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check out the Irish Schools Blog
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year

Seasons Greetings and here is the result of the jury....fixtures for the New Year

17th January: Carrickbyrne, County Wexford
7th February: Tower Hill, Portlaw
24th February: Waterford Primary schools at Newtown school
28th February: Coumshingaun
4th March: Waterford Secondary schools at Tower Hill, Portlaw
14th March: Goirtin/Kilsheelan (Munster League also)
25th March: Munster Secondary and Primary Schools at Colligan East
28th March: Colligan East
9th May: Kennedy Park, County Wexford
16th May: Tramore

In addition there are events run by other clubs which might be of interest:
10th January at Curragh wood, Midleton ((CorkO)
21st February at Clonmore North, near Cahir (Cork O)

Full IOA fixtures here.

I have already begun to approach members to help plan, control and organise the above events. If anyone on our mailing list can help I would be glad to hear from you. Apart from planning and controlling, the many other jobs that need to be done on the day can be done by anybody. I look forward to hearing from you especially anyone able to help midweek with schools events. Thanks.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Event cancellation

Following the completion of a risk assessment of the planned event for Knockanafffrin in the Comeraghs on Sunday, I have decided to cancel the event. It has been difficult to fully plan the event with the current weather conditions. Some of the access roads are currently blocked with water. The ground is very waterlogged and it would be impossible to mark all the new water features on the map!
The weather forecast with high winds on both Saturday and Sunday was not encouraging either. 35-50kph minimum. The sea area forecast reads as follows: Outlook for a further 24 hours until 1200 Sunday 22 November 2009: South to southwest winds veering southwest to west - generally up to gale or strong gale force, and reaching storm force in places. Rain or showers at times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Orienteering Stance

Thanks to Harry for permission to publish his poem (Shilo is his dog)

We were a happy trio,

me, Mum and leggy Shilo

arm -in -arm -off -lead

listening to

Mahon Falls


Cold air, wind rushing through me ~

every time we found

orange and white

we lurched forward

to find the


We burst back. Shilo slips,

falls ten feet into the river,

is dragged, heaved,

tossed and turned

by the rushing


I live in shocked suspense ‘til I see

him hobbling, disorientated but

trying to get back

to his familiar



One hundred and ninety seven minutes.

How can I describe them?

Top of the world



The end

November 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mahon Falls prove tough

Competitors at the Munster League event held at Davmore/Mahon Falls in the Comeraghs found the terrain tricky and heavy going. Some tried courses which were too demanding for them and ended up either taking a long time or missing a control. Full results have been posted to the IOA website.
Thank you to Pat O'Connor who planned the courses and tagged the control sites; Andrew Pim and Norman Storey who put out the controls and brought them in plus organised and ran the start; Elizabeth Storey who did registration; and Nigel Pim who did Upload and Download. Thanks to Laura for some of the pictures. As organiser of the event, I appreciate the contribution of all the club members. Thank you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Munster Champs Success

A small but elite band travelled to Toureen Wood near Cahir for the Munster Championships. Congratulations to Liisa Honkasaari (W40), Laura Cox (W18) and Andrew Cox (M50) who were all crowned Munster Champions. Ian McHardy (M35) won the Silver medal whilst Sue Pim, Roger Johnson and Angela Cox all won Bronze medals. Well done to all concerned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Planning courses

Two weeks ago, I found out that I was planning a local event at Kilbunny woods in Portlaw. The preliminary visit threw up some interesting changes to the map. Considerable forest clearance, new tracks formed and old tracks partially blocked. Panic....four hours of noting changes on an old map. More time updating the map on the computer using OCAD (Orienteering Computer Aided Design).

Back out to the forest to check the changes and plan the four colour coded courses. Another three hours in the forest clearing the brambles from usable tracks. On the way back from the forest saw a sign that there was to be a sponsored horse ride in the Portlaw woods on Sunday 25th, the original date for the event. Managed to agree a change to the Bank Holiday Monday.

Put out some of the controls on Friday, feeling reasonably happy that everything is in hand.

