Junior Squad Selection Policies 2023
The Junior selection team have met, and have agreed the team selection policies for the major junior International Competitions this year. They can all be found on the Juniors website at:
Thanks again to the selectors for their work on this – much appreciated!
Congratulations to our new cohort of accredited planners
Over 4 weekly sessions, the participants on the recent online Planners Course were taken through the roles and responsibilties of the course planner, with emphasis on the importance of applying the planning principles to all aspects of planning. They were given a comprehensive grounding in planning for different technical difficulties (TD), and with the tools and resources to hand they were tasked with planning a range of courses from TD2 to TD5 on a selection of different maps each week. The course was ably presented by Mary Healy, Marcus Geoghegan and faciliated by Déirdre Ní Challanáin.
The group worked hard to achieve their goal and we are delighed to have another cohort of orienteers, each being recognised as an accredited Orienteering Ireland Planner Level 2. We look forward to the courses and events they will plan in the months and years ahead.
The next online planners course will take place in Autumn 2023. If interested please complete the form below and we will get in touch.
Upcoming Safeguarding 1 workshops
Orienteering Ireland is organsing two online Safeguarding 1 workshops.
Wednesday 28th September 6.30 – 9.30pm https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/415268377897
Thursday 13th October 6.30 – 9.30pm https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/415373883467
Safeguarding 1 – Child Welfare & Protection Basic Awareness Workshop is for everyone involved in children and young people’s sport.
The Safeguarding 1 workshop educates participants on the implementation of best practice in safeguarding the welfare of children involved in sport.
Safeguarding 1 is required for those working with, or who have interaction with young people in sport. It is also suitable for those involved in the planning / administration of activities or events involving young people.
It is recommended that coaches, committee members, children’s officers, designated liaison persons and parents attend this training.
The training is valid for 3 years, and is recognised across National Governing Bodies of Sport in the Republic of Ireland.
Junior Home International Team announced
The junior team selectors (Ruth Lynam, Mike Long, Steph Pruzina and Darren Burke) met during the week, and have selected the following athletes to represent Ireland in this year’s Ward Junior Home International Orienteering Competition, to be held near Aviemore in Scotland on October 8th and 9th 2022.
- Daire O’Brien
- Dan Murphy
- Josh Hoare
- Oliver O’Kane
- Clodagh O’Donnell
- Emily Rowe
- Maya Buckley
- Cian O’Donnell
- Gerry Browne
- James Hottinger
- Oscar Rowe
- Anastasia Maglich
- Chloe Grattan
- Eve Buckley
- Orla Church
- Fionn Buckley
- Hamish Church
- Liam Casey
- Liam O’Donnell
- Ellie Simpson
- Fionnuala Rowe
- Niamh Browne
- Sadhbh Hassett
Congratulations to those who were selected.
The team will be accompanied to the event by Stephanie Pruzina, David Masterson, and several other parents (that’s a lot of juniors to get to Scotland!)
JWOC training camp -Portugal
On the weekend of the 11-14th March, 3 prospective JWOC athletes, Darragh Hoare, Liam Cotter and Aoife O’Sullivan (all BOC) travelled to Portugal under the leadership of Jens Waechter (BOC) to get some orienteering experience in relevant terrain in advance of Junior World Orienteering Championships in July. Over the weekend, we squeezed in 7 maps, covered approximately 45km and got about 10 hours of quality orienteering in the Portuguese forests and cobble-stoned towns.
After an early start on Friday morning, we flew from Dublin to Porto and then drove a further 2 hours to our accommodation. After checking in and having some lunch, we put on our O-kit and headed to nearby Aguiar da Beira village for some sprint training. This hilly medieval village was filled with narrow cobble-stoned streets, many stairs, some rough open areas and offered plenty of route choice. After a quick debrief, we headed back to our accommodation to make dinner and further discuss our various routes. Jens spoke to us about the importance of recovery. We winded down with some mindfulness and then headed to bed for an early night.
In order to somewhat replicate what we’ll experience on race day, we decided to leave the house early each morning, this also allowed us plenty of time to come back to the house for a longer recovery period during lunch. Each map was conveniently located within max 20 minutes driving of our accommodation. On Day 2, we focused our attention on the middle distance discipline. Now before anyone gets the impression we went to Portugal to escape the Irish weather, Day 2 tells a different story. With average temperatures of about 4-6 °C and constant rain which only got heavier as the day progressed, it was certainly not a sun holiday. However, that’s not what we were in Portugal for, we were here to train and that’s certainly what we did.
