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Summer League #8: Curragh Wood, Midleton Tuesday June 28th Results and Report

posted 29 Jun 2016, 11:10 by Elaine Sheridan
Many orienteers awoke on Tuesday morning to the sound of torrential rain and feared the weather might not be ideal for the eighth event in the CorkO Summer League. The dark skies and further heavy showers throughout the morning were very disheartening but thankfully as the day progressed the showers cleared and the skies brightened. By the time our event kicked off the conditions had changed for the better and a fine, dry and bright evening awaited all competitors at Curragh Woods near Midleton.

Orienteering is a sport for all and this was most evident on Tuesday night with a field of over 100 entrants comprised of families, friends and individuals of all ages. There were even some super-fast buggy-O competitors in action on the night. We were delighted to welcome a young visiting orienteering from Montreal, Canada who is holidaying in Cork at the moment and it was also great to meet some first time orienteers in Curragh Wood. We hope you all enjoyed the experience and will join us at some of our remaining league events.

The planner set out two great courses on Tuesday night which offered an abundance of route choice from start to finish. Curragh Wood is renowned for its steep terrain and to get to the heart of the wood there is a long slow ascent from the parking area to the forest plateau. Tuesday’s planner kindly set out courses without excessive climb and thoughtfully positioned the start a distance from the car park. This eliminated some climb from the course and gave competitors an opportunity to catch their breath before facing the demanding course which lay ahead.

Competitors were required to make decisive route choices from the very start with a variety of paths leading to the first control. The rain early in the day meant these paths were a little greasy underfoot and some delicate foot work was needed to negotiate the slippery roots which traversed many of the forest trails. A little contouring helped minimise the climb on the route to control 2 while control 3 was positioned at probably one of the most impressive hides we’ve seen in any of the woods we’ve visited to date. This sizeable structure was very inviting and looked like a very cosy shelter.

From here competitors ventured through some lovely runnable forest to the hilltop enclosure at the south west end of the map. From the route analysis discussions at the finish it seems that the control cluster of 7, 8 and 9 caused the most difficulty on the night. There were several route options from control 6 to 7 but the most direct route wasn’t necessarily the fastest. When approached from above it was definitely harder to locate this control site. From here there was a fast, sheer and slippery descent to control 8. Unfortunately, some participants got carried along on this downhill leg and dropped too low, overshot the control and were faced with a strenuous scramble back to this control and some further climb to control 9 which was in a very charming location.

From perhaps the most westerly feature on the map there was a long and fast return trip to the finish on the most easterly side of the map. Three controls needed to be punched enroute two of which were relatively tricky to locate again depending on the approach taken. The undergrowth many have pushed some competitors off their intended route when exiting control 11 while some suffered the consequences and barged through these minor impediments. Traction was also an issue on the way down to control 12 but from here there was just one last gentle climb before the fast downhill stretch to the finish control. Once again careful foot work was needed to avoid an embarrassing fall on the home straight.

Following 4.5 kilometres of gruelling climb and testing navigation there was very little time separating the men’s and lady’s podium finishers on the Long course.  Agris Kramins continues to impress in the 2016 Summer League and he took the title of Curragh Wood event winner having completed the course in a time of 37:02. This first place result will no doubt strengthen Agris’s position at the top of the Summer League Long course leader board. However, on Tuesday night Agris faced a very strong challenge from the event runner up Andrew Turner. From analysing the event splits in the SplitsBrowser we can see that Agris and Andrew were head to head throughout and Andrew held the lead for most of the course. Agris devoured the hills over the latter part of the course and narrowed the margin. However it was Andrew’s route choice from control 11 to 12 which seems to hace cost him the event win as it was here that Agris over took him. Despite having the fastest finish split a very impressive 1:30 Andrew couldn’t make up the delta and finished in a time of 37:25 just 23 seconds behind Agris. Dermot Murphy and John Chandler had an equally intense battle for the final podium spot at Curragh Wood and in this encounter the margins were even tighter again with just 8 seconds between them at the finish line. It was Dermot who emerged the victor in this clash as he finished in a time of 38:21.

In the Ladies section we had one of our closest finishes to date with less than a minute separating all this week’s rostrum finishers. The fastest Lady around the terrain at Curragh Wood was Sharon Lucey. She punched all 12 controls in a time of 49:58 and had just 35 seconds to spare over second place finisher Trishia O’Mahony. Trishia completed the course in a time of 50:33 and this second place finish will improve her overall league position and may ever tie her with Claire O’Brien at the top of the ladies league. A mere 21 seconds differentiated Trishia from our final podium finisher Michelle Ahern. Michelle covered the course in a time of 50:54.

Things were just as competitive on the Short course on Tuesday night and of the 43 participants it was Matthew Kearney who led the field. He completed the 2.8km course in a time of 18 minutes on one second. Hot on his heels throughout the course was Claire Lane and she was a meagre 23 seconds adrift of Matthew at the finish line. Claire has shown great form over the Short course this year and this second place finish will most likely move her to the top of the Short course leader board. Desmond O’Brien took third place on the night when he punched all 7 controls in a time of 19:34.

Well done to all who participated on the night. Full individual results with crucial split times to help you identify those critical navigation errors can be viewed at the following link.

Huge thanks this week to Corbett family for staging the Curragh Wood event. Brian Corbett planned the course, Liz and Niamh took care of registration and download on the night and Cillin assisted with putting out and collecting controls. Thanks also to Gerald Duffy for providing the post run refreshments.

Next week we will be heading west to Warrenscourt Wood near Lissarda for the ninth event in our league. The boulders mapped in some forests can be quite understated and often tricky to spot amongst the trees. This is definitely not the case in Warrenscourt wood which has some distinctively large boulders, see if you can spot them while traversing this area next week. Further woodland trivia and directions are available here.

With just two competitive events left in the league if you are looking to finish the league or improve your current league standing then don’t miss out and join us at Warrenscourt for another orienteering adventure.