Left home on Monday morning at 8.30. Put out the directional roadsigns. Arrived at the barrier, at least it was not locked! Drove out the the furthest point to find a happy forester clear felling an area of forest that contained two controls! Help! Had to do some last minutes rejigging of courses and map changes. Why do Coillte never tell you what they are doing when you pay the user licence fee?

People started to arrive, starting to get a little drizzly...loads of people arrive...starting to rain and get very misty. first Blue course competitor returns...control missing...kite and post still there on the ground, SI unit missing. Nothing I can do, only on Blue course in an area with almost no through traffic...maybe a horse ate it the previous day?

Green and red course competitors return with tales of difficulty finding a boulder near the top of the far ridge. Maybe the additional extraction rides were confusing and should have put a control on the end of the path...I put the control out that morning in the opposite direction, coming down off the hill.

Start to run out of red course maps...manage to recycle a few at the end....never know how many to print! Download starts to decide it is not going to recognise the Com Port...cannot download information from SI the last minute it decides to work...phew!

Despite the long course times, the climb were to blame, most competitors finished their respective courses and there was no complaint of any controls in the wrong place just some grumbles about mapping standards. The weather turned rather damp and misty so early entrants had an advantage.

Full results are up on the IOA website. Current standings after 3 South east league events can also be found here. A big thanks to Angela and Jana Cox for all their hard work on the start, upload and download.

From a learning perspective, this weeks chosen control sites (excuse the quality of the pix, it was getting dark when I was taking them in) are displayed below.that darned boulder!a crag deep in the forestthe selected earthbank or is it a ruined stonewall from when this was agricultural land?Just how misty it much for the spectacular views of the river Suir and the Comergh mountains!

Monday, September 28, 2009

National Trails Day

October 4th is National Trails Day. We will be hosting a SE league event on that day at Tower Hill woods in Portlaw. Starts between 11 and 1 as usual.
For more information about National Trails Day.

Please come out and support the event...there are freebies available for those who come early ...pens,stickers,etc coutesy of Coillte.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

South east schools relays

The South east schools relays event took place at Kennedy Arboretum with the kind permission of the OPW on Wednesday 23rd September.
Thanks to all the club members who gave up their time to help run the event: Pat, Veronica, Paul, Norman, Alan, Jana and Hugh. Thanks to the schools and their teachers who took part.
A list of corrected results are below. 160 Primary pupils and 90 Secondary participated. The Primary schools had a standard cross country course.

Senior Boys
1. Niall McEvoy, Ben Cross, Ruadhan Treacy (Newtown) 116.15
Ben Turner, Luke Bailey, Joe Dixon (Newtown) mp

Senior Girls
1. Nicola Power, Laura Cullen, Laura Cox (Ursuline) 129.36
2. Ciara Murray, Evelyn O'Regan, Tara Walsh (Ursuline) 206.56
Megan Lonergan, Jessica Gleeson, Jana Cox (dns) dnf
Sara Galloway, Andrea Hemmingway, Hannah Hermon (Newtown) mp
Junior Boys
1. Geoffrey Graham. Dahnan Spurling, Diarmuid Wingfield (Newtown) 82.05
2. Liam Landy, Neil Dunne, Ben O'Neill (Newtown) 132.05
Simon Quigley, Luke Ryan, Michael Vos (Newtown) mp
John Mullins, Barog Kennedy, Xavier Walsh (Newtown) mp
Junior Girls
1. Catherine McGrory, Mia Falkanthal, Phoebe Moore (Newtown) 135.02
2. Shona Murray, Elizabeth Kinsella-Kent, Evelyn Farrell (Ursuline) 139.50
3. Ciara Murphy, Niamh Maher, Rachel Moore (Ursuline) 172.20
Holly Wells, Gillian Bond, Melanie Fitzgerald (Newtown) mp
Minor Boys
1. Jonathan, Jacob, Robert (Dunhill) 30.00
2. Ted, Ian, Evan, Christian (Newtown) 108.23
James, Devon and Stuart mp
Minor Girls
1. Kayleigh, Ciara, Roberta, Atlanta (Newtown) 72.27
2. Sarah Ann, Grace, Lucy, Eve (Newtown) 74.32
3. Triona, Nikki, Kate, Chris (Newtown) 80.33
4. Rachel, Orla, Laoise, Nicola (Ursuline) 90.25
5. Rachel, Eimear, Rebecca, Doireann (Ursuline) 100.28
6. Doireann, Aoife, Grainne, Rhea (Ursuline) 140.07
7. Amy and Aoife (Ursuline) 140.51
Primary Boys 6th/5th class
1. Daryl and John (Christchurch NS) 32.57
2. Luke and Shane (Faithlegg NS) 34.05
3. Zack and Conor (FNS) 36.57
4. Alex and Danny (FNS) 40.40
5. Jonni and Conor (FNS) 42.17
6. Sam and John (CNS) 53.45
7. Kevin and Nathanial (CNS) 55.21
8. Anthony and Sam (CNS) 59.25
9. Sam and Joe (FNS) 95.10
Eoin, Philip and Nicholas mp

