Summer League #10: Curragh Wood Tuesday July 14th Results and Report

Post date: Jul 15, 2015 11:47:15 PM

The climax of the competitive side of the CorkO 2015 Summer League took place in Curragh Wood near Midleton on Tuesday night. Heavy rain greeted most Cork residences on Tuesday morning but thankfully as the day progressed the rain eased off and the misty conditions that prevailed for a large part of the day lifted in the hours prior to our orienteering event. They did return later in the evening but thankfully the forest canopy sheltered most competitors from the light drizzle on the night. Conditions did deteriorate further as the evening progress but luckily the event was finished at that stage. The holiday season and the changeable conditions on the day may have dissuaded some from journeying to the event but the 77 competitors who entered on the night certainly got a great mental and physical workout. Several of these competitors were hoping to improve their current standing in the league tables and were eager to push hard at this event for a good result. Unfortunately, that was before they saw what was in store for them on the Long course. While the Short course comprised a scenic 2.5km loop along some of the nicest trails in the wood the Long course was an altogether different affair. This week’s planner decided to test how much our orienteering skills and fitness levels have advanced over the course of the Summer League and set out a demanding and exhausting course. Some passed the final exam with flying colours while others are still traumatised from the whole experience!

Both courses commenced some 400m from the car park area which eliminated a small portion of the climb from the courses. Some of the trails on the Short course were quite narrow and a little bumpy for our Buggy-O contestants. Furthermore, a felled tree blocked the path in one section and some careful manoeuvres were required to surmount this obstacle.From the very start there was lots of route choice on the Long course. Many competitors struggled to find several controls on the night and the first control which proved rather tricky to locate was number 3. Many ended up spending an excessive amount of time in the area of forest walk in the vicinity of this control. Competitors could have elected to take a direct route to controls 4 and 5 but this required some forceful foot work. Longer alternate route options were available which required criss-crossing some paths.

Control 5 was one of several controls that could be approached from either the high or low side. Those who selected the low side approach later regretted it as they had to scramble up to the control. From control 5 there was a long uphill leg to control 6. Some took the hit and got the climb out of the way on the early part of this leg while others picked the longer route which provided a more gradual ascent while simultaneously providing some lovely views of the Leamlara river in the valley below. Legs 6 through 9 provided plenty of changes in direction and some arduous climb and enticed competitors into the runnable forest to take the shorter direct routes. There was a lot of cracking of branches to be heard as participants fought their way through this area.

There was plenty of opportunity for some fast running along the forest trails heading to controls 10 and 11 in the western section of the wood. The mountain bikers have been busy constructing new trails and ramps in this steep area of the wood and while these additional mounds help bikers gain flight and momentum on their runs the undulating tracks are tough and energy sapping for orienteers.

The conditions under foot were wet and slippery at times and it was difficult to stay upright on the fast descent to control 12. The long leg from 12 to 13 was another that offered high and low route options. The control was definitely easier to locate from the high side although those that took the low road enjoyed a lovely run along the banks of the river.

Any lapse in concentration on the home straight proved costly and those that failed to notice that control 14 was positioned on the path above control 13 had a rough and steep ascend when they realised the error in their ways. Following control 14 a little more effort was required to return to the nearest path and one last uphill run was necessary before participants got to enjoy some downhill running to control 15 and a fast sprint to the finish.

The damp evening, the greasy conditions underfoot and the scrambling that was required at times took its toll on many of the maps on the night. Several finisher displayed maps with holes or parts which had completely disintegrated under the pressure which further added to the navigational challenge.

There were a lot of confused bodies milling around certain sections of the wood. Despite some fabulous running along some very pleasant trails the demanding nature of the steep terrain in Curragh Wood was very tiring. There were lots of weary competitors at the finish and the refreshments on hand were most welcome. The sugar boost from all the jellies was needed to recover from a truly epic summer league adventure.

There was a wide variation in the finish times on the marathon Long course with a spread ranging from 49 minutes to over 3 hours! Some folks definitely got their money’s worth on Tuesday night. Some cunning running was required to outperform fellow competitors on this course. The Long course event winner with the longest winning time recorded in the 2015 Summer League was Donal Murphy. Donal finished the physically challenging Long course in a time of 49:08 and achieved his second consecutive event win in the process. He made short work of the sheer terrain in Curragh Wood and had a very comfortable win on the night. In the overall league results this first place finish will narrow the gap between Donal and our overall league leader Conrad Daly and will confirm Donal’s status as the Long course men’s league runner up. Brian Corbett was runner-up on the night. He punched all 15 controls in a time of 53:20. This second place finish will surely eliminate Brian’s 11th place result from the Doneraile event from his overall points tally and will no doubt see him move up the leader board. The final podium spot went to Dermot O’Sullivan who completed the 4.8km course in a time of 55:03. Special mention must go to Jessica and Daniel for their determination on the night. Despite some misadventures along the way they persevered and completed the long course in a record breaking time of 189:31. Well done guys!

This week the Long course ladies section results were dominated by the Perkins siblings. The finishing times were very close among the top three ladies in Curragh Wood and it was Meabh Perkins who took the title of the fastest Lady around Curragh Wood when she completed the course in a time of 66:13. This impressive run also saw Meabh finish 10th in the overall Long course results. Exactly one minute behind Meabh was Trishia O’Mahony. Trishia was runner up on the night with a time of 67:13. However, Trishia had just two seconds to spare over third place finisher Emer Perkins. From the splits it seems Emer was almost a minute clear of Trishia heading into the final two controls but she lost precious seconds over the final two legs which cost her the runners-up honour on the night.

There was a very close contest for the title of Curragh Wood Short course event winner and just 27 seconds differentiated the top two finishers. It was local Lady Fiona O’Driscoll who claimed the winner’s title when she completed the 2.5km course in a time of 22:05. Not far adrift of Fiona was Claire Lane who was runner up on the night with a time of 22:32. Liam Twomey continued to demonstrate his consistent orienteering ability and took the final podium spot. He punched all seven controls on the Short course in a time of 26:19.

Full individual results with some very interesting and diverse split times are available here.

Thanks to John Chandler for planning the event and setting a very testing course. Thanks also to Willie Fitzgerald and Liam O’Brien for their assistance on the night. I'm sure everyone was extremely grateful to Bobby O’Connor for ensuring there were plenty of refreshments available at the finish.

The league results are being checked and verified and the full results will be known in time for our 2015 Summer League finale which will take place next Tuesday evening in Farran Forest Park. This park is located on the southern shore of Inniscarra lake and provides panoramic views of the tranquil waters and surrounding countryside. Furthermore, you will be delighted to hear this area in relatively flat in comparison to Curragh Wood, further forest trivia and directions are available here.

Now that the pressure for improving your league position is over, next week we've planned a fun two-person relay event. This is intended to be a very social event so we would encourage you all to participate. Following all the relay action we've planned a delicious BBQ for all competitors in the National Rowing Centre in Farran. While you are munching your way through your BBQ grub we’ll present the prizes to all our league winners.

Hope you can be a part of this very social gathering!