Cupa Iomain na h-Òige. National Shinty Competition for Gaelic Medium Pupils
Iomain Cholmcille – the Gaelic Shinty Project – have worked in partnership with the Highland Council’s Gaelic Team and High Life Highland to organise a national shinty event for P4 – P7 Gaelic Medium pupils from schools across Scotland.
Cupa Iomain na h-Òige – Youth Shinty Cup - is a pilot project but aims to become an annual event based in the Highlands but open to schools across Scotland.
The event took place on The Eilan Park in Newtonmore, and was held entirely in the medium of Gaelic. Iomain Cholmcille is a project dedicated to encouraging the use of Gaelic in the shinty world and regularly organises international exchanges with Irish-speaking hurling teams for both men and women.
Cupa Iomain na h-Òige has received support from the Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Iomain Cholmcille presented the Cupa Iomain na h-Òige itself for the winner of the competition, while the Council provided support for a trophy, Duais Gàidhlig Iomain na h-Òige - Youth Shinty Gaelic Award – which goes to the team most committed to using the language at the event, as well as medals which are presented to each participant.
FilmG who the Council also supports liaised with the event organisers as they saw this as an opportunity to include a sports category within this year’s FilmG competition, filming and providing commentary on the young Gaels’ heroics.
The event began at 11am with 6 players on in each side, 8 in a squad. Teams from Newtonmore, Lochaber, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh took part. After a competitive day’s play Newtonmore Primary were victorious in the shinty competition with Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar being presented with the Duais Gàidhlig for commitment to the language.
Photograph ©Neil G Paterson - Cllr Hamish Fraser and Cllr Hamish Fraser and Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar
Mr Eoghan Stewart, Co-ordinator of Iomain Cholmcille in Scotland said: “This is the next generation of shinty players and Gaelic speakers and it vital that they see the rich connection between sport and language from a young age. Gaelic medium education has been important to the growth of the sport in many areas and we are very keen to tap into that energy. Iomain Cholmcille is very happy to be working in partnership with Highland Council on this project and we look forward to developing the competition in the years ahead. We hope that a good number of these youngsters will go on to play for the Alba Gaelic Shinty teams in the future.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairperson of Highland Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group who presented the ‘Duais Gàidhlig Iomain na h-Òige to Lochaber BSGL and the Shinty Cup to Newtonmore Primary said:
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to present the cups it was an excellent event as it provided an opportunity for the young people in each of the teams the opportunity to use their linguistic skills with their peers from other schools and areas in the Country. It takes the language out of the classroom setting and the young people are combining their linguistic, sporting and social skills which form part of the requirements of the curriculum for excellence agenda.”