Executive Committee Vacancies

As some of you may know from the AGM there are three vacancies on the IOA Committee. It is  important for Orienteering in Ireland that three people step forward to fill these  positions. The vacant positions are Chairperson, PRO/Comms and Controller of Technical Standards. If you would like to have a chat about any of these positions, any of the committee members would be happy to talk. Details of the Current committee members are at




EYOC 2018 Team Announcement

I am delighted to announce on behalf of the selection committee, the team that will be travelling to Bulgaria, from the to represent Ireland in Orienteering at the European Youth Orienteering Championships from the 28th June to the 1st July.

I would like to thank all the Junior Athletes for their dedication to our sport, and the parents, coaches etc who make it possible for our Juniors to train and compete in a safe and positive environment.  I personally would like to thank the selectors, who work so hard at making the very difficult decisions.

EYOC 2018
Ciara Silby W18
Cliodhna Donaghy W16
Aidan McCullough M18
Andrew Elwood M18
Dan McDonnell M18
Cathal Lane M18
Peter Reed M16
Liam Cotter M16


JWOC 2018 Team Announcement

I am delighted to announce, on behalf of the selectors, the team that will be representing Ireland at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Hungary from the 8th to the 14th July. Many congratulations to those selected for their hard work and dedication to orienteering.

The Teams are:

Conall Whelan

Ruairi Long

Zac O’Sullivan Hourihan

Emer Perkins

Eadaoin McCavana

Clodagh Moran

Good luck with the training, map geeking and learning Hungarian……

JWOC 2018

Experiences of Irish Orienteering

Josefine Klintberg has been participating in a University exchange programme in Trinity College, Dublin for the past five months. She has thrown herself into the Irish orienteering community, participating in events almost every week and even giving a talk to our Junior Squad following the time trials in March.

I asked Josefine to give us a visitor’s insight into Irish orienteering.

Experiences of Irish orienteering

In the beginning of January I packed my bags and left Sweden for 5 months of living and studying in Dublin. Many people have asked me why I chose to do my exchange in Ireland and even though English speaking country and good university was a priority for me, the decisive factor when I went through the list of possible exchange spots was the possibility to continue on running orienteering.

For someone as me (from Sweden), that’s used to snowy winters, and therefore mostly doing plain running during winter, its been amazing to live in Ireland. The possibility to go orienteering already in January feels like such a luxury. It was only 3 days after my plane landed in Dublin that I got to run the first night-O, a mass start in Phoenix Park, and after that it was some events almost every weekend and some trainings in between.

Time flies when you’re having fun and this spring was no exception, and soon it was the last weekend before returning back to Sweden. This big finale of my time in Ireland also happened to collide with the Irish Orienteering Championship in Donegal. It seemed like Ireland wanted to give me a perfect goodbye and the weather was great, lots of people to talk to and discuss orienteering with and a fun night with quiz organized by the junior squad in between competitions. 

The three individual races that I participated in was all so much fun. The middle and long was so different from other competitions I’ve done since it was only open mountain and the maps were great. Especially the long distance was something really extraordinary for me with a map that really should be on a “orienteering bucket-list”. Despite one smaller mistake to the first control (possibly I was too excited over the terrain) I was so happy throughout the course. I felt alone on the mountain for most of the time but occasionally I looked up and saw a colorful shirt passing over the hills in front of me. An impressive amount of detail along with open sight pushed me to keep my vision held high and to make things simple by sorting out the distinct features to get the flow and being able to keep the pace up. The climb was tough but the variety in shorter and longer legs made me keep the positivity and keep pushing, it was one of those days when I just didn’t want the course to be over. 

During my years of orienteering, I’ve had the possibility to compete in various places of the world, and with that I’ve found favourites when it comes to terrains and maps, and  Tawnawully goes straight in to my top 5 orienteering experiences, alongside maps from northern Norway, Iceland and New Zealand. 

