Summer League #8: Ballyannon Wood Tuesday July 1st Results and Report

Post date: Jul 02, 2014 12:28:49 PM

Ballyannon Wood in Midleton proved a very charming destination for the 8th event in the CorkO summer league. The fine evening and this idyllic setting ensured a large turnout on the night and we surpassed the century in entrants again this week. All contestants seemed eager to test their orienteering skills on the compact and challenging terrain at Ballyannon Wood. While the Corbett and Lucey family members have grabbed the attention in the event results and league tables of late there are several other families who also deserve a mention for their regular participation at this year’s events. The Power, Clifford, O’Sullivan, O’Connor, Griffin and Kearney families frequently work together to complete the Short course while the Bosonnet, McIIreavy and Latimer families prefer to battle each other on the terrain every week.

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 on this map. In fact one particular junction where six paths converge can be quite confusing. Unfortunately it would appear that some competitors fell victim to the perplexing nature of some of these junctions.

The Short course on Tuesday evening took participants on a pleasant loop around the wood. The lush vegetation in the wood really encroached on some of the paths and as a result their width presented a challenge to some of our habitual buggy-O participants. Control ten on the Short course which also doubled as control one on the Long course seemed to test some. This control was positioned in a pit and was difficult to spot even when standing right beside it.

The Long course in Ballyannon Wood definitely lived up to its name. It is difficult to comprehend how one of the smallest areas we’ve visited thus far in the 2014 Summer League could produce one of the longest courses to date. A minor scaling error when drawing up the maps resulted in the Long course straight line distance being approximately 50% longer than then event info suggested! Thankfully, it was a fabulous evening and the exceptionally dry terrain in the wood meant no one complained about being given the opportunity to enjoy all corners of this delightful landscape on what turned out to be a very epic long course adventure.

To make the map more readable the Long course was split into two maps which were printed back to back. This course had competitors criss-crossing the wood in all directions and it was difficult at time not to be distracted by fellow competitors as paths were crossed on numerous occasions. Several of the legs had route options through the runnable forest. Most notably the legs from 1 to 2, 7 to 8 and 11 to 12 but if speed is one of your strengths you may have elected to stick to the well defined path network to avoid any potential navigational error you could incur taking the slightly riskier straight line approach. I’m sure many took the contour detail into account when evaluating their route choices. The steep hill on the North-East corner of the map was definitely worth avoiding and if this specific contour detail escaped you I'm sure it took just one trip across this physically demanding route for your calves to tell you it should be bypassed on any further legs to this section of the map. That is unless of course you relish the climb in which case you would have been in your element on this route.The going was extremely fast and orienteers were seen bounding along the various forest trails. Ballyannon like many of the forests we've visited in the league was hit by the strong gales we experienced earlier in the year. This has resulted in several trees falling down across some of the forest trails, so some hurdling and ducking was required when negotiating these paths. Control 10 on the Long course was located at the corner of the ruin on the western side of the map. The control was surrounded by rhododendron making some approach routes to this site difficult. Luckily, no one succumb to the same fate as those recent hillwalkers in the Knockmealdown Mountains who were trapped for five hours in a rhododendron plantation! You can read more on that dreadful misadventure here. Anyone who opted for the higher route from 10 to 11 was afforded some stunning views of the surrounding farmland with its colourful seasonal crops thriving as a result of the recent fine spell.

With the high temperatures and the mammoth distance covered some may have begun to fatigue a little over the latter part of the course. Markedly the penultimate control situated in a small depression required some detailed navigation on approach and from the split times it seems a slight drift in focus may have cost many precious time on the home stretch. The run from the start to the wood presented a excellent chance to warm up and preview the course before entering the technical terrain. However, the return journey to the finish following a strenuous Long course was not so endearing. Once again the water that was available at the finish was most refreshing.

The winning times this week were a bit longer than usual but unfortunately the extra distance didn’t prevent Cillin Corbett from achieving his fifth consecutive event win. He finished in a time of 39 minutes and 18 seconds. This impressive winning streak by Cillin looks like it will secure him the 2014 Summer League Long Course Champion title. Another consistent run by Conrad Daly was rewarded with the runners-up spot on the night. Conrad completed the course in a time of 40:23 just over a minute past Cillin’s time. However looking at the splits from the event Conrad did overtake Cillin at control 12 but he wasn’t able to maintain this lead over the final two controls. The final podium spot went to Midleton native John Chandler. John is very fairly with this wood as he trained here regularly during his school days and it seems this local knowledge is still standing to him. He finished the course with a time of 41:36 and had just 23 seconds to spare over fourth place finisher Donal Murphy. The Corbett siblings took all the honours on the Long course this week with Cillin’s sister Niamh continuing were she left off last week. She proved yet again to be the fastest Lady on the night having completed the Long course in at time of 50:42. Sharon Lucey continues to demonstrate her speed and orienteering skills and she was runner up on Tuesday finishing will a time of 55:55. This second place finish will almost certainly guarantee Sharon the title of 2014 Summer League Long Course Ladies Champion as it sees her improve her overall league total which is bad news for the chasing pack!  The strongest chaser is this pack is Trishia O’Mahony and she also succeeded in improving her overall league standing by taking third place at the event. She punched all 14 controls in a time of 56:18.

Of the 44 competitors on the Short course it was Bart Bergley who led the way and took the event win. He completed the course in a time of 17 minutes and 32 seconds. Second place on the night went to Sienna Bosonnet who punched all ten controls in a time of 18:52. The final position on the winners rostrum was taken by Callum McIIreavy. He finished in a time of 21:38 narrowly beating Jamie Latimer for this honour.

Well done to all who competed at the event. Full individual results with split times are available here.

There were lots of Summer League paparazzi in the forest and at the finish this week busily snapping participants at the event. To see if you managed to cross the path of their lenses during your run visit the Gallery page of our website were some of these photos have been posted.

Furthermore, other photos from the event may appear in the Examiner County supplement next week or even the Midleton News so don’t be surprised if your orienteering antics attract some attention for your peers next week.

Thanks to Eadaoin Morrish for planning the course and Danny O’Hare for controlling the event. Hugh thanks also to Willie Fitzgerald and Liam O’Brien for organising the event on the day.

The next event in the CorkO Summer League will see us visit Tracton Wood near Minane Bridge. We haven’t visited this area since the 2011 Summer League so only the locals will be relatively familiar with this terrain. This long narrow wood in the river valley is quite steep in parts so be warned the course could be fairly demanding. Further forest trivia and directions are available here.Rumour has it that Cillin is heading off on his hols soon so this will undoubtedly open the door for someone else to achieve the event win for a change. So if you’re challenging for a podium spot in this year’s league don’t miss this opportunity to capitalise on Cillin’s absence. As there are just two competitive events left this will be one of the two remaining occasions for all competitors to better their overall league position. If you’re pursuing a fellow competitor or attempting to obtain the highly desirable summer league finisher t-shirt than be sure to come along to the event in Tracton Wood.

Hope to see you there!