wins by Brian Corbett (M50) and third places from Ruth Lynam (W55) and Colm O'Halloran (M45) and 4th for Aonghus OCléirigh (M50) were among  the highlights in an otherwise rather disappointing performance. To take points off the English, Scots and Welsh requires a lot of good results in a race where every second counts.
Saturday's Individual race at Birsemore Hill, near Aboyne, overlooking the River Dee, used an excellent area of runnable forest with a variety of terrain - heathery scattered tree forest with marshes and small hills, contoured rocky steeper forest,  and runnable coniferous forest all featured on the day's menu.
Lessons were learned, though: you need a full team as every finisher counts, and we were deficient in the M35 and M40 departments; you have to take the right map at the start, as it is very costly to return to the start to get the right one later; the EMIT electronic timing system "brikke" which you carry can affect your compass; the team needs to be selected in good time; and you can't check things too often, particularly for a relay ...
The gospel for the day of the Relays (Matthew 22: 1-14 here) could be a metaphor for the Irish team: the  guests were invited to the wedding feast but they didn't come; the servants went out to the highways and byways to gather the halt and the lame to come to the feast, and come they did - but one of them didn't have the approporate wedding garment and was unceremoniously given the bum's rush: the first two featured but even though we didn't all have Irish O-tops, we managed to last the distance. There was plenty of weeping ans gnashing of teeth too ... and many were cold, but few were frozen.
Saturday night's social beside the old railway station in Ballater (where Queen Vicoria arrived by train on 14th May 1869 as it was and is the nearest station to Balmoral) featured Irish music, lots of food, a spellbinding story telling session that had everyone enthralled, and more music and dance and some RouteGadget presentations: the Vets love a night out!
Sunday's Relay at Coull, also near Aboyne, was our last chance at redemption. Complex rules govern the composition of Relay teams and the best teams were assembled (two men and a woman or two women and a man; the man on the women's team and the woman on the man's team must be M or W45, 50 or 55; the total ages of the team must add up to 150 or more, etc ...: if you think it sounds easy, imagine a Rubik's cube with all the runners' names and age classes on it and try twisting and turning it to solve the puzzle!). The leg lengths ranged from about 2.2 to 4.8 km in a superb forest with boulders and contours, printed at 1:7500 (French World Championships' organisers take note!).
Ten, nine, eight, seven ... They're off! Along the path through the ferns beside the lake, up the hill under the power-line; over the ruined wall and the rusty fence (ouch!) into the forest ... Meanwhile, the leg 2 runners wait. And wait. And wait. The Welsh come back in an unbelievable time ... something is wrong: soon it becomes clear - the right people are not running the right legs.
An unfortunate labelling mix-up in the WMW class has jumbled up the running order so people aren't getting their expected leg lengths. Wales run away with three short legs (luckily the Isle of Man don't have a team) and the organisers meet the Team Managers to consider what to do. In the end the result (England winners with 139 points, Scotland 136, Wales 79, Ireland 61) is decided on the Individual race alone. A great pity for the organisers and runners alike, all of whom put a lot of time and effort into the event. The organisers were suitably contrite and the other aspects of the weekend largely made up for the mistake.
Next year's VHI is due to be in Ireland, so let's hope that lightning doesn't strike twice!

The team was: Hazel Thompson, Ann Savage, Eileen Young, Heather Cairns,  Mary O'Connell, Kathryn Walley, Nadine Grant, Ruth Lynam, Barbara Foley-Fisher, Ger Power, Teresa Finlay, Jean O'Neill; Declan McGrellis, Dave Weston, Colm O'Halloran, Brian Corbett, Aonghus OCléirigh, Alan, Cox, John McCullough, Raymond Finlay, Nigel Foley-Fisher, Bernard Creedon. We were missing an M35 and an M40 to complete the line-up.

See the full results and other bits and pieces about the events here.