Looking back to when I arrived in Dublin in January, I didn’t know what to expect of Ireland in orienteering aspects, but I’ve been impressed by the diversity of the terrain and the maps. Every week I had the possibility to learn more about Irish orienteering. I gained close acquaintance with the dark green areas and the thorn bushes (learning by doing was the recipe here and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to avoid these). I experienced the, incredible, possibility of running night orienteering without reflectors and step by step I learned the way to best face the challenges that Irish orienteering provides. And most importantly, I’ve learned how kind and helpful the orienteers in Ireland are and I’ve felt so incredibly welcome at every event I’ve been to!

It’s a sad moment to return home but it is with a memory filled with fun stories and experiences connected to orienteering and I hope that I will get back to Ireland soon to collect more cool maps and terrains and meet all amazing orienteers again. I remember when I was a kid and I had a badge on my orienteering bag that said “Orienteering, a way of living” and I’ve never found it to be so true as I did in Ireland. 

Josefine terrain

I think we can all say we look forward to seeing Josefine return, perhaps with some of her Swedish clubmates for the Irish Championship or perhaps the Shamrock Oringen.

Thanks for the Map Paul

A message from Nick…..

Last weekend when I was back home in Ireland I received an award from Irish Orienteering for Outstanding Performance. However this isn’t about the award. This is about the other gentleman in this picture, without whom this award would never have found my hands. Paul introduced me to orienteering 15 years ago, and you could say I’ve never looked back. Being from a non-orienteering family I knew nothing about what doors orienteering would open for me. It has brought me on the pretty cool journey that has led me to where I am today. Paul set me out on this route, and many others have helped me along the way, none more so than my parents, but every race has to have a start point. . Sometimes when things don’t feel like they are going to plan in the present I look back at the bigger picture to recapture the motivation for whatever I’m striving towards. So once again thanks for putting that first map in my hands Paul, and all your encouragement and interest since then.

A special mention too for Mary Healy, Ruth Lynam and Sean Cotter for their help along the way.

Follow Nick on his Instagram page or Webpage.

Irish Orienteering Championship 2018- Sprint

Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan gives us an insight into his IOC 2018 Sprint race.

Irish Orienteering Championships 2018 – Sprint

Sligo IT & Clayton Hotel

As with every year IOC 2018 was a main target race for this season. This year was always going to have a high quality field as nobody travelled to EOC 2018 in Ticino, Switzerland due to a clash of timings. It was the largest M21 field I have seen at an IOC Sprint (feel free to correct me if I am wrong) which was fantastic.

With a gap of 5 weeks between the JK2018 Sprint in MOD Stafford to IOC 2018 it gave me some time to prepare more on a physical and technical level. Since the start of 2018 I have been getting good feedback from training sessions along with technique camps such as the Bergen Sprint Camp earlier this year in Norway. One of the key things I have learned in recent times is the importance of the “nerding” process prior to a major race. In this vein I did research using Google Maps, Open Street Map, Open Orienteering Map, Google Street View and there was also a map of the area (used in 2014) on the Sligo Orienteering club Facebook page which I didn’t find, but Conall mentioned he had located it.

Race day for me is normally initially a nervous start but then it changes to excitement. I fuelled well before the race in the same way as always and I warmed up in the same way as usual. My legs felt a bit heavy, but from experience I know not to worry about this on a race day. I checked out the start during my warm-up (which can be useful to know if possible), it was exactly where I expected it to be based on the information given in the final details.

I noticed (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one) none of the controls were on the inside corner of anything which could be deemed un-crossable (fenced, walls, hedges) when in the start boxes. This limited, though didn’t rule out, the chances of any traps set by the course planner.

As everyone in the start area noticed the start headed east and around the building, easy section of dead running to get into the course. The early part of the course was relatively straightforward but in that it was important to run flat out. The early route choices from 3-4 and 4-5 were relatively even but I took the right hand option to 4 and then left to 5 in order to avoid corners and the steps.

The next section through the spectator loop and to control 8 was a footrace. At control 8 it was myself and Nick joint in the lead in 4:56 with Paul just 3 seconds behind. Coming in towards control 9 I saw Shea and Conrad so this perked me up a little bit to keep the speed high and chase hard. Control 10-11 was a simple left (~240m) or right (~215m) routechoice, I think most guys took the right hand alternate (?). Again there was a routechoice presented from 12-13. Here Shea took the routechoice back past 10 while myself and Conrad crossed the river which was ~20m longer. I lost 1second to Shea on this leg, 2seconds to Eric and Nick and 3seconds to Kev (although I am not sure which routes they took).

