Summer League #1: Fota House and Gardens Tuesday May 9th Results and Report

Post date: May 11, 2017 7:36:29 AM

There was definitely a sense of summer in the air when the 2017 CorkO Summer League kicked off on Tuesday evening at Fota House and Gardens. The fine evening and the charming location attracted over 130 entrants to the event. We were delighted to see so many summer league regulars returning for another season of orienteering action and it was also fantastic to see several new individuals and families trying out the sport for the first time. We were thrilled to welcome Beaver and Cub Scout groups from Fermoy and Douglas/St Finbarrs to the event. They all put in a valiant effort despite a few of the groups being accidentally sent out on the long course. We hope you all enjoyed orienteering around the grounds of this beautiful park and its environs. The large crowds may have forced the resident red squirrels into hiding on the night and the large attendance also led to a shortage of maps, so apologies to anyone whose map was recycled on the night. The Short course was confined to the area around the historic house and its picturesque gardens and its buggy friendliness attracted many buggy-O competitors on the night. The Long course was a little more adventurous with the early part of the course requiring some intricate navigating around the gardens before venturing down along the perimeter of the wild life park to the forest area adjacent to the railway station and scout camp. The bluebells and wild garlic in this area certainly added to the charm of this location.

On returning from this area the eagle-eyed orienteer may have spotted the tiger enclosure near control 14. Thankfully the high fencing prevented its inhabitants from escaping but I’m sure they got to observe numerous orienteers as they traversed this section of the map. The Long course finished with one last sojourn to the gardens before a run across the open terrain and a sprint to the finish control. The flat terrain and the sprint nature of the map meant that the smallest navigation error would prove costly on the night. There were over 90 competitors in actions on the Long course and the battle to claim the first event win of the 2017 Summer League was fierce. On the night, the winners title went to CorkO club coach Jens Waechter who set a blistering pace on the 4.2km Long course and managed to punch all 16 controls in a time of 21:51. Jens clearly put all his training techniques into good practise on the night with this phenomenal pace and efficient navigation. Runner up was Brian Corbett who finished in a time of 23:35. It is great to see both Jens and Brian continuing to demonstrate the excellent form they both showed at this year’s Irish Orienteering Championships where they took podium places in their respective classes and were they were both part of the CorkO “Better Left Corked” relay team that took first place in the H12 Relay race. Third place at Fota went to Ken O’Neill who completed the course in a time of 25:01. The competition in the women’s race was very tight on the night with just 39 seconds between the top three finishers. It was Sinead O'Donoghue who took the title of the fastest Lady around Fota when she completed the course in a time of 32:16. Hot on Sinead’s heels was Michelle Ahern who finished a mere 18 seconds later in a time of 32:34. The reigning Ladies Summer League Champion Clare O’Brien was out to defend her title and took the final podium spot on the night finishing in a time of 32:55. If things are this competitive at the first event there is sure to be an exciting Summer League contest ahead.

There were 37 competitors in action on the 1.9km Short course and the McIlreavy family battled it out for the honour of Short course winner on the night.It was Gavin McIIreavy to won this race on Tuesday night when he punched all 12 controls in a time of 11:45. Runner up on the night was Ken McIlreavy who finished in a time of 12:12 while the final position on the rostrum went to Ryan Hogan who complete the course in a time of 12:36.

Well done to all who participated. Full individual results with split times are available at the following link:

A huge thanks to Conrad Daly for planning and organising the event. Thanks also to Jim O’Donovan and Dave O’Donovan for helping with starts, to Gerald Duffy and Jonathan Finn for assisting with control collection and to Mary Curran who kindly took charge of the refreshments at the finish which were much appreciated be all.

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 you can join us.