Summer League #1: Fota House and Gardens Tuesday May 10th Results and Report

Post date: May 11, 2016 10:33:24 PM

Its official, the CorkO 2016 Summer Orienteering League is up and running! Although the "Summer" was decidedly absent from our first event at Fota House and Gardens on Tuesday evening. The typical picturesque vistas in the environs around Fota House and Gardens were obscured by the misty evening and the persistent rainfall.Thankfully the weather didn't dampen people’s enthusiasm for summer orienteering and it was fantastic to have 128 competitors in attendance. We were delighted to see so many familiar faces returning for more orienteering adventures and it was great to welcome several new people to our Summer League. It was fantastic to have large groups from the Fermoy Cub Scouts and Douglas Beavers in attendance. They certainly adhered to the Scout motto of “Be Prepared” and came well prepared for the unseasonal weather. Their eagerness to take part was almost infectious.

Furthermore, several of the very young entrants also came well prepared for the wet conditions and were dress from head to toe in rain gear. With an abundance of puddles on offer at the event no doubt these guys enjoyed splashing their way around the course. Meanwhile many of the more experienced orienteers in the field opted for a more minimal look with shorts and t-shirts. Perhaps they packed their gear Tuesday morning when the conditions almost resembled a summer’s day or maybe even at this early stage in the league they didn't want to lose precious seconds over their rivals with the added weight of a rain jacket. The only upside on the weather front was that the much hyped “heatwave” meant that it wasn't exceptionally cold on the night! This was probably the wettest start to the summer league ever and we were never more grateful for having invested in a large club tent for registration as if offered entrants a slight reprieve from the unpleasant conditions during registration and download and gave the organisers some comfort on a rather miserable evening.

Today Wednesday May 11th is World Orienteering Day and people of all ages are taking part in some of the 2,400 plus orienteering events taking place all over the world. Although our event took place a day early (we were synchronised with New Zealand orienteers) our participation still counts so many juniors received diplomas for their great and strong performance on World Orienteering Day. For all those who arrived smiling and eager for action and braved the horrid conditions we sincerely hope you enjoyed the event and your contribution to World Orienteering Day.

There were two challenging courses on offer on Tuesday night, the Short course at Fota was confined to the area around the house and gardens and with 13 controls there was lots of short legs to keep participants focused at all times. It was great to see some of last year’s short course participants advancing to the more testing long course this year. The 4.8km Long course covered most areas of the map and had several long legs taking participants from the gardens to the forest close to the railway station for a few short legs before returning to Fota House again for some further shorter legs. The wet conditions made traversing the meadow in front of the house a soggy affair.

Despite the conditions the league got off to a very competitive start. The honour of being crowned the first 2016 Summer League Long course event winner went to Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan. He wasted no time punching the 14 controls on the Long course and finished in a very impressive time of 23 minutes and 24 seconds. He had almost four minutes to spare over his nearest challenger Andrew Turner who completed the course in a time of 27 minutes and 44 seconds. Andrew on the other hand had a meagre 21 seconds to spare over third place finisher Agris Kramins who completed the 4.8km course in a time of 28:05.

The fastest Lady around Fota House and Gardens on Tuesday evening was Ciara Fitzgerald, she finished the course in a time of 33:45. She also bet her Dad Willie in claiming this distinction. Ciara held off a very close challenge from runner-up Norah O’Brien who finished in a time of 34:42. Incidentally Norah also piped her Mum Claire at Fota. Lots of family rivalries already evident in this year’s league! The final podium spot in the Ladies section went to Eibhlin Cleary when she punched all the controls in a time of 35:27.

On the Short course there were joint event winners on the night as both Therese McEnry and Caire Lane completed the 1.8km course in a time of 18:50. Two Bosonnet siblings battled hard for the runners-up spot and in the end Issac took this accolade. He finished in a time of 19:21 and had a mere 5 seconds lead over his sister Chiara who took third place.

Well done to all who participated on such a wet evening. Full individual results with splits can be viewed here.

Thanks to Gary O'Donovan for planning the testing courses and Darren Burke for controlling the event. Thanks also to Rob McEvoy for dealing with registration and download, Dave O’Donovan for suffering through the dismal conditions for the entire start window when handling the starts, to Bobby O’Connor for bringing the much valued tent, bagging maps and assisting with control collection alongside Josh O’Sullivan-Hourihan.

Thanks also to the OPW and Fota House and Gardens for granting us access to this fantastic location.

Next week the summer league will move across Cork harbour to the prominent hillock of Currabinny. This wooded area will offer a very different challenge to the terrain at Fota. The steep slopes will test all orienteers both mentally and physically. Further woodland trivia and directions to this legendary destination can be found here.Hopefully the weather will improve by then otherwise we’ll have to consider replacing t-shirts with rain jackets for our 2016 Summer League finishers.Hope you can join us at Currabinny!