The first area we went to was described as being very relevant for both the JWOC middle qualification and final. Runability was very good in this area however, I found I was very cautious of the bare rocks and feared slipping in the wet conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed this intricate area and was excited to see the other terrains Aguiar da Beira had to offer. Our next session of the day took us to an area just next to the middle embargo on a map made by JWOC mappers, Janne Weckman and Timo Joensuu. This area was very technical and rather slow going with rough conditions underfoot. I learned the hard way that it can be very difficult to relocate in this complex terrain. The rain had really set in at this stage so we headed back to the house to shower, refuel and take some time to recover. During this down time we uploaded our gps tracks to quickroute to discuss route choice and learn from our mistakes.
Our final session of the day brought us to another middle relevant area mapped by the JWOC mappers. Putting back on our wet kit that afternoon and facing into pouring rain was difficult and I certainly needed some extra motivation. Darragh’s wise words gave me the extra boost I needed to hop out of the car; ‘Aoife just think about it, in an hour and a half’s time you’ll be even more prepared for JWOC and you’ll be warming up in a hot shower.’ We set off on another middle distance length course and I quickly learned the rain isn’t that bad once you’re out in it. I clocked in over 17k and plenty of climb by the end of day 2 and was looking forward to getting some dinner into me and then another early night. We also had access to a pool/jacuzzi at our accommodation that served as a nice recovery tool.
On our last day in Portugal we shifted our focus to the Long Distance and the 1:15,000 scale. Thankfully the weather had dried up, although it was still cold the sun was shining so we couldn’t complain. The first area we tackled was a 6.6k course focusing on long legs planned by the JWOC long distance course setter, Diogo Miguel. One of the biggest things I took from this training was that the vegetation can be brutal and I was very grateful for the elephant tracks that had been previously bashed through the dark green areas.
Our next session was some O-intervals. Both mental and physical fatigue was setting in at this stage and I found I was making silly mistakes so I cut this session short to save myself for our final area. We ate our lunch in the lovely village square where we had parked the car, after having first bathed our feet in the ice-cold water of the fountain.
We ended the camp on a high with a final session in a contour, green and rock only map. I felt revived after having napped during our extended lunch break. I enjoyed being able to really focus on the contour details without any excess clutter on the map. It was a small but brilliant area and although I plodded around the course very slowly, I did so with a big beaming smile on my face.
We certainly squeezed a lot into this short weekend and got a great taste of the terrain Portugal has to offer. I left feeling hungry for more and can’t wait to get back into this luscious terrain in a few months time.
Thanks so much to Mike Long, Dave Masterson and Jens Waechter for organising all the logistics behind the training camp and to Jens for accompanying us on the trip, serving as chauffeur, coach and mentor. Thanks also to anyone and everyone who has supported the junior squad who helped part fund this trip.
Aoife O’Sullivan W20, UCDO/BOC
Self Training for the advanced orienteer
CNOC, in conjunction with David Healy (GEN), have organised 17 self-training markers on the Kanturk/Scarr map. This initiative is being provided as an aid to orienteers who wish to improve their navigational skills in advance of IOC 2022 and the upcoming Summer international events. Part of the map is on National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) land and we wish to acknowledge the invaluable help given by them and by Conservation Ranger Hugh Mc Lindon.
The area is physically and technically testing with wonderful contour and rock detail. This makes it suitable for orienteers who would normally compete at Light Green (TD4) or higher. It is not suitable ground for beginners. Whistles should be carried as mobile phone coverage is ‘patchy’. The markers are numbered bamboo canes approx. 1m tall and will remain in place under NPWS permit until April 30th. Felling is ongoing in the area around markers 110 and 111. You must stay away from any operating machinery.
As we are in the Wicklow Mountains Nature Reserve strict conditions apply which must be observed by orienteers.
- Participant numbers must not exceed the permitted number. For this course that is 10 people per day. NPWS recently surveyed this area and it is being used by endangered nesting species, so it is critical that participants join NPWS in their protection by ensuring disturbance remains very low.
- If, while training, you come across birds that are nesting (or displaying signs of stress) then alter course and avoid that site.
- Dogs or other animals may not accompany participants (dogs effectively sterilise an area of ground-nesting birds).
- Litter (including biodegradable waste) must not be left.
- All activities must be carried out in full compliance of any Covid-19 restrictions as indicated by Government guidelines (https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19 );
- The Duty Conservation Ranger must be contacted at 087-9803899 in the case of any notable incidents occurring eg. accidents.
