Published on October 8th, 2019 | by nioa-sec


Report from the Senior Home International

With the Junior Home Internationals coming up this weekend to close off the 2019 Home International Season, we’re gathering in reports from the senior and veteran away matches and also the Junior Inter-Regional Championships where the Northern Ireland team of juniors did particularly well in beating Wales. It looks like they are all set for a good result this weekend when the all island Ireland team take on Wales on home terrirory.

But now the first of the reports of Senior Home International from team manager Susan Lambe, LVO:

With back-to-back triumphs over the Welsh to gain and retain the Celtic Cup, could we make it a hat trick in 2019?  Heading into the home territory of the Welsh, on challenging sand dune terrain, could our mix of youth & experience keep the Welsh in fourth spot? Spoiler Alert: not quite!

The beautiful sand dune terrain of Broughton & Whiteford Burrows hosted an excellent SHI weekend, with our team headed up by the experience of Marcus Pinker.  Thank you, Marcus, for taking on this role for the weekend.  Yes I know it was a one-year-only offer!!  Safely ensuring all our competitors were gathered from an assortment of airports, and shepherding them to the start line, can be more challenging than the orienteering at times 😉

Our “youth & experience” team saw the return of several orienteers from New Zealand, and pick of the results was surely Conor Short’s excellent 3rd place finish in M21, less than 5 minutes down on the lead.  Alas it wasn’t to be our year, and the Celtic Cup has made its way to worthy winners Wales, for what we hope will be a very short stay.

Full results are here, and if you want a flavour of the competition, there is a brilliant video of the relays, showing the competitors flowing really quite beautifully through the terrain.

I should probably mention that England won the overall competition, followed by Scotland.  As is the case with most of the Home Internationals, there seem to be two mini-competitions in there.   ENG v SCO and IRL v WAL.  With the 2020 competition in Scotland in early September (date is under discussion), there’s plenty of time to build our team and get ready for another challenging, and fun, weekend of orienteering.

And if you are thinking you like the sound of that: The Senior Home International is an annual competition between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Two days of competition (individual and relay) pit the finest M/W20s and M/W21s against each other.  Often the first experience of senior level competition for our athletes, there’s a decent social side to the weekend as well.  I’m fortunate to manage (from afar!) the Irish team, alongside fellow selectors Philip Baxter and Mike Long  The call goes out early in the new year for athletes to put their name forward.  Check out last year’s selection policy for an idea of how it works:

With 3 each M/W20s and 6 each M/W21s, we often end up with some M/W18s running up (and M/W35s, and M/W40s, and beyond!)  For our younger athletes, it’s a great stepping-stone towards international senior competition, and a massive opportunity to be on a team with more experienced orienteers.  I’m really proud of our team spirit, and the way we all support each other.  So if you’re an older teenager, or similarly if you’re M/W21 and thinking of taking the step to representative orienteering…..go for it.  Put your name in the hat for next year, and get running those selection races

About the Author

Stephen Gilmore is the Hon Secretary of NI Orienteering.

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