Blast from the past
Old issues of The Irish Orienteer are now available online on the IOA web site here. It's almost like being able to delve into the Census records ... More on this later!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Home International Time

Ireland Third at JHI!

For the second year in a row the Irish Juniors outran the Welsh to take the Judith Wingham Trophy at the Junior Home International event, held in Gortalughany & Necarne in Fermanagh last weekend.  This is the trophy awarded to the better of Ireland and Wales over the 2 days of the 4-way competition between England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland.
England dominated both relay and individual competitions.  Points after the Individual races (run in conjunction with the Northern Irish Championships) were England 80, Scotland 51, Ireland 44, Wales 41.  Scotland pulled ahead in the Relays but the Irish juniors ran consistently, with some sparkling performances, to increase their lead over Wales.
Results of the Individual competition are here.  As well as plenty of solid results there were four Irish prizewinners - Jack Millar (M18) & Caoimhe O'Boyle (W14) both 2nd in their classes, and Aine McCann & Niamh Corbett 3rd in W18 and W16 respectively.
The juniors had the most demanding conditions, with mist swirling across the moors reducing visibility, but it didn't bother them too much. The mists lifted for the NI Championships, held slightly later in the day. Gortagughany is an open mountain area where limestone meets bog, in the Cuilcagh Mountains on the Fermanagh/Cavan border: a stream in the southern part of the map actually forms the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, a border which was not evident in the formation of the Irish team. Eoin McCullough was drafted in on Friday afternoon to replace Alex Simonin in M18, and several new faces in the M and W14 classes had very good runs. The girls beat both the Scottish and Welsh girls on Saturday, which was quite an achievement. See the Gortalughany map here.
The relays at Necarne, near Irvinestown, returned to an area first mapped for an earlier JHI. (See the map here). An equestrian centre surrounded by forest, Ciara Largey's courses provided a sprint-O experience through the gardens and buildings before taking in some forest: a major contrast to the sink-holes and burnt heather of Saturday.
More details of the event and the team's results are here.

Well done to all the team:

W18: Áine McCann, Andrea Stefko, Deirdre Ryan, Síomha Callanan
W16: Aoife McCavana, Clíona McCullough, Niamh Corbett, Róisín Long

W14: Caoimhe O'Boyle, Jill Stephens, Meabh Perkins, Siobhán Delaney
M18: Cillín Corbett, Eoin McCullough, Jack Millar, Laurence Quinn
M16: Donal Kearns, Harry Millar, Jonathan Quinn, Shane Hoare
M14: Cathal O'Cléirigh, Paul Pruzina, Peter Meehan, Sandis Rektins

W18: Aine McCann, Andrea Stefko, Deirdre Ryan, Siomha Callanan
W16: Aoife McCavana, Cliona McCullough, Niamh Corbett, Roisin Long
W14: Caoimhe O'Boyle, Jill Stephens, Meabh Perkins, Siobhan Delaney
M18: Alex Simonin, Cillin Corbett, Jack Millar, Laurence Quinn
M16: Donal Kearns, Harry Millar, Jonathan Quinn, Shane Hoare
M14: Cathal O'Cleirigh, Paul Pruzina, Peter Meehan, Sandis Rektins
 Veteran Home International
October 8th/9th sees the Veteran Team travelling to Scotland to try to emulate the Juniors and take some Welsh scalps, just as the irish Rugby team will be trying to do on the other side of the world. The events are stand-alone individual and relays justr for the Vets, ar Birsemore and at Coull, near Aboyne in Aberdeenshire. The rules have changed this year so the team consists of one M and W35, one M and W65 and two each of M/W 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60; twenty four souls in all.
The currently selected team is: Declan McGrellis, Dave Weston, Colm  O'Halloran, Aonghus O'Cleirigh, Brian Corbett, Andrew Cox, John McCullough, Nigel Foley-Fisher, Raymond Finlay, Bernard Creedon; Hazel Thompson, Eileen Young, Anne Savage, Mary O'Connell, Heather Cairns, Nadine Grant, Kathryn Walley, Barbara Foley-Fisher, Ruth Lynam, Ger Power, Teresa Finlay, Jean O'Neill.
A report will follow after the weekend ...