Thanks to CNOC members Pat Healy, Senan O’ Boyle and Ruth Lynam for mapping and placing the markers on Kanturk. This self-training opportunity is a continuation of the initiative spearheaded by David Healy (GEN) on Brockagh in the Summer of 2021. Thanks to David for guiding us through the process, choosing potential sites and preparing the markers.
It’s a beautiful area – hope you enjoy and benefit from your training.
Map files for printing and planning can be found below:
Junior World Orienteering Championships 2021 Kocaeli, Turkey
The Junior World Championships (JWOC) is the major world orienteering competition for under-21’s. It is on every year in a different country and this year it took place in Turkey in September.
The 2020 competition had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 30 countries took part with 138 M20’s and 119 W20’s running. Several of the usual participants did not come this year because of Covid restrictions – these included great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
An Irish team of 8 athletes was selected: Six M20’s – Aidan McCullough, Dan Earnshaw, Darragh Hoare, Eoghan Whelan, Liam Cotter and Peter Reed, and two W20’s – Aoife O’Sullivan and Rachel Collins. Ber O’Sullivan and myself went along to support the team.
Unfortunately due to the UK Covid regulations, which would require the Northern Ireland-based athletes to quarantine for 10 days on their return from Turkey, the three NI team members, Dan, Peter and Rachel, were unable to travel to JWOC.
JWOC consists of 5 races in 6 days: Sprint, Middle Distance Qualification, Middle Distance Final, Long Distance and Relay. The original (2020) plan had been for all the teams to stay in the same university campus at Gebze but Covid changed all that so the teams were split between several hotels. The accomodation set up together with the quarantining rules sadly reduced contacts and socialising between the teams. Originally everyone was to be bussed to the events by the organisers, instead each team had to hire cars or minibuses themselves. There were no organised socials and the big end-of-week party for everyone didn’t take place.
Broadly speaking the Irish results were on a par with previous years, with some good and some not so good. Having said that, all the team ran their hearts out but when you are running against the world’s best, it is a tough task.
The results were dominated by Sweden but podium places also went to Switzerland, Italy, France, Finland, Hungary, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
The competitions were in Kocaeli, a part of Turkey about 100 km south east of the capital, Istanbul, and on the Asian side of the Bosphorus which links the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and ultimately to the Mediterranean. Except for the Sprint, the terrain was forested, mostly with beech, so it was fairly runnable but with reduced visibility due to undergrowth.
All the team had to receive a negative PCR Covid test on arrival before they could register and get the training maps, so there was a certain amount of waiting around in the hotel for results, but at least there was a swimming pool at our hotel! There were about 10 teams staying with us including Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Belgium. We had been concerned about the temperatures in Turkey over the summer, and the forest fires, but in September it was mid- to high-20’s C so it wasn’t too hot to run.
There were model events for the Sprint, Middle, and Long/Relay. These were to allow us to get a feel for the terrain, the kinds of control sites and the mapping style, and it was very important to spend time at them. At this stage the team weren’t going to get any fitter so the model events were more for learning about the maps and terrain than about physical training.
Travelling to the forest model events we couldn’t help noticing the huge numbers of stray, ownerless dogs all over the country: big dogs like labradors wandering around in packs, lying asleep on the roads and generally lazing around. The policy in Turkey is to let them be – they are kind of community pets and are looked after by the locals. Another noticeable thing was the number of mosques, even in the smallest villages, with frequent calls to prayer being broadcast from loudspeakers on the minarets at all hours of the day and night. Finally, no report on JWOC 2021 would be complete without a mention of the driving standards in Turkey: we only saw one accident but driving there was a high-adrenalin, action-packed white knuckle ride, for the drivers at least!
We flew to Turkey on Wednesday and visited the Middle distance model map on the Friday and again on the Saturday, and also went to the Sprint model and walked around it on the Saturday, the day before the race. On Wednesday 8th, the rest day, we had another Covid test and went to the Long/Relay area. These visits were essential to familiarise ourselves with the kind of terrain and the mapping style, particularly as we had not been able to participate in any training camps in Turkey as many other teams had.
All the races and the model events were within about an hour’s drive of our hotel. After the Sprint model the teams paraded to the opening ceremony, with music, dancing and speeches from local dignitaries.
The IOF define the characteristics of the different types of competition – the Sprint is technically easy, running at top speed and with difficult route choices, the Middle Distance is about constantly challenging navigation with small and medium-scale route choice and fast speed but adjusting speed to conditions, and the Long Distance is physically demanding with some large-scale route choices and a mixture of technical difficulty. The Relay is a mixture of high speed, varied technical difficulty and running close to others who may or may not be on your course. These were all well tested in the JWOC races.
