March News

Watch out in March for the first NIOA Series event of 2010 at Drum Manor, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, on Saturday 6th, the Leinster Spring League event on Dublin’s Bull Island (Sunday 7th), the Leinster Secondary Schools Championships at Carrickgolligan, Kilternan, Co. Dublin on the 24th and the Munster Schools Championships at Colligan, Dungarvan, on the 25th, and another Leinster Spring event on a new map of Emo Court, Co. Laois, on the 28th.. The Spring Cup in Denmark is on 27-29th – details here. Full IOA and NIOA fixtures are on the IOA website.

Entries open for Irish Championships
Entries have opened for this year’s Irish Orienteering Championships on April 23-25. The events will be in Co. Derry, starting with a sprint race at the Coleraine campus of the NUU on Friday 23rd, followed by the Individual and Relay on an extended map of the intricate open sand dunes of Magilligan. LVO and NWOC are the hosts.
The IOC sprint race will be used for selection for the World Championships sprint and the other IOC races will also be part of the selection process for the Junior World Champs and European Youth Champs.
The cheapest entries are up to 12th April. Visit the web site here.

Irish Tour Portugal
A large group of irish orienteers travelled to the Portugal O-Meet on February 13-16th at Figueira da Foz, on the coast about 170 km north of Lisbon. the event is traditionally held the weekend before Ash Wednesday, with another competition further north the following weekend.
A group of 11 juniors also took part in the event, run on fast forested sand dunes. The competition featured two long distance and two middle distance races and there was a night sprint event in a small fishing village on the first day as a bit of variety. This was a lot of fun, with tiny lanes barely wide enough to get through, and a run-in along the beach. The main competition provided very fast and technical orienteering and was a great way to spend a few days of a mid-term break. Best of the Irish were Mary Healy (2nd W55), Ruth Lynam (4th W45) and Niamh Corbett (4th W15). The Irish Junior Tour party were ranked 10th out of almost 350 clubs, so they did well.
Results were better in the night sprint event: 1st place to Mary Healy (W55), 2nd to Niamh Corbett (W15), Declan McGrellis (M35) and Ruth Lynam (W45), 3rd to Niamh O’Boyle (W Elite). Full results are here.
Portugal has become a popular destination for orienteering training. with lots of maps, technical runnable forests and (normally) good weather. The event was obviously popular with Scandinavians fleeing the winter, though this year’s weather was more like Siberia than Portugal. Veteran globetrotter Peo Bengtsson from Sweden was 1st M70.
The Junior Tour was billed mainly as a training trip rather than a competition, and some useful lessons were learned, not just by the juniors: make sure you have your SI card and compass when you go to the start; check your control codes carefully; it doesn’t matter how fast you run if you haven’t got all the controls; take that extra quarter second at the control to check that the SI unit beeped.
Next year’s event is the first weekend in March but won’t coincide with mid-term, so hard luck, Juniors – only the parents can go! (Well, maybe some Transition Year people …)


Trail-O impresario Alan Gartside would like to hear from anyone wishing to be considered for selection to the Irish teams competing at the World and European Championships in TrailO this summer. The European Champs are in Sweden from 3rd-7th August and the World Champs are in Norway from 8th-13th August (alongside the FootO World Champs). A country can enter up to 6 competitors in the Open class in EuTOC and up to 3 in the Open class in WTOC (it can enter similar numbers in the Paralympic classes but he is unaware of any Irish qualifiers). The web sites for both competitions can be reached via the IOF web site here.
Alan would be grateful for early responses as the first entry date for the European Champs is fast approaching.
Trail Orienteering, in case you haven’t tried it, is a very demanding navigation exercise, requiring you to choose which of several controls in the circle is the correct one. It doesn’t require fitness, but good eyesight, excellent map-reading skills and a devious mind are all useful.
Alan can be contacted at
To sharpen yoour Trail-O skills, you can try the Irish Trail-O Championships at Castleward, Co. Down on 17th April and the Northern Ireland Trail-O Championships at nearby Delamont Country Park on April 18th. Details from Alan or from the organisers, Lagan Valley Orienteers.

JK Entries Closing
Individual entries for the Jan Kjellstrom O-Festival in Devon at Easter close on March 12th and Relay entries on March 19th. Details here.

World Masters Entry Limit
Anyone thinking of going to the World Masters O-Championships in Switzerland in early August needs to watch the entry numbers: the event is to be capped at 4500 runners and there were 3300 registered last November. The latest date for registration is 15th May and for payment, 19th June. Details here.

Trooperstown Downhill

GEN ran their second downhill competition at Trooperstown, Co. Wicklow, on 21st February. After a mass-start at the summit of Trooperstown Hill, Andrew Butterfield’s course brought the runners south east towards Clarabeg before doubling back with a long leg to control 4, a small snow-covered boulder which caught out the unwary, then continued down into Trooperstown Wood to the finish. While each control was actually at a lower level than the one before, the optimum route involved some climb, and the sub-optimal routes taken by many of the runners involved considerable climb! The course was gaffled (i.e. forked) to prevent following. GEN’s Paul Nolan was the fastest on the day, (30.59 for the 4.7 km course) with 3ROC’s Ger Butler second and CNOC’s Conor Short third. Full results are here.

Junior Training Weekend

The Spring training weekend for the Junior Squad will be on 20/21 March. The usual format will apply – time trials in the Furry Glen at the Phoenix Park in Dublin on Saturday morning, followed by technical training in the afternoon; overnight at Knockree Hostel in Glencree and taking in a race on Sunday. The Sunday competition will be at Trooperstown, Laragh. Details on the Irish Junior O-Squad website here.

Senior squad weekend
A squad weekend is being organised for the weekend of May 8/9 to include the Leinster Champs on the Sunday and an LVO event at Slieve Gullion on the Saturday plus a micro event on Saturday evening.
The weekend will be based around Carlingford and is open to all squad members. IOA are extending the invitation to all older juniors who want to get a feel for the senior squad. More details to follow.
Also, something to think about is organising a squad get-together at this years Irish champs to catch up on all the squad business.

IOA Elite Funding
Good news on the money front – Despite all the recent gloomy economic news the Elite funding grant from the IOA has remained the same as previous years at €15k.
Although it may sound like a lot, it has to go a long way. New O-kit, major competitions and training account for most.
The IOA are investing a lot in the Elite squad and we should provide as much of a return as possible by striving for that wee bit extra – training hard, orienteering hard! and then writing about it afterwards.
All team members should be writing up event reports so that the IOA and Irish orienteers in general get to know what they are getting from us for their money – Ivan Millar.

Dublin Treasure Hunt
Orienteers in Dublin might like to try a kind of street-O on Saturday March 13th. The St Patrick’s Day Festival treasure hunt starts at City Hall between 10 and 1.00. It involves visiting a number of locations and getting a card stamped at each. Take your time or run it, but you must take at least 2 hours. Time yourself accurately and cross the line at 2.00.01 to be in with a chance of winning! Details here.

[The map at the top of the page is an O-map of the Victoria Crater on Mars – from World of O].

Orienteering in Ireland
Orienteering Ireland, Irish Sport HQ, Blanchardstown
D15 DY62, Ireland