Senior Home International
This event is in south Wales on October 22/23. Several juniors have been brought in to make up the team, so good luck in particular to Aine, Deirdre and Niamh in W20.The selected team is  
M21Colm Hill (Team Captain), Seamus O'Boyle, Ruairi Short, Hugh Cashel, Darren Burke, Gerard Butler
M20  Kevin O'Boyle, Conor Short, Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan
W21 Olivia Baxter,  Ros Hussey, Ruth Lynam, Toni O'Donovan, Regina Kelly
W18 Aine McCann, Deirdre Ryan, Niamh Corbett.
This proves that orienteering really is a family sport: the team includes four first cousins, and a mother and two sons ...

Upcoming Events
Take note of the changes in the dates of the Ajax come-and-try-it at Marlay Park in Dublin (now on Sunday 9th October) and the 3ROC Leinster Autumn Series event at Carlingford (now on Sunday October 16th).
LVO are running an NI League event on Saturday 15th, the day before Carlingford, at Slieve Garron beside Slieve Croob. This was the part of the map we weren't allowed onto at the JK because of nesting birds, so it will be a new challenge for anyone who goes. (Did you read in the most recent CompassSport about Jon Musgrave being buzzed by a buzzard while out running in Scotland? He (Jon) got a nasty cut on his head from the bird strike).
Remember the Munster Championships at Coumshingaun in the Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford on Sunday 30th October (the Bank Holiday weekend) followed by a sprint relay at the JFK Forest Park in Co. Wexford on the Monday, if you're not doing the Dublin Marathon. Details are here.
Frank Ryan has jusrt circulated details of the Connacht Championships on November 27th: see here.

JHI 2011 Ireland Team

W18: Aine McCann, Andrea Stefko, Deirdre Ryan, Siomha Callanan
W16: Aoife McCavana, Cliona McCullough, Niamh Corbett, Roisin Long
W14: Caoimhe O'Boyle, Jill Stephens, Meabh Perkins, Siobhan Delaney
M18: Alex Simonin, Cillin Corbett, Jack Millar, Laurence Quinn
M16: Donal Kearns, Harry Millar, Jonathan Quinn, Shane Hoare
M14: Cathal O'Cleirigh, Paul Pruzina, Peter Meehan, Sandis Rektins

Thursday, 15 September 2011

What the Dickens?

Sweeney Todd, Jack the Ripper, Charles Dickens - they'd all have felt at home in last weekend's London City orienteering race. The 4th staging of the event saw more than 1100 orienteers from more than 25 countries running in the heart of the city, down alleyways, across squares and cemeteries, through the quiet Saturday streets of the financial centre of one of the world's great cities.
Don't confuse urban orienteering with sprint orienteering: anyone running the 8.9 km Men's Open class will soon realise the difference. Course lengths were measured as the crow flies, which is fine if you're a crow. Typically the actual length was about 50% longer, depending on your route.
Carlow's Gordon Parker, the course planner, used the multi-level Barbican Estate and Arts Centre as the start and finish area, throwing the runners straight into a confusion of levels, tunnels, ramps and passageways which were difficult to represent on a two-dimensional map. The 1:5000 scale map, however, showed the detail clearly and - given a bit of careful map-reading - allowed the runners to figure it out. (In fact there was a significant Irish input into the race, with Ronan and Julie Cleary the Controllers).
The streets of the financial district were surprisingly quiet and but the hazards still included groups of Japanese tourists craning their necks to see St Paul's Cathedral rather than looking out for orienteers.
Although I have run urban races before, they tend to be short, whether in the JK, the Swiss 6-Day or at night in a Portugese fishing village (that was fun!), but this was unlike any orienteering I had done before. Popping in and out of small alleyways; suddenly emerging beside the Gherkin or St Paul's or some other well-known landmark: there was always something new around the next corner.
There are some different issues in urban orienteering: roadworks and building sites are obvious ones. These are marked on the map in pink, but because they can come and go at short notice, the terrain and the map are in a state of flux right up to the race. Have a look at the map and courses on Routegadget here. The event web site is here.
The best known urban race is probably in Venice in November, but the London race may come a close second. Hamlet without the Prince? Venice without the canals? Because London is comparatively close to Ireland, maybe we overlook it as a destination, but the London City O-race is definitely worth a trip. Ask any of the LVO, Fingal or 3ROC runners who went this year.
Next year's London City race is on 22nd September, followed the next day by the Southern Championships.

