The Irish Orienteer: November 2015

Sorry about the delay in getting this to you, but … at last, a report on the 2015 Home Internationals and some other bits and pieces.

HI times: The 2015 Home International series

This year’s series of Senior, Veteran and Junior competitions were inextricably linked to the Rugby World Cup: the teams came together to watch Japan beat South Africa after the Senior individual race at Malham in Yorkshire on September 18th. The giant killing was not limited to the Rugby field, with Ireland finishing equal 3rd with Wales, 4th after the individual race on the open limestone-strewn hillside, with particularly good individual performances from James Logue and Aislinn Kendal.

At the SHI the Monks’ Road individual race area was pretty easy, with vague contours and not much to do except go straight, until things got a bit more interesting towards the end of the courses with some more detail in terms of rock features, pits and contours. However, considering the the organisers lost access to a substantial part of the area, including the most interesting part, only two weeks before the event, it was a minor miracle that the event could go ahead at all. Running conditions were perfect, after the early fog cleared, and the Yorkshire Dales showed that they could promise some interesting orienteering at next Easter’s JK international event. The best Irish time on the 13.4 km/460m M21E course was James Logue in 10th, with Aislinn Kendall finishing best lady, 12th in the 10.75 km/360 m W21E class.

Sunday’s Relays, at nearby Hawkswick Clowder & Arncliffe, brought us up to 3rd, 3 points ahead of the Dragons, with Scotland and England stretching their lead over their Celtic cousins and finishing well ahead. Dense fog made the drive to the area quite interesting and the terrain was more challenging than the previous day: open hillside with plenty of limestone, some walls, crags, pits and depressions. Our best relay results were Marcus Pinker, Conall Whelan and James Logue in 7th, with the other teams 8th and 9th, while the top women’s team of Toni O’Donovan, Aislinn Kendall and Clíona McCullough also finished 7th.. The other two women’s teams finished joint 8th. The final score was Scotland 58, England 46, Ireland 16, Wales 13. See the event report and full results here.

VHI team 2015
VHI Team 2015 in Wales

VHI, Wales Three weeks later it was the Veterans’ turn: the M/W35-65 team travelled to the heart of Wales, equally inaccessible from Holyhead. Liverpool, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham, so at least it was fair. The Llyn Teifi map had been used for two of the days in the 2012 Welsh 6-Day based at Aberystwyth, but those races were in August: was it wise to run the VHI and Welsh Championships there in October? Both the individual and relay were to be on adjoining areas in the same terrain, close to Fron Goch Farm (not the same Fron Goch as the internment camp, though – that was near Bala).

Despite wins from M35 Shane Lynch and W60 Ruth Lynam, 2nd places from M40 Marcus Pinker and W35 Toni O’Donovan, and a last-minute appearance from Anne May in W65, we trailed Wales by 20 points after the first day. The Relays, then, allowed the Welsh to pick up a further 20 points, demolishing Ireland’s efforts and ending with a final score of: England 254, Scotland 223, Wa1es 149, Ireland 109. See the full results here.

Meanwhile, a very partisan Welsh crowd in the local pub watched with delight as England’s Rugby team lost to Australia.

JHI, Ireland Finally at the end of October, the Juniors retained home advantage and demonstrated that the sand dune training they have been doing at Banna, Roscarbery, Bull Island and Portstewart was paying off. Luckily the Juniors stepped up to the plate at the last minute and snatched a much-needed win over Wales to move us away from finishing 4th in a second home international this year. Star of the Irish team was Caoimhe O’Boyle who finished 3rd in W18 at the Individual event on the dunes of Magilligan, Co. Derry, on October 24th

Caoimhe JHI
Caoimhe O’Boyle, 3rd W18 in the Individual event.

The big screen at the team accommodation was showing New Zealand v South Africa on the afternoon of the individual event, while the more cultured (ahem!) members of the teams visited the Giant’s Causeway (“Worth seeing, yes, but not worth going to see” according to Dr Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer).

