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