Super Sprint
Many of the runners who did the London City race stayed on to run an "Orient-Show" style sprint race the next day in Regent's Park. The LOK Ultra Sprint Challenge format was three races of about 1 km which all the runners did. The times of these three races were added together and the fastest 4 runners in each class (Junior Boys, Veteran men etc) were set off together in the final a while later. These would finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the competition. The slower runners then started at 15 or 20 second intervals in groups of four and they would then finish 5th, 6th etc. The courses were gaffled to reduce following (i.e. broken into separate segments which runners took in a different order). It took a lot of work with planning and organisation, not to mention getting all the SportIdent details right, but it provided a fast, fun event for the competitors.
The courses included two sections in man-made mazes, visible to the spectators. The total area was only about 200 m x 300 m and it all fitted on a 1:1000 scale map with 1 metre contours on an A4 page.
The navigation was tricky (there were no control descriptions or control codes except for the juniors) and the precise control locations were shown by a small dot in the centre of the control circle. Some controls were within about 1 metre of each other, so you had to be careful you visited the right one and that you took them in the right sequence.
Mispunching did not mean disqualification, but you got a 30 second time penalty added on to your running time for each wrong control. Given that there were about 25 controls on each 1 km course, that could be a lot of penalties!
Fingal brother and sister Sandis Rektins and Zanda Rektina won the Junior Boys and Junior Girls races.
Here is the map for the final 1.4 km race. (You may notice a small enlarged area in the SE corner of the map, showing the maze at a larger scale. That's the kind of thing you only notice when you look at the map after you get home ...!)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

September 2011 News

World Championships Report
Solid runs from the Irish team at August's World Championships in France weren't enough to qualify for the finals, with the exception of Aislinn Austin in the Middle Distance. Several close calls, where runners just missed the cut, and the misfortune of a mispunch for David Healy, an injured ankle for Nick Simonin and a leg injury for Marcus Pinker, added to the story of WOC2011.
Read the gripping first hand WOC reports from the Irish Team on the team blog here.
The French were formidable, with star Thierry Gueorgiou taking gold medals in the middle, long and relay races. Sweden topped the medals table with 10, France took 4, Switzerland 3, Norway, Finland and Czech Republic 2 each and Denmark 1.
One of the overlooked results at WOC 2011 was Wilbert Hollinger's 8th place in the Trail O WOC, interestingly one place ahead of Italy's Remo Medella who produced the map for the JK Sprint race at Stranmillis College last Easter. Wilbert and his LVO clubmate Alan Gartside were the only two Irish representatives at WTOC. Wilbert was a member of the first Irish team to take part in WOC back in Scotland in 1976. It was announced at WOC that Scotland will again be hosting the World Championships in 2015.
Marcus in the Relay
Other interesting features of WOC were the disqualification of 45 runners in the Sprint Qualification. Some were unfortunate to mispunch on closely-spaced controls but many were seen by officials while crossing out of bounds areas or features marked as uncrossable - so it pays to be careful. Soren Reichers, running for Germany but no stranger to Irish orienteering, was one of the disqualified men. On the other hand Denmark's Emma Klingenberg, again familiar to Irish orienteers, finished 7th in the qualification race and moved up to 6th in the final, only 47 seconds down on the winner, Linnea Gustaffson of Sweden.
Even some of the best orienteers were defeated by the terrain - Finland's Minna Kauppi missed the first control on the women's long final and retired.

