Summer League #10: Ballyannon Wood Tuesday July 11th Results and Report
Post date: Jul 13, 2017 3:2:41 PM
The competitive element of the 2017 CorkO Summer League drew to a close at our tenth event in Ballyannon Wood in Midleton on Tuesday night. This event was the final opportunity for competitors to complete the league and feature in the overall league results or more importantly the last chance for those hoping to improve on their current league standing.The weather has been kind to us over the last nine weeks and this was the first event that competitors experienced drizzly conditions. Thankfully, the evening was warm and the forest canopy provided plenty of shelter on the night. The damp evening didn’t deter our highly motivated orienteers and over 90 participants congregated in the wood for the race.As always it was fabulous to see so many families in action in the wood and some of the juniors are getting very fast. After all it is very important to get back before the jellies are all gone! This week we were also delighted to welcome Susanna Reinikainen from Finland to our event. Susanna is vacationing in Ireland at the moment and took in the Ballyannon Wood event on her trip. She was sporting her TeamSOSE colours and seemed pretty happy at the finish too.The start for both courses was in the forest so the road leading to the wood provide an excellent chance for a gentle warm-up before the racing commenced. Observant competitors might have also taken note of the finish location en route to the start. This week’s planner set out two challenging courses to test competitor’s fitness levels and navigational skills amasses over the last nine events. The Short course was a nice fast loop around the wood with the finishing controls shared with the Long course.
This is a relatively small wood and with 19 controls on the Long course the only way to avoid confusion and make it legible was to print a double-sided map. There were eight controls on the first map and the remaining controls on the second map. Map bags were offered to competitors at the start but as it is difficult to purchase plastic bags that are clear on both sides several participants chose to risk having a sodden map rather than waste precious time having to turn the map around in the bag mid-way through the course. After all every second counts, especially when you are vying for league positions.The Long course had plenty of route choice from the start with several ways to get to the first control. Although paying attention to the contour detail would quickly eliminate some of these options. The leg from three to four was another with multiple means to attack it. The tide was in so this might have dissuaded some from risking the direct route along the shoreline. Gerald Duffy had the fastest split on this leg so I wonder did he get his feet wet in the process?From here competitors payed the first of two visits to control 227 before entering one of the most intricate areas of the wood near the quarry for control 6. Competitors could have taken straight line routes to this and the next series of controls provided they had full leg cover as the undergrowth was tough going at times and no doubt some competitors might have deviated a little from their intended routes as a result. The slightly longer routes along the path may have been just as fast. However, the paths in this area intersect a lot and it was difficult to be certain you were on the correct one.At control 8 it was time to flip the map and begin the journey toward the western section of the wood punching a few controls on the way. On returning from this area competitors revisited control 227. You would think that having been there before it would be easy to find but when approaching it from a different direction some cut in too early and had to scramble through some undergrowth to reach it. Having punched it there was a short climb to control 13 before embarking on a return visit to control 239. From here there was some fast trail running to controls 15 and 16 before having to re-enter the problematic area of slow run around the quarry. One final control in the main wood needed to be punched before exiting the wood and retracing ones’ steps along the cobbled stoned path which led to the wood. At this stage, some participants figured they were on the home straight and put the map away and began sprinting for the finish control. They failed to notice that control 236 necessitated one small departure from this path before crossing the finish line. The dampness on the night meant the stones on this path were slippery underfoot which would have made some competitors a little more caution then normal on the run in.