Simple nav through 14-15 although I didn’t quite spot the kite at 15 and then messed up punching losing some seconds. I made another small error running to 17 where I saw the crossing point symbol on the map but the line was across the gap, this meant a quick stop and map check before going through the gap, maybe just 2-3seconds lost here. At this stage I was breathing pretty hard from the high paced running but the last section through 17-18-19-20-21-F was straightforward and I could see Shea and a few of the others a bit ahead so kept working as hard as I could. I was able to post fastest splits to 19-20-21 although not fastest on the all-important run in!

Immediately after finishing I had the feeling it had been a good run (being within 5sec on all splits), I mean there were not many places you could go wrong out there, but I went straight to download to ensure I hadn’t done like 2 weeks previous in Dungarvan and missed out a control. All OK on the read out and at the bottom it said I was currently in 2nd place which lead to a nervous wait for the later starters to come in (Kev, Colm M). Tightly bunched results list and nice to have a BOC 1-2 for the first time in M21 (I think?) !

This was my first Senior national podium place as an individual after (too) many years of trying, 20 seconds behind Nick and just 8 seconds ahead of Paul. The progress had been coming in the last few years (2015 – 7th (+45sec), 2016 – 6th (+39sec), 2017 – 5th (+31sec), – 2018 – 2nd (+20sec)) it was just a matter of piecing it all together when it mattered. I’m sure many will feel (myself included) that it wasn’t the most tricky of sprint races but you can only race what is put in front of you and it is the same course and same challenges for everyone out there. As was said after the JK 2018 Sprint, if it’s easy you aren’t pushing hard enough.

My season continues next weekend (hopefully) with the NIOC Sprint and Middle Distance championships held by FERMO but with the obvious longer term goal of the WOC Test Race in Latvia (6th July). This is plenty of time to fine tune some technique issues and also to progress further on the running speed side of the game.

Well done to everyone who raced and to SligO for organising this years IOC Sprint.

Keep training, keep racing, keep smiling and here is to bigger and better things!


IOC sprint results and splits

Sligo IT sprint map 2018

JWOC 2018 Training Camp

Every year our athletes travel far and wide to train on relevant terrain for their upcoming international competitions. These trips allow them to experience each country’s, often unique, orienteering terrain and  the subtle differences in styles of planning and mapping in each territory prior to a big event. This is vitally important for our athletes; ensuring they are prepared for international competition. This has an added bonus for our athletes giving them a great opportunity to see unusual locations throughout the world, although it is always done on a shoestring budget!

Conall Whelan and Ruairi Long, both M20 are currently training for Junior World Orienteering Championships which will be held in Hungary this July. Conall gives us an account of their trip to the JWOC training camp in March this year.

As students Ruairi and I evidently searched for the cheapest route to travel to the third official JWOC training camp. This involved staying overnight in Budapest in a quirky hotel outside the city on the Monday night. Christian, a Canadian orienteer, met us in the city on the Tuesday and we all travelled on the train together to our accomodation for the camp. The train took 2 and a half hours, which we happen to share with a fellow UCD 2nd year engineer, whom we met at the station by chance! Thankfully he was able to fill us in on the ins and outs of the country. It was a very old train which gave us a unique experience and a step back in time for us millennials; stopping in the middle of roads where people walked off the train and straight into cars, and the toilet even fell straight onto the track.