What about the terrain? Tales had come back from the training camps of unrelenting technical low visibility forest, and they were not far wrong. The qualification races were run in very detailed low visibility forest but things improved later in the week for the finals - have a look at some of the maps on the WOC web site here. What you don't really get a sense of is the level of detail in the terrain and the fact that relocation was so difficult.
Click on image to enlarge
The WOC has developed from just an individual and relay into a week of orienteering with qualification races in the three disciplines - sprint, middle and long distance, finals in these three variants, and a relay to finish off the week. To encourage spectators and, I suppose, to help subsidise the costs of WOC, organisers now run open races in parallel with WOC - more on this below.
Aislinn Austin
From an Irish perspective there were several runners within striking distance of qualifying for the finals, and both relay teams did well, the men finishing 22nd out of 40 starters, ahead of the likes of USA, New Zealand, Portugal and Belgium, and the women 24th, ahead of USA, Serbia and Japan.
A picture is worth a thousand words, however, and one of the most telling pictures appeared in the regional newspaper, Le Dauphiné, the day after the relay: it shows Thierry Gueorgiou running through the arena, about 10 minutes before he returned to take the relay gold. But it also shows a brave Marcus Pinker just starting out on the last lap of the relay for Ireland, to finish 40 minutes down on the winners. It shows how much work and resources we need to put into our elite orienteers to rival the world's best.

At the end, one of the Irish runners, Stockholm-based David Healy remarked "Now, back to easy Scandinavia"!

WOC 2012 is based in Lausanne in Switzerland from 14-21 July. See details here. There's a Swiss 5-Day being run with WOC 2012.

Northern Ireland Championships Entries Open
Fermanagh Orienteers are staging the NIOC on Saturday October 1st at Gortalughany, near Florencecourt, in conjunction with the Junior Home International weekend. Entries to NIOC are open here.
The JHI competitors will have an individual race on Saturday and a relay at Necarne near Irvinestown on Sunday.

Fingal Scatter Series Starts
Dublin's Fingal Orienteers are again running their series of scatter events (mass starts where you have to visit a specified number of contriols in any order). The first event was last Sunday and the rest are on Sundays 4th September (St Anne's Park), 11th (Newbridge Demesne) and 18th (Malahide Castle).

London Irish
A scattering of Irish orienteers are among more than 1000 runners taking part in the 4th London City orienteering race on Saturday10th September. This may be the biggest urban O-race apart from the famous annual race in Venice each November. Entries are still open until 3rd September here. Incidentally, the Venice races are on 12th and 13th November: details here.

WOC Tour report
A six-day event was run in parallel to the World Championships with almost 4000 competitors including more than 50 from Ireland. A good number of the Irish Junior Squad travelled to France to run in the event, called the "O-Festival ERDF" after the sponsors, the French electricity company. The format was six races, four middle distance and two long, run in the mornings before the WOC races, using the maps the WOC had just used.