This small wood is notoriously tricky and caught several people out on Tuesday night. Many struggled to differentiate between some of the trails in the forest, got disorientated at times and wasted valuable time forcing their way through the undergrowth. Numerous competitors had very firm objectives from their run on Tuesday night with several hoping to strengthen or improve on their current league standing. Conrad Daly had the Long course men’s league title safely secured but the runners-up honour was very much there for the taking. The analysis showed that Dan McDonnell would need to run well to fend off the challenge from chaser Cian O’Mahony.The only way for Dan to be certain of keeping his hold on the runner-up title was to take the Ballyannon Wood event win and that is exactly what he did on Tuesday night. In the end Cian didn’t make it to Ballyannon Wood but Dan didn’t know that and pushed hard and navigated well around the wood. Dan completed the 4.3km course in an incredibly fast time of 30:57 and had over two minutes to spare over the event runner-up Cathal Lane who finished in a time of 33:13. This is home ground for these Midleton natives and I’m sure their intimate local knowledge of this area benefited them on the night. These lads have been training hard lately as they will be heading to Scotland shortly to compete in the Scottish 6 day orienteering contest. A fantastic fast clean run from Eric O’Connor bagged him third place on the night. He finished the course in a time of 34:05 which boosted his points total as desired but unfortunately wasn’t enough to guarantee him a spot in the top five. Jens Waechter needed one more event to complete the league and his 9th place finish in Ballyannon meant he muscled his way into the winner’s enclosure and demoted Eric and Gerald Duffy to 6th place overall.In the ladies section, there was no doubting who was the fastest lady in this year’s Summer League as our 2017 Women’s Long Course Champion, Niamh Corbett added the Ballyannon Wood event win to her collection. Niamh completed the course in a time of 37:15 which also saw her finish 6th in the overall results on the night. Runner-up on the night was Trishia O’Mahony she punched all 19 controls in a time of 42:49. This second-place finish also knocked some points off her overall total and strengthen her grasp on third place in the league. The final podium place went to Elaine Sheridan she finished in a time of 44:12 again this podium finish helped improve her points total but wasn’t enough to overtake her rivals.
After nine weeks, the Short Course Championship title was still within reach for three short course competitors. Liam Twomey was leading the field with 26 points but Chiara and Isaac Bosonnet had been narrowing the gap to him over the last few events. It all made for a very exciting conclusion to the Short course league in Ballyannon Wood. All three competitors in contention for the title arrived at the event and were highly motivated on night. The 1.6km Short course was going to test their speed and navigational skills so they needed to keep calm and stay focused on the task at hand as they battled it out for the league title. Following the finish there was a long walk back to the download to find out if their efforts were enough to claim the title.Following some fast and furious racing by a number of competitors it was Chiara Bosonnet who proved the fastest around the Short course in Ballyannon Wood. She punched all seven controls in a time of 11:07. This first-place finish also helped knock 8 points off her league total to date and moved her to 25 points one point clear of Liam’s current points total. Hot on Chiara’s heels was her brother Isaac Bosonnet who finished in a time of 11:23. This runner-up spot meant he could discard his 11th place finish in Fota from his points total which left his points total at 25, level with Chiara. Despite a sterling run from Liam Twomey he was pipped at the finish by members of the O’Sullivan clan. Patrick O’Sullivan took third place in a time of 11:45 narrowly edging out Adrian & Rory O’Sullivan in the process. Liam’s fifth place finish meant his points total remained unchanged at 26. So, by the narrowest of margins, the 2017 Short Course Championship title goes to our new joint leader’s siblings Chiara and Isaac Bosonnet and our league runner-up is Liam Twomey. Congratulations to all on a sensational finish to this year’s championship.Well done to all who participated throughout the league. Full individual results with split time from the Ballyannon Wood event are available here.
Huge thanks this week to John Chandler for planning two trying courses which provided a fitting test for our Summer League final. Thanks also to Liam O’Brien and Robert O’Connor for helping with starts and to Gerald Duffy for providing some welcome refreshments at the finish.
Now that the competitive element of the Summer League is complete our next event is all about having some orienteering fun. Farran Forest Park will be the delightful destination for our Summer League finale which will encompass a fun two-person relay race, BBQ at the national rowing centre followed by prize-giving. It is sure to be a fun and social evening and we hope you can join us as we celebrate the end of another successful Summer League.