Orienteering Events, Leagues and Championships
The following is a description of the various leagues and championships that take place in Ireland. It also explains the types of events that can take place.
You can enter most events at the start. The cost is usually approx. €8. Most of the championship events require pre-entry and entry forms will be circulated beforehand. I hope to be able to provide enough information here for you to either enter without an entry form or to get an entry form. If you are really stuck (eg. not living in Ireland), email me and I’ll see what I can do.
Connaught Champs: This is the premier event in Connaught. There may be some courses that you can enter on-the-day, but, in general, you MUST ENTER BEFOREHAND. If there is a web page for an upcoming COC, it should be available here.
Irish Orienteering Championships: This is the premier event in Ireland. There will be some courses that you can enter on-the-day, but,for the competition, you MUST ENTER BEFOREHAND. If there is a web page for an upcoming IOC, it should be available here.
Irish Orienteering Relay Championships: This is the premier inter-club relay event in Ireland. It is usually held on the day after the individual championships. You must pre-enter. If there is a web page for an upcoming IOC, it should be available here.
Leinster Champs: This is the premier event in Leinster. There may be some courses that you can enter on-the-day, but, in general, you MUST ENTER BEFOREHAND. If there is a web page for an upcoming LOC, it should be available here.
Munster Champs: This is the premier event in Munster. There will be some courses that you can enter on-the-day, but,for the competition, you MUST ENTER BEFOREHAND. If there is a web page for an upcoming MOC, it should be available here.
Northern Ireland Championships: This is the championships of the Northern Ireland Orienteering Association. There may be some courses that you can enter on-the-day, but, in general, you MUST ENTER BEFOREHAND. If there is a web page for an upcoming NIOC, it should be available here.
Shamrock O-Ringen: Usually it’s a 3 day event – a short event on Friday evening, a classic on Saturday and a chasing start on Sunday. The events are all on excellent, mainly open hillside areas. The real charm, however, is the holiday atmosphere and relaxed, but efficient, organizing style. The Irish Champs may be the most important event in Ireland but this is the best! More information on the Shamrock web page.
Leagues and less serious ‘one-offs’:
Ballyhoura 3-day: This is a 3 day event run by BOC and BVOC in and around the Ballyhoura area in North Cork/Limerick at Easter. I’m not sure about the format. You can pre-enter or you can enter on-the-day.
Evening, Inter-Firm, Business Houses League: There are several of these leagues during the Summer in Cork and Dublin. The CNOC Evening League is based in Kildare and Wicklow. This is followed by another Evening League in Dublin. In Cork, CorkO organise an Inter-firm league and BOC organise a Business Houses league. Start times are from approx. 6pm to 7pm. There are usually one or two fairly easy courses. They are all great fun and highly recommended.
Cork Champs: The Cork Champs is a once-off event with a format similar to the Cork League. Despite its grandiose title, it is a normal ‘local’ type event and you do not need to pre-enter, ie you can just turn up on the day. Courses are not usually too difficult.
Cork County League: This is a league run by Bishopstown Orienteering Club near Cork.
Cork League: The Cork League is a series of events held in forests near Cork city during the autumn. There are 3 courses ranging from approx. 8km to 3Km. None are very difficult. The entry fee is usually #3 for adults.
Inter-firm League: There are two inter-firm leagues during the summer. One is in Cork and has been going for several years. The other is in Dublin and has started up this year.
The Cork league is run by CorkO on Tuesday evenings from approx. 6pm to 7pm from the end of May to the end of July. CorkO provide one very easy course, Beginners can walk around while good orienteers are expected to race very hard. This is a VERY competitive league.
Kingdom League: This is a series of events in Kerry. Most, if not all, of these events are in excellent areas and I have recommended them. Overall this would seem to be a very worthwhile series of events. If you get a chance, come to some of these events.
Leinster Autumn Series:
Leinster Spring Cup:
Leinster Inter-Club League:
Leinster League: This is a series of events, mostly in the Dublin/Wicklow area. The Autumn league takes place from September to December. The Spring Cup takes place from January to May. It also encompasses the Inter-Club League. The format has changed recently so have a look at the Leinster Orienteering Association web page for more details.
National MTBO Series: A national league of mountain bike orienteering events. It consists of a long course and a shorter course.
Northern Ireland Series: This is a series of events held on Saturdays in Northern Ireland. Most, if not all, of the maps used for this series have been used before for championship events, so they are of a reasonably high quality.
