Relays. In house, Inter Club or Inter anything. It doesn't matter. The Irish Relay Championships are usually the only relays run on the Ireland. Once a year, one chance to get it right.
Most clubs look to field a couple of teams, Chairman Don, however, wants to fit every CNOC member he can find onto a relay team.
Monday morning, after a punishing Long Distance, CNOC had 8 teams across the 7 classes. And in standard style, the objective was to win the lot of them. However, that is easier said than done as it is usually the plan of the other 75 teams to win is well!
Starting with the CNOC Baryons in H12, Senan O'Boyle set out on first leg, he was completely beasting it along (according to winsplits) until a slip at the 13th saw him lose some time, he handed over to Don Short in 7th position. Don was running well until he managed to double miss punch (I'm sure he'll gladly explain his battle woes over a pint, I have yet to hear the full story)[edit: Don states he needs more therapy before he shall discuss his run, a good cry over a pint may be a more suitable at this moment in time], unknown of his miss punch, he let Tom Ryan off on the last leg. Tom ran well in the peat hags, but by then the result was MP. Fail in relay 1.
The second CNOC team, CNOC Sleptons in H18 had a much better showing. The steady hand of Bill O'Neill lead the team out on first leg. He had a pretty awesome run, coming in 6mins down on a UK team, DVO. Bernie O'Boyle was on second leg and ran around with the fastest female time for the leg, again, 6mins down on the quickest DVO runner. Eileen Hill ran last leg, she didn't have the cleanest of runs, but did have the fastest run in for her course to secure CNOC Sleptons 4th place. Getting better!
CNOC Mesons in H6, lead out on first leg by Regina Kelly, she ran a good race for her first time running in the panicked mayhem that is a mass start. Carol Ross, of JK first leg fame, took the second leg and ran a pretty clean race (map
) to let Brian Hill out on last leg. Brian followed the traditional approach of mistake, spike, mistake, spike for the first 7 controls before he got into his flow and began to orienteer better. He brought the team home in 6th (4th irish team).
In Junior 38's, Joseph Delaney ran a good race, Laoise Ryan went off on a bit of an adventure and Sean ran just as clean a race as Joseph. Solid running by the junior juniors brought them home in 6th. Looking at the other teams, there are different club members running for different teams! The mini relay really provided some excitment, but for the sake of this post making CNOC look awesome, 3 teams had multi clubs, which makes the CNOC Tachyons 3rd!
In Junior 48, CNOC Hadrons, was an all female team. It was rumor'd that star CNOC athlete, Caoimhe had an argument with management, Caoimhe won and it setted up a kick ass CNOC team. Siobhan Delaney (sporting a new shinny CNOC top) was on first leg, she had an extremely tricky course, but made it around safely to unleash Irish Champions Caoimhe O'Boyle on leg 2 and Deirdre Ryan on the final leg. They tanked it around to be first all female team across the line and 3rd over all. The LVO Millar Lights, better watch out!
In the Womens Premier, CNOC once again had selection headaches. Eventually, the CNOC Bosons, Niamh O'Boyle, Bridget Lawlor and Ruth Lynam, set out to defend the IOC title of last year. Toni O'Donovan (CorkO) beasted the field by over 3mins, luckly for CNOC, she missed a control. Niamh was 3rd back, behind Sundays Long Distance Champ, Ciara Largey. Bridget Lawlor went out against Irish Squad member Rosiland Hussey (FermO), Bridget held her nerve and began the fight back as she closed the gap by 1:30min. Ruth Lynam, took the lead by the first control due to a mistake by the FermO last leg runner. Ruth then beasted the first 8 controls, dropping 15seconds total from all fastest splits at the 8th control! Once the gap was established, the title could only go one way as Ruth kept it clean for the rest of the course to bring them in for a 25min win. That makes it 3 on the trot. Ruth involved in all 3 skirmishes with Niamh and Bridget involved in 2. Irish title number 2 to CNOC.
The last race was the Mens Premier. CNOC had two teams involved, CNOC Quarks (Shea O'Boyle, Roar Short and Colm Hill) and CNOC Leptons (Conor Short, Hugh Cashel and Kev O'Boyle). The relay selections were made late on Thursday night, a move by the Chairman to make sure the so called "elites" didn't stuff up in the Middle distance and ruin his great plan.
The relay set off with Shea and Conor running well in the pack. The pack jumps right, Shea contuines on straight... A mistake... a route choice... He dives into the heather and vanishes. Bog hole! Pat Heally was giving it socks on the PA system as the teams vanish over the hill side. Johnny Kendal is announced as first through the radio control (Ajax had radio controls!), no sound from Seamus. Things don't look good. 5mins later, CorkO 1 sound through... 20mins later, Conor Short sounds through! This did not look good. Ruairi had faith in Shea and went into the box. Kendal hits the last radio, no one else around.... Suddenly Shea is seen tanking it in the run in in front for the fastest time on leg 1! Turns out, Kendal got a tow from Seamus being on the same course to finish 18sec down as Shea increased the gas over the last loop!
Roar was unleashed for leg 2, he ran a clean hard race. Saltumis (corko 2) was running faster than Roar, but got the advantage of been lead into controls to let Colm Hill out, 22sec down on CorkO's Shane Lynch. Bill Edwards gained a little time on Ruairi to let out Irish Champion Marcus Pinker. It was game on for the Irish title.
CorkO V CNOC V CorkO... again. A head to head battle ensued between Shane and Colm who were both running on the same course. Shane had a big miss on the second and recovered quick by jumping onto Colm's tail. After a veir from Colm, Shane had increased the lead to 42sec at the radio control. Over the last section, both made a race defining mistake, Shane, having the lead recovered quicker, and although slower on the last loop was first to cross the line. Colm crossed the line 28sec later and 1:35min in front of Marcus Pinker. The first CorkO team were deem Non Competitive due to IOC rules. CorkO got the win on the day, but CNOC bring the title home for a second year running.
CNOC's second team didn't have such a good day. Conor had a disaster on leg 1, dropping a lot of time on the first control. He was 10th at control 9 but fought back to gain lost time. Hugh Cashel ran a clean second leg to let Kevin O'Boyle out. As a traditional first leg runner, Kev swapped position to give anchor leg a run. He ran a good race, finishing with a Leg time just behind Irish Champ runner up Ger Butler. Over all CNOC Leptons finished 8th.
It surely sets IOC Relays up for 2012 to be electric! With 2 CNOC mens team, a CNOC womens team going for 4 in a row and a CNOC female Junior team that could potentially beat the senior team.
Bonus question: What was Don thinking of when he named the CNOC relay teams?