April 2011

Fermanagh event cancelled
The planned event on the Tuesday after the JK (the day after the Relays) has been cancelled because  Fermanagh Orienteers’ involvement in the JK weekend would overstretch the small club too much. However, you can still run on Wednesday and Thursday in the Mournes before heading southwards to the Irish Championships.
JK entries still open
Even though the official closing date for the JK individual events has passed, limited entries are still available up to the limit of printed maps. These late entries will cost £2 per day on top of the normal entry fee – see the Sportident web site for details here.

Support the Irish Junior Squad

If you’re going to the JK, there are two opportunities to support the Irish Junior Squad: through going to the Table Quiz on Saturday evening at Stranmillis in Belfast, scene of the Sprint the previous day, or by buying one of the JK hoodies and sweatshirts available on the event website via Sportident. You can sign up for the quiz at the event, but you need to order the tops in advance as they are being made to order. Details here.
The Junior Squad has runners from all parts of the country and promotes technical and fitness training for young orienteers. Squad members will travel to the European Youth O-Champs in the Czech Republic in June, to the Junior World Champs in Poland in July, to the World Championships in France in August and to the Junior Home International in faraway Fermanagh September. The kids (or parents) have to put up most of the money for these trips, so every bit of help from the O-community is really appreciated.

Countdown to IOC2011
Less than four weeks to go to the premier event in the Irish O-Calendar! With the hype surrounding the JK, it may be easy to overlook the Irish Championships a week later, but the combination of the two events has been a bonus for them both. Entries for IOC have topped 400 with two days to go before entries close, but Relay entries have still to pass the 50 mark. Relays can be great fun, so if you’ve never tried one, get together with your friends or clubmates and give it a lash. The number of relay classes has been reduced to seven, so it’s not as complex as it once was and there fill be a good number in each category.
The Middle Distance race on Saturday 30th April at Glendoo Ridge East, on the Dublin/Wicklow border between Glencullen and Glencree, will feature open mountain with old turf cuttings, and the Relay on the Bank Holiday Monday will return to the adjacent Wicklow side of the ridge facing into Glencree. The organisers recomment bringing binoculars as much of the competition area is visible from the changeover area: every control a spectator control!
Sandwiched between the two is the Classic race at Mall Hill/Brockagh, close to Laragh and Glendalough. Previous maps of the area can be seen on Routegadget from the IOC web page here. The ground is more runnable but boulder-strewn in comparison to the other two days, and GEN have kindly provided the map and terrain since the original area was declared out of bounds due to breeding birds.
Full details of the event here.

25 Years Ago

Most of the issues of The Irish Orienteerpublished between 1982 and 2008 have now been scanned and should shortly be available as pdf documents on the IOA web site, thanks largely to Brian Hollinshead who undertook the scanning. As a taster, here are some snippets from 1986:

The Irish Championships at Slieve Croob on April 26/27 (see JK2011) were won by the AJAX pair of Peter Kernan and Orla Cooke. Brian Corbett was 9 seconds adrift in the men’s race. A good run by Marcus Pinker saw him take the M11 title! Curragh won the Men’s Relay and GEN the Women’s.

The cover of the first issue of the year showed Eileen Loughman running through the bush at the 1985 World Championships in Australia. Roxanne White was the only other Irish representative.
A letter of appreciation from Gareth Murphy in Dublin praised a recent string course he had done: “Dear John I enjoyed doing the string course I liked the animals I liked the bear best”. Aonghus ÓCléirigh introduced “Grandslam Orienteering” with a mass start event on a lovely little map of the sand dunes at Portmarnock, sadly now a golf course. The third “Irish Orienteer Trophy” inter-club knockout competition ran in 2006, based on the UK CompassSport Cup. UCD Orienteers (also known as Belfield Orienteers, BO) celebrated their 10th anniversary. They were UCDOC but became UCDO when people used to ask “What’s UCDOC?” in their best Bugs Bunny voice.

Preparations were under way for the Continental Cup and the World Military O-Championships, both to be held in Wicklow. At the IOA AGM in Wesley College, Dublin, Connacht Chairman Frank Ryan expressed the view that the sport in the province was in the doldrums (but it still survives today). The International O-Federation was celebrating its 25th birthday. A party of Swedes, led by Peo Bengtsson, visited Ireland in the week after the JK and ran in a series of specially staged events. National Orienteering Day (with introductory events across the country) was on October 5th.

The Moving Crag controversy was revisited by Curragh Orienteers and Niall Rice who had a difference of opinion at a Grade 1 event in Stradbally in May 1983 (the first event where homogenised milk was given to finishers) when a control wasn’t in the expected location. This was the cause of considerable controversy in IOA for some time.

Happy times!

Phoenix Park Time Trial is no more

For several years the Irish Junior Squad has been running time trial fitness tests in the Furry Glen in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, on a route involving hills, tracks, mud, trees and streams. The Office of Public Works have called a halt, though, because of concerns about environmental damage in the area, though this was hardly caused by a group of orienteers running there a couple of times a year. The March time trials are likely to be the last, but the Park may yet provide an alternative.
You can see the results of the time trials over the years at the Junior Team web site here.
Ivan’s Long-O series a success
In a return to old-style orienteering with a 21st century twist, Ivan Millar organised a series of three Long orienteering events using 1:15000 maps to give the Elites and prospective Elites a chance to run longer courses on this scale of map in preparation for races like the Workd Junior Championships and the World Championships where running times in excess of two hours are common.
The events are Gortalougheny, Co. Fermanagh, Carlingford, Co. Louth and Tollymore, Co. Down, attracted good crowds whio certainly got value for money. CNOC’s Colm Hill took the top spot on the Men’s long course, with Ciara Largey (FermO/QUBOC) took the ladies prize.
Full results and information here.

JK Concert
A first for this year’s JK is a concert featuring the groups Bearna and Bethany in the elegant Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle on Easter Sunday evening, feet will be tapping and jivers jumpin’ to Lambeg and bodhrán at the JK social.
The music will be preceded by the Routegadget sessions where winners and losers dissect their routes, and the evening will feature other music and entertainment plus the prizegiving for the Trail-O events.
The organisers would prefer people to but a ticket beforehand, though they will be on sale over the weekend too. Tickets are only £7 for adults and £3 for children. Buy tickets online at the Sportident website here. Incidentally, JK entries have reached almost 2100 with a very high percentage running the sprint race as well as the conventional terrain races.
It turns out that it’s not “Different Drums” after all!

Closing date reminders
JK relays 7th April
Irish Championships 8th April
Shamrock O-Ringen 6th May
Would anyone care to do a report on the recent Leinster Championships for us?
Orienteering in Ireland
Orienteering Ireland, Irish Sport HQ, Blanchardstown
D15 DY62, Ireland