NI Training Weekend- JHI Preparation

As this was the last selection race for the Ward Junior Home Internationals, and the first time I had attempted to organise a training weekend, I am ETERNALLY grateful for all the help I received.

We started off at the supremely well organised Northern Ireland Championships in Florencecourt.  We got a little* wet, but as Pat McCavana says- if your feet aren’t wet you are NOT in the right place!

The scenery was astonishingly beautiful.  What other sport brings you to such beautiful, and unspoilt parts of the world.

NI Champs

I spent much of my time talking to people, trying to chat and make myself known to as many as possible.  For information my email is

I had the absolute pleasure of presenting Mike Long with box of goodies on behalf of the Junior Squad.  An absolute stalwart of junior orienteering, he encouraged not only squad members, but also parents to greater things.  ALWAYS encouraging and enthusiastic.  And always managed to get a run himself- must find out THAT secret.

NI Champs Orienteering 2017
Handing over the reins

Thanks to the FERM-O chairman, Stephanie had managed to secure accommodation for those staying over for the training.  Many thanks to Debbie Whelan, Edith Bridcut and Ciaran Donaghy who organised the food.  One of the highlights of ANY overnight orienteering.

We spent some time on the Saturday night playing a few ice breakers and going over maps from the day.  It was lovely to see new faces and I really hope that they felt welcome.

On Sunday morning we headed to the Gortlughany.  We had kindly been left the controls that the longer courses had used on the Saturday.  It was VERY wet and WILD.  BUT you never can choose the weather you race in, so train in all weathers.  

Gortlughany Area

The Juniors went out in groups shadowed by adult volunteers. We put a time limit of an hour on the exercise.  As Stephanie Pruzina said it was also an exercise in Shout-O, as the wind made talking impossible.

After quickly re-grouping we headed to Castle Saunderson for the second part of the training. We were piggy backing on the score event that was being run by FERM-O after the SHI relays.

Although the group were collectively tired and wet, all managed to go out again, apart from the three youngest who got first timers dispensation!

Thankfully Castle Saunderson has showering facilities so all were able to change into warm clothes in relative comfort.

I would like to thank the following people for helping out, making my life a lot easier.  Without them I would have been flailing around in the dark.

Firstly Stephanie Pruzina- an expert in all things!

Raymond & Teresa Finlay and all at FERM-O for making the areas accessible and accommodating us so seamlessly into their already busy weekend

Debbie Whelan, Edith Bridcut and Ciaran Donaghy for the yummy food and help with the training

Steve Thorn- for taking the time to capture the squad in action

Andrew Cox, Billy Reed, Debbie Whelan, Ciaran Donaghy & Stephanie Pruzina who shadowed and tutored the juniors on the Sunday morning in horrific conditions

Philip McGoldrick for helping with the accommodation

Paul O’Sullivan Hourihan & Mike Long- for always being available to talk

So- What’s next????

I am already planning training for February- a day event, March- Time Trial & Overnight, April- Day Event

Summer Tour.

If you would like to take an active role in helping train our orienteerers of the future please get in touch.  We are always looking for help with training/ driving/ cooking/ towel holding/ dibber finding/ map organising




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