Budapest view

After the long train journey through empty infertile plains and plenty of what appeared to be wasteland, we reached the so called “city” of Kiskunhalas. The hostel we were staying in was a short walk from the station; or the place where the train stopped and people got off, station is probably too strong a word. The link for the accomodation sent us on a small tour of the neighbourhood until we eventually figured out where it was. It seemed that we were the first to arrive to the hostel as the secretary hadn’t got a notion of what was going on and also didn’t speak english, nor did we have Hungarian. Later that evening teams from other countries arrived such as Bulgaria, Britain and Turkey. We had taken the self catered (cheapest) option, so first thing on the to-do list was to take a quick trip to the local Lidl. Stunned by the local prices we went all out and bought many pastries to keep us going. Also, us being athletes and all, stocked up on water and ice tea while we were there.
The first day of training was exciting. The morning session was a bit of a drive away which our driver didn’t seem to realise as we turned up late. It was short 3 control intervals. The evening training was even more interesting. We were given a map with four quarters on it. Each quarter had a different colour. One brown which focused on contours, one green which was vegetation, another black which was just vegetation changes, and yellow which was open land. The course provided, crossed all four quarters. It was a very different orienteering experience for me, something that I’ve never tried before.

Four seasons map                              Long map JWOC
The next day was a training race around the juniper “maze”. A very technical course that seperated the men from the boys. It was a slow and painful race due to the prickly bushes, but nevertheless we completed it. An unforgiving, challenging, but fun terrain.
The third day was a sprint event in a city called Szeged in the south of the country. The sprint was fast and flat with a lovely church in the middle of it. Christian starting one minute behind me, caught me by control 8. This was quite frustrating for me, especially as he was wearing a body cam so it was all on video. I chose an alternate and far worse route choice after he caught up with me, which meant that he over took me without even realising it. It was a slippy course due to the rain shower that had begun that morning and continued until the next day.
The following day we entered the Szeged cup. This was a two day event, quite like the JK in Britain with around 1000 people attending. John and Cuan Riordan joined us for the two days, driving us around and participating themselves. Ruairi must have been holding back during the days of training as he got off to a flying start in Saturday’s middle, finishing only 3 minutes down on Christian, as opposed to my 13 minutes; don’t even ask. Christian had a stormer finishing 8 seconds down on the winner. The terrain wasn’t as technical as during the training. Open land with scattered trees and small hills with 2 meter contours, scattered the map. An extremely fast race with runners reaching paces of as low as 4 mins/km. At this speed there are no room for mistakes, seconds matter.
After a long 2 hours of waiting around in the car, trying to heat up and hiding from the pouring rain, we got back out and warmed up for the relay. Two fast races in one day was a struggle, especially in the miserable, cold rain. John, Cuan and Ruairi formed one team, and Christian, a British coach called Nixon, and I formed a second team. Ruairí flew around his 3 kilometer course in 15 minutes, beating all the children and elderly in the race and arriving back more than 5 minutes in the lead on first leg. Nixon also flew around the 6 kilometer, men’s 21 course coming in in 4th place. An unfortunate thing for me as it meant I had to perform! Christian held his position and handed over to me. After the mornings disaster I went on and had a fantastic ru….., just kidding, I bottled it. A 4 minute mistake cost me a handful of places. Frustrating but the main thing is that I had fun, or at least that’s what we are told as children….
The next day, Sunday, was the long distance. This was the first race we had on a 1:15,000 scale map there. A whopping 14 kilometer course was set out for us. Luckily it had minimal climb so it wasn’t as harsh as it sounds. Running in sub zero temperatures was interesting, but once we got moving it wasn’t too bad. Christian and Ruairi once again had great runs with me finishing 7 minutes and 5 minutes down on them respectively. A minor mishap in a more technical section of the map, and a general slow pace meant that I lost a handful of minutes. The course was quite easy. Half the map was squared sections of forested trees, the rest being the same as the middle distance terrain the previous day.
That evening John Riordan kindly drove all three of us and his son Cuan to the airport where we flew home. Our flights were delayed by an hour due to heavy snow in Dublin airport but we arrived home that night safe and sound.
Overall the trip was memorable and much needed taster of the unique terrain that central Hungary has to offer.

I’d like to thank John Riordan for putting up with ferrying us around for the weekend. I’d also like to thank Jeni Pim and Mike Long for the organising that went into the Irish outing.


Conall Whelan

Orienteering in Ireland
  • Orienteering Ireland
    Irish Sport HQ
    D15 DY62
  • fixtures@orienteering.ie
  • info@orienteering.ie