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:

https://juniors.orienteering.ie/home/news/selection-policies-2023

Thanks again to the selectors for their work on this – much appreciated!

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.

M18

  • Daire O’Brien
  • Dan Murphy
  • Josh Hoare
  • Oliver O’Kane

W18

  • Clodagh O’Donnell
  • Emily Rowe
  • Maya Buckley

M16

  • Cian O’Donnell
  • Gerry Browne
  • James Hottinger
  • Oscar Rowe

W16

  • Anastasia Maglich
  • Chloe Grattan
  • Eve Buckley
  • Orla Church

M14

  • Fionn Buckley
  • Hamish Church
  • Liam Casey
  • Liam O’Donnell

W14

  • 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!)

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.

JWOC Sprint Model event

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.

JWOC Races

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.

You can see the all the maps, courses and full results on the JWOC 2021 web page www.jwoc2020.org and photos on the IOA Facebook page here.

Sprint, Izmit

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.

M20     5.9-6.4 km/260-290m

  • 1          Sweden           (33.50, 34.12, 36.12)   104.14
  • 2          Hungary          (36.27, 33.12, 36.12)   105.51
  • 3          Switzerland     (35.05, 34.17, 37.44)   107.06
  • 27        Ireland                                               160.02

(Darragh Hoare 45.35, Aidan McCullough 55.49, Liam Cotter 58.38)    

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.

An Overview

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.

Looking Forward

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.

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 juniorrep@orienteering.ie

Dave
Dave’s first course

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!


Junior Home Internationals 2021

This weekend a team of juniors and their supporters and mentors are heading for Haslemere in Surrey in the South of England for the Junior Home Internationals. South London Orienteers, affectionately known as ‘SLOW’ are hosting the event. The event is, for many, the first time they will don the Irish jersey and orienteer for an all Ireland team in the JHI.

The JHI is the ‘Home Nations’ of Junior orienteering where teams aged M/W14 to M/W18 from each of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland compete. The event consists of an individual long distance competition on Saturday, followed by mixed aged teams in a Relay on the Sunday. Results from the two days are calculated using a points based system.

Saturdays long distance race will be in the aptly named Devil’s Punch Bowl and Hindhead Common, a tough area with plenty of gradient which will test both the mental and physical strength of these youngsters.

The Relay race will be held on a newly mapped area at Bramshott Common, the area is very runnable with a mixture of lightly wooded sections and open grassy areas interspersed with trees.

Devil’s Punchbowl Map 2018

The full list of the team can be found here, members represent a range of clubs from across the country including :

  • Ajax
  • Bishopstown Orienteering Club
  • Cork Orienteering Club
  • Curragh Naas Orienteering Club
  • Great Eastern Navigators
  • Lagan Valley Orienteers
  • North West Orienteering Club
  • South Eastern Vikings Orienteering Club
  • Three Rock Orienteering Club
  • Leicestershire Orienteering Club

We wish the young orienteers a great weekend of orienteering, making new friends and memories.

Subject to photographic restrictions, we hope to bring you pictures and news of the event as it happens via social media channels , facebook, instagram and twitter.

Contours training at home with our Junior Orienteers!

Since the start of lockdown all of our Irish juniors from M/W10 up to M/W20 have been engaged in orienteering activities and training on Zoom.  We have had a great response from seniors, coaches and older juniors to host these sessions and this initiative has been incredibly successful.  A massive thank you to all of these mentors!! 

On 16th May the juniors were treated to an engaging zoom presentation on contours by Steven Linton.  We are incredibly thankful to Steven for sharing his time and experience in such a fantastic presentation.  This particular zoom meeting was for juniors from M/W10 to M/W16.  Straight away the juniors were practically involved by circling hills, re-entrants, spurs and depressions on their screens.  Steven helped everyone visualise the map terrain by adding 3D videos and detailed illustrations.  All of the juniors learned a great deal and to help them assimilate this knowledge they were all set a challenge at the end of the presentation. 

