Summer League #1: Fota House & Gardens Tuesday May 12th Results and Report

Post date: May 13, 2015 4:47:30 PM

The first event in the Cork Orienteering Summer League truly lived up to the league title as there was definitely a sense of summer in the air at Fota House and Gardens last night. The evening sun accentuated the magnificent grounds and delightful features on offer at this unique orienteering destination.

Throughout the day the house and grounds were busy with tourist visiting and school children on field trips to the wild life park and conducting ecological surveys in the forest. Things didn't quieten down at 5:30pm when the orienteering got underway. Participants came from near and far and some even availed of the Irish Rail train service to this charming location.

It was fabulous to see so many familiar faces returning for another summer of orienteering and lovely to see them sporting league finishers t-shirts from previous years. We also extend a very warm welcome to all those families and individuals who ventured out orienteering for the first time last night. We hope you enjoyed the adventure and successfully navigated your way around the stunning grounds at Fota House and Gardens.

There are 125 entries in the results but given the number of family and group entries there was a much larger crowd in attendance on the night. With participants ranging in age from several months to 80+ years we really proved that orienteering is a sport for all ages. A special mention must also be given to the Fermoy Cub Scouts, their excitement and eagerness was almost contagious and they set themselves a real challenge in taking on the long course.

The summer sunshine always raises people’s spirits and there was a definite buzz in the air. The club tent, parasol and refreshment stand created a focal point for the evening’s activities which added a lovely social atmosphere to the event. However all the banter and socialising didn't distract some from the fact that this was also the start of our competitive league. At download some competitors were not only keen to find out their own time but especially interested in finding out the finish time of some fellow competitors. It may be just the first event in our league but it seems that some competitors are already aware of their main rivals for the 2015 season.

The courses themselves gave all participants an opportunity to appreciate this splendid setting. The Short course comprised a lovely circuit through the stunning gardens and some competitors would be forgiven for taking the time to stand and stare and savour the views of the historic house, elegant orangery and numerous sculptures which they passed while completing the course. For our Buggy-O participants the leg from 3 to 4 necessitated careful route selection to avoid a number of steps in the tiered gardens in the vicinity of the house. Hopefully the passengers on board had a relatively smooth ride throughout the grounds.

The early part of the Long course took competitors down towards the railway station were the open woodland offered fast running terrain. The road to this area is directly adjacent to the wild life park and some of its resident peacocks were quite vocal in making their presence known on the night. The leg from 7 to 8 enticed some competitors to try the slightly shorter direct route when exiting this forested area. Sadly this route choice did cause some grazing and scratching.

The middle part of the course had routes criss-crossing the house and gardens. Navigating around the numerous lush and vibrant shrubs in this area proved tricky for some. The final section of the course comprised a bit of zig-zagging around the car park before the finish could be punched. Following download participants were spoilt for choice with an assortment of refreshments on hand to aid recovery from water, tea, coffee to some sweet treats. Although you may have needed to be one of the early finishers to taste these as they seemed to be quite popular.

With eighty participants choosing the Long course on Tuesday evening there was lots of competition right throughout the field. However, it is at the top end of the results list where the important honours are decided and the bragging rights for the first event win in the 2015 Summer League go to Josh O’Sullivan-Hourihan (pictured above). Josh proved why he is one of the elite orienteers in the country and had a very convincing win on the night as he completed the 4.3km course in a time of 20:24. This blistering pace ensured he had over three minutes to spare over second place finisher Donal Murphy. Donal punched all 19 controls in a time of 23:33. There was quite a battle for the final podium spot with just 19 seconds separating Conrad Daly, Agris Kramins and Dan McDonnell but it was Conrad who took the spoils finishing in a time of 24:42.

The ladies section of the league got off to a very competitive start on Tuesday evening and it was Eibhlin Cleary who emerged as the fastest lady around Fota House and Gardens she finished in a time of 30:13.  The runners up spot on the night went to Norah O’Brien who finished in a time of 31:23. The final place on the winning rostrum went to Ciara Fitzgerald who completed the course in a time of 33:10.

The Short Course at Fota was equally as competitive on the night and many participants seemed to fly around the 1.6km course. It was a close contest for the event winner honours and it was Matthew Kearney who claimed this title. He punched all eight controls in a time of 12:22 with just ten seconds to spare over Kyle Holland who was runner-up on the night. Kyle finished in a time of 12:32.  Third place on the night went to Michelle Caplice and Jessie Kelly Morrish who combined their orienteering skills and completed the course in a time of 12:55.

Well done to all who participated on the day. You can find out how you faired relative to other competitors by studying the individual results and conducting a careful analysis of split times both of which are available at the following link:

It is difficult to capture the true magic of this setting but here is a flavour of some of the scenes from Fota (these pics were taking during the controlling phase when the weather wasn't as fabulous as that enjoyed by all on Tuesday night):


The courses received a great deal of praise on the night so we extend a big thank you to our course planner Eadaoin Morrish for all her hard work. Thanks also to Mia Kelly Morrish, Jessica Kelly Morrish and Michelle Caplice for their assistance with information and registration on the night. Further thanks are also due to Rob McEvoy for data entry, Dave O'Donovan and Bobby O'Connor for helping everyone to get started in the right direction and Gerald Duffy and Dermot Gallagher for their assistance with control collection.

As always we would like to extend our gratitude to the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the people at Fota House and Gardens for granting us access and for facilitating us using this marvellous area.

The second event in our Summer League will see us move on to Currabinny Wood near Ringaskiddy next Tuesday evening. Currabinny is located on a prominent hill on a peninsula overlooking Cork Harbour. This wood will present a different type of orienteering terrain to that enjoyed by participants at Fota. The area is mostly forest with a vast network of paths. For our newest recruits familiarising yourself with the map symbols and colours will aid navigation in this terrain. Sheets which explain all these will be available at registration so be sure to request one if you feel it will help you on the day. For any Long course competitors paying particular attention to the contour detail and the runnable regions could eliminate unnecessary climb and save precious time over orienteering rivals!

Further woodland trivia and directions can be found here:

We hope you will join us again for more orienteering escapades!