The sprint was held in Izmit, in a steep part of the city with narrow streets, apartment blocks and lots of stairways. Temperatures in the weeks before JWOC were in the mid-30’s but had cooled to mid to high 20’s for JWOC itself. The courses had a lot of unavoidable climb so were physically very tough. In the sprint, a small error of a few seconds can be very costly. Quarantine was in a school, with a choice of indoor or outdoor space and a school yard for warmup and pre-start at the school door: out the door, around the corner to the start. An arena run-through after about 75% of the course brought the runners through the distraction of flags, music, people and a live commentary: at this stage you just want to keep running hard without making any mistakes. Expected winning times were about 13 minutes – pretty fast considering the climb on the courses.
Quarantine, by the way, is nothing to do with Covid: all the runners are held in a segregated area until they go to pre-start so they can’t get any information about the courses from media or from early finishers. There are no phones, internet or other communications allowed so you have to amuse yourself – read, doze, play cards, use colouring books, whatever you like. Everyone had to be in quarantine by 09.45 each day and you might be there for 3 or 4 hours. Usually one of the team leaders stayed in quarantine and the other went to the finish arena.
M20 3.56 km/195m/15 controls, W20 2.97 km/150m/13 controls, Map 1:4000, 2.5 m contours
Darragh was the best of the M20’s, in 110th place in 20.55 for 3.6 km/195m climb. Francesco Mariani of Italy took the Gold medal in 15.39 – he lives in Northern Italy in an area with lots of small hilltop villages so he has terrain like this to train on. Aoife was 100th in W20 with a time of 21.31 for the 3.0 km/150m course which was won by Denmark’s Malin Kristiansson in 14.57.
Middle Qualification, Monday, Mudarli
The forest was very green and rocky, with low visibility and steep hills. There were three heats in M and W20. The top 20 in each heat went through to the A final, the next 20 to the B etc. Our hope was to get at least one runner in the A finals. As it turned out, Darragh was very close to qualifying for the A final and Aidan and Liam were close to qualifying for the B final but, disappointingly, all ended up in the B or C finals. It seems crazy but the previous day’s sprint race in Izmit was the same length but with more climb than the middle distance quali.
We arrived at the race site to find that Quarantine was only setting up, with no functioning toilets and no tents ready, with very heavy torrential showers, so not ideal!
The expected winning times were 22-23 minutes but the actual times were between 20 and 21 minutes. The lads were in three separate heats. Darragh finished 22nd in Heat 1 so missed making the A final by only 68 seconds. Aoife finished 35th so ran in the B final.
Middle Final, Tuesday, Mudarli
This was in another part of the same area as the day before, with the same arena and finish but a different start. Again, conditions were sunny and warm and the runners had a better idea of what to expect having run there the day before. Again, there was an arena run-through so we got to see how all the runners were doing and cheer them on. In the finals, Aoife finished 37th in her final, Darragh 23rd, Eoghan 38th in the B final and Liam and Aidan 9th and 12th in the C final.
Long, Thursday, Denizli
Long, with lots of climb! Expected winning times W20 59 mins, M20 71 mins.
Expected Irish times 100-120 minutes for M20, which we achieved. Map 1:15000, 5 m contours
Again, we had been at the model event and had some idea of the terrain, but even so, the steep hills and long route-choice legs of 1.5 to 2 km were a challenge – terrain rather like parts of Switzerland. Eoghan had been unwell leading up to the race and wisely decided to retire at the arena run-through.
M20 11.04 km /585m climb /24 controls
- 1 Basile Basset France 68.57
- 2 Soren Thrane Odum Denmark 69.04
- 3 Ferenc Jonas Hungary 71.46
- 108 Darragh Hoare 100.08
- 112 Aidan McCullough 103.41
- 121 Liam Cotter 117.22
W20 7.08 km/370m climb /18 controls
- 1 Lilly Graber Switzerland 52.59
- 2 Lucie Semikova Czech Rep 53.47
- 3 Viktoria Mag Hungary 54.25
- 92 Aoife O’Sullivan 81.55
All the athletes got a JWOC GPS vest as a souvenir, which would allow them to wear a GPS unit provided by the organisers. No Garmin or personal GPS watches are allowed at JWOC which is a pity if you are trying to figure out afterwards exactly where you went. The organisers gave GPS units to the top competitors and in the arena we could follow them live on the big screen (which is why the waiting runners are kept in quarantine). Perhaps if the rules were changed, the runners could be allowed to put their own GPS watch in the vest on their back where they can’t see it but it can still track them.