Primary Girls 6th class
1. Mai and Martha (CNS) 35.52
2. Alex, Bevin and Freya (CNS) 37.06
3. August and Katie (CNS) 38.01
4. Rebecca and Emily (FNS) 38.38
5. Sophie and Kirsten (CNS) 39.16
6. Kayleigh and Megan (Mercy) 40.16
7. Megan and Laura (St John of Gods, JOG) 40.48
8. Caoillinn and Lauren (CNS) 40.54
9. Shannon and Chloe (Mercy) 41.25
10. Sarah and Carrie (JOG) 41.29
11. Clodagh and Katie (CNS) 41.30
12. Katie and Lauren (JOG) 42.51
13. Jennifer and Chloe (JOG) 43.34
14. Niamh and Ellen (JOG) 44.37
15. Sinead and Orla (Mercy) 44.53
16. Claire and Alana (CNS) 45.00
17. Sophie and Lauren (Mercy) 45.25
18. Chloe and Jenny (Mercy) 45.48
19. Rachel and Clodagh (JOG) 46.18
20. Erika and Emma (CNS) 52.35
21. Claire and Emma (JOG) 53.37
22. Kelly and Catherine (FNS) 54.36
23. Hannah and Kate (Mercy) 54.48
24. Sarah and Kayla (Mercy) 55.34
25, Shanifa and Paulina (Mercy) 56.47
26. Claire and Leah (Mercy) 59.58
27. Megan and Katie (JOG) 60.56
28. Lauren and Ciara (JOG) 61.18
29. Chantelle and Kayleigh (JOG) 61.57
30. Bridget and Monika (Mercy) 62.18
31. Jan and Jessica (JOG) 64.03
32. Carragh and Orlaith (Mercy) 64.08
33. Ann Marie and Ciara (Mercy) 64.55
34. Jane and Abbie (JOG) 66.07
35. Laura and Kayleigh (JOG) 67.06
36, Lauren and Valeriya (Mercy) 67.32
37. Ellen and Jennifer (Mercy) 67.38
38. Hanna and Jessica (Mercy) 68.51
39. Tina and Mary (Mercy) 69.00
40. Kinga and Lauren (Mercy) 74.19
41. Sarah jane and Megan (Mercy) 76.46
42. Chloe and Jadine (Mercy) 78.28
43. Aoife and Damilola (Mercy) 79.00
44. Alexandra and Mia (JOG) 93.53