The WOC/O-Fest arena at La Féclaz
 The courses and terrain were challenging, to say the least. After a few days training there, Conor Short summed it up: "You can't see, you can't run and you can't navigate"! He did manage to overcome some of these difficulties, though, to produce a 2nd and a 6th place during the week in M20 Elite.
Many of the runners found it very tough going, whether it was the ankle-twisting limestone pavement, the fallen trees, the low-visibility, the aggressive wasps, the heat or the illegible maps, or a combination of all of these.
The detail on the map was so dense it was very difficult to see, even with a magnifier - that was my main problem during the week. And when you could read the map, it didn't make any sense! Big crags and re-entrants on the ground didn't jump off the map at you. One must ask why the maps weren't printed at a more realistic scale, maybe 1:7500 or 1:5000 for the O-Festival, even if the rules specified 1:10000 or 1:15000 for WOC. Was it an orienteering or an eyesight competition?
Unlike in Norway for the equivalent event last year, we had no sprint race, which was a pity as they are a lot of fun. What we did have, was a chance to run on some of the most demanding terrain I have ever seen: I was struggling to beat 20 min/km. One very experienced orienteer I heard of spent 25 minutes in the circle looking for the control, making three attempts to attack it from different directions. Again, I would have to ask if the terrain should have been mapped at all? The maps were impressive, though: a large area of the Revard plateau mapped in incredible detail. (Note: Forget about your preconceived ideas of a plateau being flat! It was high up, but certainly not flat). The forests reminded me of the Asiago area in northern Italy where the 2004 World Masters was run, with alpine meadows, pine forest and limestone underlying it, but this was far more detailed than Asiago.
Some good Irish results were Brian Corbett (M50), Ruairi Long (M12), Clodagh Moran (W12), Niamh Corbett (W16), Conor Short (M20E), though we had no overall podium places.
Any other notable features of the event? The organisation was a bit shaky the first day, with runners having to walk an unexpected uphill 3 km or more from their cars to the arena (there were shuttle buses from different parking but not many of the competitors knew). As a result lots of people missed start times but the organisers didn't record all the actual starting times so the day 1 results were a bit of a mess - nothing like the mess that was in the portaloos, though: whoever thought that 8 toilets were enough for 4000 runners? And what about the event centre where you had to go to register? How do you find it, in the middle of Chambéry? Of course! The details are in the programme! And where do you go to get the programme? Why, to the event centre, of course! Mmm ... The courses for younger juniors were difficult, but admittedly some of the routes were taped with red and white streamers. However, some of the deepest pits on the map (the ones where you couldn't see the bottom) were also marked. With what? I'll let you guess that one!
In fairness, things did improve after the first day.
I would be slow to recommend the WOC as a family holiday, unless you are all committed and competent orienteers. The days can be very long (05.30 alarm, anyone?) if you are to run and then wait around for the WOC race to follow. However, the advent of electronic timing, satellite tracking of runners, big screen and TV cameras in the terrain, have made orienteering close to a spectator sport, so there's lots to keep you interested, especially in the relay.
So, maybe next year in Switzerland will be more family friendly? But it's a great experience for an orienteer to go and see the world's best in action.

Photos of WOC and some other stuff will follow shortly ... they were here but they all vanished after about three hours putting it all together this afternoon!

Job Vacancy with NIOA
Following a grant of funds from Sport NI, NI Orienteering, the Regional Governing Body for Orienteering in Northern Ireland, wishes to recruit a full time Coaching and Talent Development Officer at a salary of £24609.00 per year
The closing date for the receipt of completed application forms is: 4pm on Wednesday 14th September 2011
For further information on the above vacancy or to download an application pack, visit our website here. Alternatively, application packs can be obtained by contacting Raymond Finlay on 048 6634 8888 from the Republic (or +44 28 6634 8888)
NI Orienteering is committed to Equality in the Workplace

Scottish Six Day Report
Were you there? Will you tell us about it?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Running Shorts

Colm Moran, Conor Short, Cillin Corbett, Jack Millar & Josh O'Sullivan Hourihan are battling it out at the Junior World Championships in Poland. Colm (pictured finishing the Sprint race) is the best of the Irish so far. Watch out for Denmark's Emma Klingenberg (and her sister, Ita) in W20 who have an Irish mother and could run for Ireland ...
Looking at the teams entered, it's clear that JWOC is taken very seriously by the big orienteering countries. The list of past winners reads like a who's who of elite orienteering, and it's great to see IOA putting resources into orienteering at this level as a preparation for future World Championships.
Unfortunately none of the lads qualified for the Middle Distance final (only the top 20 in three very competitive heats go through).
Update: An incredible 3-way tie in the Men's Middle Distance race on Thursday saw Austrian, Russian and Finnish runners taking Gold medals! The top three all had a time of 25 mins 43 secs.