The 10/12 age groups were tasked with creating their own set of contours in a tray using sand, clay or soil and whatever added details they wished.  The challenge for the 14/16s was made a bit more difficult as Steven gave them a specific section of map that they were to recreate in 3D (See the map section below).  All the juniors were given instructions as to how they might add in their contours.  This was an incredibly informative presentation.  

In order for all models to be judged fairly, Steven came up with a marking scheme for each challenge.  The 10/12s were marked out of 5 for terrain quality, marked out of 5 for contours and marked out of 3 for imagination to give them a total score out of 13.  The 14/16 group were marked out of 5 for accuracy on plan, marked out of 5 for ground shape and marked out of 3 for overall presentation to give them a total score out of 13.  We had some incredible entries and were delighted with all the results.  

Top Marks in each category were as follows:
M/W10:  Deirbhile Hassett
M/W12:  Fionnuala Rowe
M/W 14-16:  Eve Buckley

We do hope everyone had a great time making their models.  Rebecca Linton has created two collages of all the entries we received.  All participants received a little box of treats and the winners each earned themselves a voucher to choose their own special treat.  Well done to everyone and huge thanks to Steven and Rebecca for their time and expertise.

Junior Selection Update

In light of the currently evolving situation with regard to the spread of coronavirus, the impact this is expected to have and resulting restrictions put in place in Ireland and internationally the selectors feel that the previously published selection criteria for Irish teams may need some adaptation.
Orienteering (and other sporting events) have been cancelled in Ireland until 29th March and the Leinster Championships have been postponed until the autumn.  There could be more disruption to events as the situation changes.  Please see the link below for the latest update from the IOF.
https://orienteering.sport/coronavirus-covid-19-update-from-the-iof/

At this time it is very uncertain which if any of the selection events will take place and the selectors understand that athletes may be reluctant to travel to any events that do go ahead.  We do not advise either way, but there will be no negative implications for any athlete who decides not to go to a particular event.  We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt the selection criteria accordingly.  In the meantime, athletes should continue to train, and attend orienteering events where possible.
Stay fit, stay healthy and look forward to the next opportunity for some orienteering.  

Colleen Robinson

Director of Junior Representative Orienteering

JWOC and EYOC 2020

JWOC
The Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) will be held in Turkey from 26th June to 4th July.  This event is for athletes in the M20 and W20 age groups.  The selection criteria for this event is attached below.  There is an official training camp taking place in Turkey 13-17 April and there is a possibility of the Irish team staying on for a few extra days to conduct more training.  There is a clash of dates with the final day of the JK and athletes wishing to travel to Turkey will need to miss the relays.  Please contact Colleen if you are interested in travelling to this final training camp before JWOC.  We will need team leaders to travel with the athletes to Turkey for JWOC.  If you have an interest in the role of team manager at this event please contact Colleen at juniorrep@orienteering.ie

EYOC
The European Youth Orienteering Championships (EYOC) will take place in Hungary from 19-22nd June.  This event is for athletes in M18, W18, M16 and W16 classes. The selection criteria for this event are attached below.  There is an official training event in Hungary taking place 13-16th April for any athletes in the above age groups that would like to train in the type of terrain that the event will take place.  There is a clash of dates with the JK and this training event – please note that athletes wishing to take part will have to miss the final (relay) day of the JK in order to travel to Hungary.  Please let Colleen know if you are interested in travelling to Hungary for the training event in April.  We will be looking for team leaders for this training camp as well as to travel with the team to the main event at EYOC – if you are interested in becoming a team leader please also contact Colleen at juniorrep@orienteering.ie

Orienteering in Ireland
  • Orienteering Ireland
    Irish Sport HQ
    Blanchardstown
    D15 DY62
    Ireland
  • fixtures@orienteering.ie
  • info@orienteering.ie