Not a tree to be seen in any of the Home Internationals: so much for the “forest sport”! The Seniors had ankle-breaking limestone karst like the Burren in Clare and Fermanagh, the Veterans had two days on an exposed Welsh mountain top and the Juniors had the open sand dunes at Magilligan, on the north-west coast of Co. Derry, where the Lough Foyle base line was measured at 41,640.8873 feet or nearly 8 miles by Thomas Colby in 1824, at the start of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

The 3rd place from W18 Caoimhe O’Boyle (our first podium place for 4 years) and solid runs from other team members left Ireland in a good position overnight, with the relays on the eastern part of the map the following day. The best placed women’s relay team finished 6th (Emer Perkins, Rachel Collins, Caoimhe O’Boyle) and the best men’s team was 10th (Cameryn Kelly Morrish, Aidan McCullough, Peter Meehan).

JW Trophy
Caoimhe & Peter with the Judith Wingham Trophy for the Ireland v Wales competition

The final score was Scotland 129, England 124, Ireland 59, Wales 48. See the full results here. There’s another report by Allan Bogle of NWOC here, with a link to more photos and a video of the relays.

Next year it will be Ireland’s turn to host the Veterans and the Juniors will be travelling to the north-east of England for the Home International. The Senior event will be at Newborough Forest on Anglesea, a great sand dune area, in October – only 30 minutes from Holyhead.

The big two, Scotland and England, slug it out themselves: the UK teams have big events to go to, lots of competition and more high-quality orienteering than we have: bigger numbers in the races mean you have to try harder to win. While some of the top orienteers, particularly in the Senior event, opt not to run, the Home Internationals are the first opportunity our juniors and many of our seniors have to experience high-pressure competition, with all that it entails, and it’s a great stepping-stone to events like the European Youth Championships, the Junior World Championships, and beyond. Meanwhile, for the Vets it’s still a hotly-contested race and with a maximum of two representatives in any class, it’s still regarded as an honour to represent your country. In fact, you could spend longer on the Vets’ team (M/W35 to 65 is maybe 35 years!) than as either a Junmior or Senior.

Shoulder to shoulder, we’ll answer Ireland’s call!

For record purposes, here are the 2014 teams:


M14 Ciarán Cotter, Andrew Elwood, Aidan McCullough, Oisín Wickham

W14 Zoe Tyner, Rachel Collins, Jordan Pim, Aoife O’Sullivan

M16 Eoin Riordan, Cameryn Kelly-Morrish, Andrew Turner, Ruairí Long

W16 Clodagh Moran, Eadaoin McCavana, Sophie Pruzina, Emer Perkins

M18 Peter Meehan, Conal Whelan, Zach Harrington, Zach O’Sullivan-Hourihan

W18 Caoimhe O’Boyle, Meabh Perkins, Jill Stephens, Norah O’Brien


M20 Niall McCarthy, Robert Pim (M18), Conall Whelan (M18)

W20 Niamh Corbett, Róisín Long, Clíona McCullough,

M21 Darren Burke, Eoin McCullough, Marcus Pinker, James Logue, Conor Short, Ruairí Short

W21 Toni O’Donovan, Olivia Baxter, Eibhlin Largey, Aislinn Kendal, Ruth Lynam, Regina Kelly


M35 Shane Lynch

W35 Toni O’Donovan

M40 Marcus Pinker, Ivan Millar

W40 Colleen Robinson, Eadaoin Morrish

M45 Angus Tyner, Steven Linton

W45 Heather Wood, Eileen Young

M50 Colm O’Halloran, Brendan Delaney

W50 Stephanie Pruzina, Heather Cairns
M55 Aonghus ÓCléirigh, Sennen O’Boyle

W55 Bernie O’Boyle, Helen Baxter

M60 Val Jones, John McCullough

W60 Ruth Lynam, Ann Savage

M65 Colin Henderson

W65 Anne May

NIOC & Irish Middle Distance Championships, Magilligan, 24/25th October 2015

NWOC also ran the Northern Ireland Championships and the Irish Middle Distance Championships at Magilligan the same weekend as the JHI. It’s a good area but the courses were a bit disappointing, maybe not using the full potential of the area, with some easy path runs across the area and  some controls visible from afar on both days. This doesn’t detract from the winners, and maybe there were restrictions that we were unaware of. Extremely windy and at times wet conditions both days made the running tough and two lung-bursting run-ins into the teeth of the gale, in the full view of spectators, made for a severe finish.