Primary girls 5th class
1. Ella and Aisling (FNS) 36.14
2. Molly and Laura (FNS) 37.25
3. Emma and Rebecca (FNS) 38.38
4. Eimear and Jennifer (FNS) 41.17
5. Emma and Orla (JOG) 48.31
6. Alison and Clodagh (JOG) 56.07
7. Catherine, Erinn and Emma (FNS) 59.06
8. Lorna and Isa (JOG) 63.05
9. Alicia and Katie (JOG) 63.49
10. Kate and Emily Jane (JOG) 64.18
11. Aoibh and Niamh (JOG) 112.10
12. Maeve and Katie (JOG) 117.27
13. Abbie, Abbie and Rachel (JOG) 132.00
Kate and Michelle, Leah and Aoife, Rachel and Clodagh, Louise and Eleanor, Rachel and Kaya, Nicola and Ellie, Natalie and Rebecca all mp

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sun,sea and surf

Well the sun being Sunday but as is usual when it is sunny there is often very little wind and therefore little surf.
From an orienteering point of view it was something of a catch 22 situation..if we had been right at the seafront, we would have had a bigger audience/entry. Being at the end of the carpark was too far for most people to walk!
Anyway, 25 of our regulars and a few new participants turned up to complete what proved to be a rather wet course!! Recent tides had flooded the usually dry flat area.
Full results are posted to the IOA website
I hope it was a useful training event for the younger children. Thanks to John Casey for putting out the controls and to Laura Cox on upload and Angela Cox on registration.

Updated Colligan results

Nobody spotted the deliberate mistake...the map was titled Colligan should have been Colligan West!!!
Honour of the day goes to Ian Heggs who found the sport ident unit I mislaid when putting out the controls. Thanks.
General concensus was that some of the contours were missing on the map and that the climb was more than advertised. I have altered the heights accordingly.
There is no doubt that the damp summer resulted in heavy growth of ferns and brambles. Tracks used previously for the Munster schools event in May required clearance. Hopefully the addition of taped sections improved the courses for everybody. Times were correspondingly long for the length of course.
Full splits/results are posted on the IOA website.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Silva Orienteering Camp

Silva Orienteering Camp took place in Vidnava in the Czech Republic the last week of August. It's a camp for 8-18 year olds, mostly Czech children, but there were people from Israel, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland and Spain too. Really my experience can be summed up in an A-Z!

Andrea - my friend from the Irish Squad who acted as a translator for a lot of the camp

Bikes - we went on bike trips as well as cycling to and from events

Challenge - as well as the maps being complex, our fitness levels were challenged
Dancing- everybody in camp had great fun dancing the macerena at the Spanish evening!

Entertainment - every evening there was cultural evenings or discos to keep us amused

Frogs - they were everywhere in the forests we were in!

Great experience - a chance to learn from top Czech orienteers

Heat - most days it was over 20 degrees celcius which was different to what the Irish orienteer is used to!

Israelis - they were interested in finding out about different cultures and in sharing their own

Jokes - they gave us a control on a rock in the middle of a river...why???

Kangaroos - Sagi from Israel supposedly saw kangaroos whilst out orienteering but we hunted and found none

Late night cards - our team had a tendency to play 'DONKEY' every night until quite late ...

Mosquitos - too many bites, my only complaint!

New friends - I hope to meet up with all my friends at orienteering events next summer :)

Orienteering of course but also organisation. Silva O camp is impecably organised

Playing games - we had our own olympics with crazy madeup games like throwing the control as opposed to a javelin!

Queen - when a girl on our team entered the miss vidnava contest, we all helped her with her free performance by dancing in the background the dancing queen

Rain - it rained all morning for the score event

Slovakians and Slovenians - pretty much all the friends I made at O Camp where one or the other

Terrain - very complex forested areas which were quite different from Irish terrain

Uphill race - we had to run 800m of steep uphill

Vidnava - we were 4km from the town

Wasps - lots of them, especially at breakfast

X(cross) - the first day we had laps to run in the heat, a bit like the time trials except steeper.

Yellow - the colour of the girls tshirts, the boys got blue

Zdrahal, Robert - the guy in charge, usually known as Brko

I'm looking forward to going back next year to this excellent camp!! See you there in 2010?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

W35s success

Well done to Nuala Callery who finished 2nd overall at the Scottish 6 day event in the W35 short class.
Other Wato results were: Thomas Callery 25th on M40 short; Jana Cox 19th on W16B; Laura Cox 30th on W18 Long.
Congratulations to Laura Cox who has been selected to represent Ireland at the forthcoming Junior Home Internationals in Wales in the W18 class. We look forward to heaing about experiences.