Southwestern League: 8 events (4 before Christmas and 4 after) organised by CorkO and KerryO. All events are of standard cross-country type using standard colour-coding of classes. 5 colour-coded classes available: Brown, Blue, Green, Orange and Yellow. All events Sunday morning, Start times from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
TIO Trophy: This is the All-Ireland inter-club competition sponsored by The Irish Orienteer magazine. The format is now, one big knockout competition in September with two sections (big clubs and small clubs). The winning club is eligable to compete at the Compassport competition in Britain.
Butterfly: This it is a “one man relay” where each competitor runs three short courses, back-to-back, making up the normal distance. This format is usually used to provide better viewing for spectators.
Colour Coded: Previously, most events had courses called ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ etc. The A course was usually more difficult than the B course and so on. This was fine except the A course at one event, in a park say, could be quite easy while the A course at another event, on open mountain, could be very difficult. To overcome this inconsistency the Colour Event was created.
In a colour event, each course is given a colour coding. These colours and their associated difficulty are pre-defined and are the same for all colour events. This way, the hardest course in a park could be ‘Red’ say, while another event on open mountain could have a ‘Brown’ course. The basic colours and their difficlties are shown below. Any colour coded event will have some or all of these courses. This is not a definitive list as some organisers add others (eg. Light Green – a shorter version of Green):
- Black – Too difficult for mere mortals :-).
- Brown – Long, very technical and tough.
- Blue – Quite long, very technical and reasonably tough.
- Green – Not too long, very technical and not too tough.
- Red – Not too long, not too technical and not too tough.
- Orange- Quite short and quite easy.
- Yellow- Short and easy.
- White – Very short and very very easy.
Line Event: A line event is usually used as a training exercise. Instead of being told where, on the map, the controls have been placed, competitors are shown a line along which the controls have been placed. The competitor must follow the line, on the ground, to find the controls. In theory, the controls can be anywhere along the line but, usually, the controls are on a feature on the line.
Long O: These are basically the same as a normal orienteering event but they are much longer (Up to about 20 Km). Usually they are held on a big O map, a combination of O maps or an Ordnance Survey 1:50000 map.
Mountain Marathon: Currently there are 2 mountain marathons held annually in Ireland – the Lowe Alpine Mountain Mourne Mountain Marathon and the Setanta Wicklow Rogaine. Basically, a MM is a very long orienteering event. It takes place over two days with an overnight camp between. Course lengths are usually between 30km and 70km. However, because that’s too easy, you have to carry all your gear (tent, cooker, sleeping bag, food etc.) with you!
Night Event: If you think orienteering is difficult normally, then try it at night! This is just the same as a normal orienteering event but it takes place at night. Competitors use torches (normally worn on their heads) to see.
Open: A term that isn’t used much any more. These events are open to all. They should provide several courses of various length and difficulty. They were previously called Grade 2 events. Nowadays, open events are usually Colour Coded. The Leinster Leagues comprises mostly Open events.
Rogaine: A rogaine is basically a very very long score event. The only one in Ireland at the moment is the Setanta Wicklow Rogaine.
Score Event: In a score event, competitors are given a time limit to collect as many points as possible with a penalty for any time, over the limit, out on the course. There are up to 30 controls in the forest with different points for each one, depending on it’s difficulty and remoteness. Competitors have to plan a route to get as high a score as possible. Score events are usually much easier to organise than normal events.
Scatter Event: In a scatter event, competitors may visit the controls in any order. It is up to the competitor to decide which order is most efficient for him. In one variant, competitors may leave out a number of controls (usually 1). This makes decision making a bit more difficult.
Short-O: There seems to be some confusion about what exactly Short-O is. One thing that it is NOT, is Sprint-O. As the name implies, courses are shorter than normal, but the legs are the same length. This means less controls. Short-O courses can be just 60%-80% of normal courses. The alternative is competitors having to run two courses, one after the other. Both short with a winning time of 20-30 mins. The winner is the competitor with the shortest accumilated time. The second run may even be a chasing start, based on the first run.
Sprint-O: Sprint-O courses are shorter than normal courses but with the same number of controls. The main feature of sprint courses, therefore, is very short legs. This means that competitors are using close-in navigation skills at high speed. Do not confuse this with Short-O – I know some organisers do!