Summer League #8: Ballyannon Wood Results and Report

Post date: Jul 03, 2013 10:42:0 PM

Ballyannon Wood in Midleton proved a very picturesque destination for the 8th event in the Cork Orienteering Club summer league. Now that the schools are out for the summer the family vacation season has commenced and this combined with the popular Cork City Sports meant that a number of our summer league regulars were absent on the night. However the event still attracted an attendance of over eighty participants who were all eager to test their orienteering skills on the compact and challenging terrain at Ballyannon Wood.

Our 2012 Summer League sojourn at this location turned into a mud fest and the memories from this event were still fresh in many folk’s minds and several feared the same outcome this year. Thankfully the drizzly raining that persisted in the early part of Tuesday cleared away and the evening was balmy and dry which was ideal for orienteering. Furthermore the warm weather of late meant that the wood itself was exceptionally dry under foot so the going was extremely fast.

Anyone who has visited this area before was well aware of how easy it can be to lose minutes over competitors if you get disoriented in one particular area of this wood. So while some came determined to always stay in contact with the map and not repeat past mistakes others unfortunately were left pondering how such a small area could be so perplexing.

Both courses commenced with a short run to get to the wood and this time allowed competitors the chance to study the map and do some forward planning for the course ahead. On the Long course the lengthy leg to the first control presented plenty of route options but it also took participants immediately into perhaps the most challenging area of the map. The biggest temptation in this area is to take the straight line approach to the control because it looks so short so you think you can’t go too far wrong. Unfortunately unless you are using your compass this strategy can backfire as the seasonal vegetation growth often forces people off their intended route and then they hit one of the paths and think they know where they are until they hit an unexpected junction and think how could the map be wrong here! Ignoring this first warning sign they proceed and before they know it they have no idea where they are and then comes the unenviable orienteering task of trying to re-locate.....we've all been there and this probably explains why the splits to the first control range from times of 3:33 to 27:28.

The planner followed this long leg with a burst of short legs with directional changes and route choices. These required some speedy route decisions. Another relatively long leg from 5 to 6 offered lots of route options. The lush nature of the wood at present led to some of the tracks being a lot narrower than normal in particular the track from seven to eight. I hope no one got caught in traffic here! Anyone who checked the tides before attending the event would have been aware that the tide was out in the Owenacurra Estuary which meant that the shore line path was possible on the leg from 10 to 11. By the time competitors got to control twelve they had become familiar with the majority of the trails in the tricky area of the wood and knowing precisely where control 13 was as it was also control four they could use this knowledge to plan an efficient route there.

The Sprint-O style orienteering on Tuesday meant there was no let up on navigating decisions but I hope all still managed to appreciate the huge variety of trees on display in this unique woodland. This area has been continuously wooded since at least the 17th century with native and naturalise species. The tree varieties vary from broadleaves ash and oak to rowan, horse chestnut, lime, Lawson cypress, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir to name but a few. This is a particularly charming forest.

Another superb run by Cillin Corbett this week secured him another first place finish. He completed the course with a time of just 23:53. This gives Cillin a hat-trick of event wins in this year’s league and if he maintains this form and doesn't succumb under the pressure of his challengers in particular his Dad over the remaining events he could secure himself the 2013 Summer League title. A very steady run by Donal Murphy merited him second place. Donal finished the testing course in a time of 24:35. Third place this week went to Jonathan Lucey who finished the course in 25 minutes 40 seconds. This solid run by Jonathan denied Brian Corbett a podium finish this week.With our usual fastest lady Niamh Corbett busy on international duty representing Ireland at JWOC 2013 this opened the door for someone else to take the ladies title at Ballyannon Wood. Ailbhe Creedon the 2012 Summer League Lady Champion was determined not to miss this opportunity to break her run of second place finishes. In fact Ailbhe was literally just off the plane form her holiday in Lanzarote and make it to the event in the nick of time and finally broke her run of second place finishes and took the top spot finishing with a time of 34:58. Second place went to Elaine Sheridan who just travelled from Cork city to compete at the event! She finished the course in a time of 40:08. The final podium spot went to Trishia O’Mahony who completed the course in a time of 41:22.On the Short course it was Daithi Power aided by his two little assistants Aisling and Caoimhe Power who took first place. They covered the course in a time of 18:41. The Broderick Family produced another steady run this week and claimed second place for their efforts with a time of 19:32. The final podium place went to Sarah Fitzgerald who finished with a time of 20:57.Thanks to all who attended we hope you enjoyed your adventure in this remarkable area. Full individual results and splits are available here.

We did attempt to capture the exquisite nature of the area and you can view a few snaps from the event on the Gallery page.

This week we would like to extend a very big THANK YOU to Aidan Kelleher for planning fantastic courses. This was Aidan’s first time planning and I think you would all agree he did a great job. We are also especially thankful to East Cork Crane Hire ( who sponsored the cost of printing the maps for the event.

Thanks must also be extended to Gerald Duffy for controlling the event and the team that took care of registration, download and control collection. This team was comprised of James Griffin, Brian Scannell and Rob McEvoy.

People are already beginning to talk about the style of this year’s Summer League finishers t-shirt and with just three events remaining there is still a chance to get your hands on one of these much coveted souvenir t-shirts.

The next event in the league will see us descend on University College Cork Campus. Luckily most of the students will be on their summer hols so there shouldn't be too many pedestrians to impede your progress but all the same do take care when rounding blind corners and running on red bricks (apparently these are particularly slippery) as we don’t want any causalities. The campus architecture is a fine mix of ancient and modern from the limestone buildings of the Main Quadrangle to the glass fronted structure of the student centre. Numerous sculptures adorn the landscaped gardens on the campus and these will no doubt feature as some of the control sites at this event.

With only two competitive events remaining don’t miss this chance to improve your individual league results and at the same time do your bit for your team.

Hope to see you there.