Tayside experiences

The Scottish 6 day event took place in Tayside during the first week in August. Despite the abysmal summer weather, we were lucky! Here are some reflections on the M50 competition. For the thoughts and analysis of one of the top orienteers, Martin Dean (finished 2nd overall) check out his blog.
Day 1 was at Dalruzion in coniferous forest with some intricate contour detail. It took some time to get used to what the mapper had decided to include and which clearings and rides, he had decided to leave out. Control 1 on the M50 course (134 competitors!!) proved a very challenging start after a summer of no orienteering. I got into it by the 4th control when I was caught by another Irish runner. In my rush to get away from him, I made a massive error and lost a lot of time (81st). The mind plays funny games and you can make the map fit the terrain even if you are in completely the wrong place.
Day 2 was nearer to base at Kinnoull with much nicer runnable forest. However one particular control proved to be a lottery. There were two obvious route choices. However one proved to be much faster and straightforward than the other. More time and places lost (65th).
On M50, there were 6 Irish competitors and as always there was a competition within a competition to be the best placed on the day and then finally overall. By Day 3, I was ready to drop the first two days places. The best 4 days count overall.
Day 3 was a typical West Cork day with rain sweeping in over the moorland and soggy underfoot at Tullochroisk. Despite losing time at control 2 and small errors within the forest, I picked up plenty of places out on the open as people tired (56th).
The next day was rest day but there was the option of doing the Sprint O around Scone Palace and the Perth racecourse. The Palace area was not that well mapped with odd rides and colour usage, the race course area was simply long legs through fields. Despite finishing 94th out of 194, I was a little disappointed wih simple small errors. Was however 2nd Irish and 7th best M50.
Day 4 was at the forested dunes of Tentsmuir. In reality only the first section was interesting when there was lots of short legs in the technical dune area. A long leg then to rejoin the shorter courses in some uninteresting forest. There was even a crazy leg into a completely felled area...we would not even do this in local events. The pressure of other Irish runners hit again as I caught up with a runner just before a control and we both managed to punch the wrong one in our hurry to get away! The time would have put me in a respectable 58th place. Now the pressure was on because I had to drop this day!
Day 5 was in the military training sand dune area of Barry Buddon, near Dundee. Once again one big error cost me time but finished 66th place.
Day 6 was the big one. Our start block had begun on the first day near 10 and ended on the last day near 2. Out on the moorlands near Loch Ordie with plenty of heather the omens were good.
The start was anything but! I had lost 4 minutes by the time I relocated the first control. From then on, I probably had my best run for a long time in 43rd position. This was enough to achieve my goals of being the best Irish runner in the class, to be in the top half overall (65th out of 134) and to finish one day in the top 50. What a great way to finish.

Draft fixtures for Autumn 2009

South East League Fixtures
September 13th: Colligan Wood, Dungarvan
October 4th: Tower Hill, Portlaw (National Trails Day)
October 25th: Kilbunny, Portlaw
November 8th: Davmore, Comeraghs (Munster league)
November 22nd: Knockanaffrin

Other dates for your diary!
September 20th: Oceanic Surf and Sea festival in Tramore (help needed to run some simple orienteering on the beach)
September 23rd: South east schools relays at Kennedy park, County Wexford (deferred from May...lots of help needed on the day)
September 27th: Cliona Callnan Memorial event at Doneraile park, county Cork

October 3rd: Northern Ireland Championships
November 1st: Munster Championships, Ballydavid, Co Tipperary.
November 29th: Connacht Championships
Other Munster League events on 20th September (BOC); 18th October (Kerry O); 6th December (DFO)

Neil at WOC in Hungary

Congratulations to Neil Dobbs who is representing Ireland at the World orienteering Championships in Hungary.
Check out his blog for a flavour of the efforts he is putting in!