Follow them here.

A team of M16's (Harry Millar and Jonathan Quinn - pictured in the Relay start),  M18's (Eoin McCullough, Laurence Quinn and Mark Stephens) and W16's (Clíona McCullough and Niamh Corbett) ran in the European Youth Championships in the Czech Republic at the end of June. The team was led by Greg McCann and Brenda Hynes and the results can be found here.

The team had mixed fortunes, but EYOC is great experience as preparation for big international competition.

Shamrock O-Ringen
Rather belatedly, a brief report on another memorable Shamrock O-Ringen in West Cork on the June Bank Holiday weekend.  Yet again the visitors almost outnumbered the Irish competitors, for whatever reason. Are we scared of the contours? The marshes? The midges? Are we afraid that we'll get terminally lost? Even if we did, to be running around a West Cork marsh with the cuckoos, the myrtle and the fantastic terrain is a wonderful way to spend a weekend.
Word of the Shamrock is leaking out, though - people from all around Europe come back again and again to savour the atmosphere and terrain. One runner put it in the same category as Finland's Jukola overnight relay - it's simply a unique event.
Kilcrohane provided the focus, with a middle distance race on Saturday, a classic distance on Sunday and a chasing start on Monday (where the winner is the first to cross the line). Darren Burke took the M21 Elite title, only seconds ahead of ken Peeters (Belgium) - see the photo. Cath Chalmers from Australia won the W21 Elite race. Overall results are here.
Next year's Three Day is in the Oughterard area of Co. Galway, run by WEGO, on the first weekend in June.

A number of Irish competitors are at the World Masters Orienteering Championships at Pecs in Hungary. The forested karst limestone terrain is different to anything we have here, so it will be a new challenge. Read about the events here.
The lady on the left is Sarolta Monspart, 1972 World Champion from Hungary. She was the first non-Scandinavian World O-Champion, seen here at the opening ceremony for WMOC 2011.

Setanta Rogaine
Boggy underfoot conditions and very warm weather did not deter the competitors at the 2011 Setanta Orienteers Rogaine on June 25th/26th in Co. Wicklow.  The championship event, 24 Hour Team, was won by Nicholas Mulder & Ryno Griesel (Rand OC, South Africa) who managed to collect all controls within the 24 hours. This is a great achievement in the bog and heather of Wicklow, something the pair wouldn't be used to. The conditions were very wet under foot after a lot of rain the day and the night before the event. They may have been more used to the heat wave that we suddenly got over the weekend though, with temperatures of 23C during the day. It was a warm, clear, calm night for those who spent the night out on the hills. The 6 Hour Team event was won by Ruth Lynam & Don Short (CNOC). This was a great win for them in their first 6 hour Rogaine after competiting in many previous 24 hour Rogaines. Paul Mahon took the honours in the new addition to the Rogaine events, the 6 Hour Individual

Jukola Relay
There was a small Irish presence at the Jukola 7-person overnight relay in Finland on June 18/19. A CNOC team of Conor and Ruairi Short, Shea, Kevin and Niamh O'Boyle, Hugh Cashell and Colm Hill finished in a highly respectable 296th (not 765th as I said earlier!) place among the 1500 teams to start. Bishopstown's Nick Simonin, running for his Stockholm club Lidingo IFK, came in an amazing 23rd place on leg 1 (which started at 10.55 pm), only about 90 seconds down on the leaders. John and Eoin McCullough and Ronan Cleary ran on a London OK team and Nina Heikkinen (Philips) and Julie Cleary ran in the Venla 4-person Women's relay earlier in the day.
The Jukola is an amazing event: about 15,000 runners between the two races. There are orienteers in Finland whose only event of the year is the Jukola.
Next year's race is only 10 km from Helsinki Airport ...