Taking on all these events for a small club was a major challenge and NWOC carried it all off very well. The Middle Distance Championship was left over after IOC in May where the three races covered the sprint, classic and relay disciplines, so well done for taking it on. The UCD pair of Colm Moran (UCDO/3ROC) and Niamh Corbett (UCDO/CorkO) took the two Elite titles at the IOC and also at NIOC.

A Major Events Conference will be held on Saturday 30th January at the Maldron Hotel, Portlaoise.

It will include reviews of the Irish Championships and Shamrock O-Ringen in 2015, and topics to be discussed include competitor safety in extreme weather conditions, missing competitors, planning junior championship courses, the format of the Relay Championships, entry service providers, and the marketing and promotion of major events. The conference will be of particular interest to officials of major events , and those to be involved in major events in the near future.
The subsidised  cost of the conference is 20 euro, rising to 25 euro.

This event is for members of IOA or NIOA affiliated clubs only and the organiser reserves the right to refuse registration.

Registration and payment is via Eventbrite, here

Promotion and Increasing Participation in Orienteering.

Before that there will be a one day seminar of promotion of orienteering on 9th January 2015, covering the following topics:

The role of the PRO
Social Media and how use it effectively
Other ways of reaching your audience (that is not social media)
Cost effective advertising and marketing tools.
What the target market for orienteering is and getting new members (for example families and adventure racers)
National strategy and available resources to clubs

The seminar will be a combination of lecture, discussion, exercises and examples.
It will be an opportunity to both learn and to share experiences of promoting the sport.
There will be press & media packs available for all attendees.

Speakers include Dr Una May, Director of Participation and Ethics, Irish Sports Council.
Adrian Carmody, Director – Training Point (Social Media and PR)

The course will run from 10am – 5pm. Registration and coffee 9:30am. This will also be at the Maldron Hotel, Portlaoise. Register here.


The Scientific Journal of Orienteering is alive and well in an online form. The journal has been published since the 1980’s, on and off, and the current issue dealing largely with mapping can be seen here.

How do we get people to join O-clubs? It’s all very well increasing participation but unless the participants join a club, they’ll never help make a map, plan, organise or control an event, or get involved in coaching or orienteering administration. Maybe the IOA seminar on 9th January will help. If the seminar was closer to Dublin or finished earlier in the day you could also run in the first Dublin by Night event of 2016 in the Phoenix Park … and the event planner could go …

Buy the new Irish Junior Squad fundraising calendar, now on sale for 2016, with lots of good O-photos featuring juniors and former juniors. €10.

Two new Permanent O-Courses opened recently at Tymon Park in Dublin and at the People’s Park, Portlaoise. Details on the IOA web page here.

Next up will be the long-awaited report on the World Championships and Scottish 6-Day in August. There’s a report on the WOC here already and more very good reports in the current CompassSport magazine (

We had one representative at the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in August in the Czech Republic, CNOC’s Mick Farrell,  and his report is here.

Don’t forget to enter the Munster Championships (Kilworth, Co. Cork on 13th December). Details here.

I thought it was as well to get this out there and to put in some illustrations over the next few days.

(Something strange has happening to the formatting of TIO since moving to WordPress and the IOA page: be patient and we’ll get it sorted out!)


Orienteering in Ireland
  • Orienteering Ireland
    Irish Sport HQ
    D15 DY62