Relay, Friday, Denizli
Expected winning time 34-36 minutes per leg; Map 1:10000, 5m contours. The same area and arena as the Long the previous day but with a map that was easier to read at speed.
We had only one W20 so Aoife ran on a mixed team with two Italian girls. She finished in 45.46, bringing her team up from 25th to 20th place. Aoife was placed 27th on that leg out of 38 finishers.
Overall the results were mixed. It was a difficult event to plan for, with little or no orienteering available over the past 18 months or so due to Covid. There was additional uncertainty about team selection, whether JWOC would actually go ahead and whether it would be possible to travel at all.
Darragh and Eoghan had taken part in multi-day competitions in Switzerland and Slovenia over the summer and Liam and Eoghan had been on the Irish team at EYOC in Lithuania in August, and this exposure to international competition was useful preparation.
Now, if you are reading this and thinking “I’d like to give this a go!”, that’s great! Everyone on the Irish World Championships teams in recent years cut their teeth at events like EYOC and JWOC. JWOC is meant to be on the same technical and organisational level as the World Championships and it is a stepping-stone to WOC. For the team it’s probably the high point of their orienteering career to date. If you are prepared to train, to put in the work on fitness and technique, there is no reason why you can’t set your sights on JWOC, working your way up through events like the JHI and EYOC. JWOC is for under-21’s and M and W 20’s as well as promising M & W18’s can be selected.
In the past we have had some good results – Paul Pruzina was 22nd in the Sprint in Finland in 2017; Róisín Long was 46th in the Sprint in 2016 in Switzerland; in 2012 Conor Short was 25th in the A Middle final in Slovakia; in Norway in 2015 the W20 Relay team of Róisín Long, Niamh Corbett and Aoife McCavana was 14th and the M20’s (Jonny Quinn, Niall McCarthy and Paul Pruzina) were 18th, so it can be done!
JWOC 2022 is in Portugal on 11th-16th July, with training camps in January and May. Details at www.jwoc2022.pt
With thanks to John McCullough , team Mentor, Vice Chairperson to IOA, Member of Three Rock Orienteering Club for both travelling with the team and writing this piece.
Message from New Junior Affairs Officer – Dave M
As part of my work to get up to speed on the Junior Affairs role, I’m trying to assemble a definitive list of orienteers that want to be kept in the loop in Junior Squad activities. I’ve emailed all the Junior families on my inherited lists already, but we’ve had reports of orienteering.ie emails going into users spam folders – it might be worth making sure you haven’t missed any recent mails by checking that – in gmail (for example), just do a search for ‘in:spam orienteering
First up – if you were emailed and no longer want to be involved (or if you are on the list by mistake), my apologies – simply contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll remove your details.
If you did not get an email from me, but you would like to be kept in the loop, also contact me (email@example.com) and I’ll send you further details regarding the consent form to join up.
Lastly, I’m working on a new version of the Junior Squad website – you can see where I’ve got so far at:
If anyone has any ideas, comments, or something they would like to add, just let me know by email (or in person).
New Junior Representative
Please welcome the new Director of Junior Representative Orienteering (a mouthful, normally abbreviated to the “Junior Rep”) to the Irish Orienteering Association. David Masterson has decided to take up the role after many years of being coaxed into doing so, but mainly because he firmly believes in giving Junior Orienteering Athletes every possible opportunity to learn, improve and display their talents, both at home and internationally.
Dave has been an orienteer since his first event in Sept 1991, where himself and a young Shane Lynch argued for 72 mins about which path to run up on Ticknock. He spent many happy years orienteering as a junior within the Irish Junior Squad and ran at several JHIs (to no great success). He went to UCD, but decided to spend his elite years underground in caves instead of in a forest. However, he returned several years later having seen the error of his ways.
Nowadays, he lives on the Curragh and runs with CNOC (to moderate success), and can be seen at most orienteering events (with his family) around the country – generally lending a hand where he can. He hopes that he can give the current Juniors the same great memories of junior orienteering that he himself has.
To get in touch with Dave, the best way is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Junior Training Talk Registration Form
This is a workshop to detail what a winter physical (running) training should be and what the technical training can be for an Irish junior living in Ireland and who is interested in competing at the Junior World Orienteering Championships next year or at some stage in the future. Presenters are Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan and David Healy respectively per topic area.
The workshop will take place over two evenings on the 30th and 31st of October at 8pm both nights and it is intended for the MW16-20s juniors. However MW14s are invited to sit in if they are interested. Or young seniors who feel this is of interest.
See you soon!