Here, Eoin McCullough reports on his first Jukola relay:
My first experience of the Jukola relay in Finland is one I will never forget. Myself, my dad and two friends arrived in a muddy car parking field with a hint of rain in the air on Saturday afternoon. We found our army tent, which would be our accommodation for the night, and then went to check out the arena. For those of you who haven't been to Jukola before, the arena is like a small town, with everything you could possibly need at an orienteering event, or anywhere else, for that matter.
After an hour or so, we began to move towards the start of the Venla relay, the womens' relay. At 10 minutes past 2, over 1400 women streamed up the hill from the start and into the forest. The Venla relay turned out to be closely fought by Domnarvets GoIF of Sweden and Tampereen Pyrinto of Finland, with the Finnish team missing the second last control, where Domnarvets passed them and won the Venla by only 35 seconds.
A few hours later as darkness was beginning to descend, the slope above the starting pen became crowded with people, eagerly awaiting the start of the Jukola. As it got closer and closer to the start time, there was an electricity in the air as the runners turned on their headlights, a mass of lights bobbing up and down in the Finnish countryside. Then, at 10:55, an artillery gun signalled the start of the greatest relay in the world. Suddenly, the bobbing headlights were streaming out of the start and up the hill, with an Irishman getting to the top first, Nick Simonin.
After the start, everyone began to move to the finish arena where there was a huge screen with live images from the forest with live splits. It was thrilling to see 1500 headlights worming their way through the forest. The atmosphere in the arena was great, with everyone there looking out for their team to come through the next radio control. I went to bed after only 30 minutes of the mens' race, because I still had to run the next morning on leg 6 for my team.
As I was asleep, Halden SK won the Jukola by over 4 minutes to make it two Jukola wins in two years. Meanwhile, there was fierce competition for second place with Kalevan Rasti getting the better of Delta and Vaajakosken Tera for second place, with Delta finishing in third.
When I woke up to prepare for my race, the leading teams had long finished. I was in a mass start with over 1000 others. I myself had a good run and really enjoyed the runnable, technical forest and was in the top third of runners on my leg. I really enjoyed the run and was very happy it.
After my run we did some shopping, ate, and enjoyed the sun that had been shining since the early morning, making lovely running conditions, drying the ground and making it feel like summer again.
Later that day, most of my team stayed with friends who lived an hour away, near the Russian border. There we had a sauna, a swim in the lake, a good meal, and a well-deserved night's sleep in beds.
The next day we flew back from Helsinki to Dublin, ending an unforgettable few days. I really enjoyed everything about the Jukola, the running, the spectating, and especially, the incredible atmosphere of the Jukola. It was a great experience for me and all I want to do is do it all again next year.....
Scottish 6-Day Good luck to everyone going to the Scottish 6-Day at Oban at the end of July. This is a real taste of big-time international multi-day orienteering, with more than 3000 runners from all around the world. Entries are still open, by the way: see here. World Championships Of course the big event this summer is the World Orienteering Championships near Chambéry in France in mid-August. Will Thierry Gueorgiou be disqualified or fail to finish again? The Irish team have been preparing in France and Scandinavia and are ready to go: read their blog here. The Junior Squad are taking in the associated "O-Festival ERDF" as their summer tour. Details of this event, with more than 3000 runners, are here.
Meet the Irish Team, David Healy, Marcus Pinker, Seamus O'Boyle, Darren Burke, Nick Simonin, Ruairí Short, Niamh O'Boyle, Aislinn Austin, Ros Hussey and team leader Kyle Herron,  here

Finally, have a great summer of orienteering - and please write about it for TIO when you're there or when you come home!
John McC .
PS Here are some more photos from EYOC and JWOC.
Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan, JWOC Sprint
Conor Short, JWOC Sprint
Jack Millar, JWOC Sprint
Clíona McCullough, EYOC Sprint
Eoin McCullough, EYOC Sprint
Harry Millar, EYOC Long
Jonny Quinn, EYOC Long
Laurence Quinn, EYOC Long
Mark Stephens, EYOC Sprint
Niamh Corbett, EYOC Sprint