Heb Celt Shinty match pitches north against south

CAMANCHD Leodhais and Uist Camanachd are to contest this year's Hebridean Celtic Festival Trophy on Saturday (April 5), in the first battle between the north and south in three years.

This is the second year of the Heb Celt Trophy, which was designed to showcase the modern renaissance of shinty in the Outer Hebrides.

The 2008 competition will be held over two legs with the first match at Paible School Pitches in North Uist on Saturday, Throw-up at 12noon.

The second and final leg will then take place in Stornoway on the final day of the Hebridean Celtic Festival – Saturday July 19 (Throw-up 2pm).

Speaking of the sporting battle, Caroline MacLennan, Festival Director, said: "The partnership of shinty and the Hebridean Celtic Festival is a unique and exciting one, reinvigorating old traditions in a new and vital way.

"Shinty will provide festival-goers with an intense sporting spectacle as part of the Festival Fringe and the Festival provides a magnificent opportunity for the exposure of this excellent sport in the Outer Hebrides."

She added: "We're sure our visitors will enjoy the chance to sample a spectacle which is unique to the Highlands and Islands."

And Eoghan Stewart, who assists with the development of shinty in the Outer Hebridean on behalf of the Camanachd Association, commented: "Shinty is the ancient game of the Gael and was practised throughout the Outer Hebrides until the beginning of the First World War when the advent of football and a lack of competition killed off the sport.

"In partnership with local shinty clubs, the Hebridean Celtic Festival created this new competition and this will be the first competitive meeting between Uist and Lewis for three years, when they played for the Mod Cup in 2005 with Uist victorious.

"A good competitive pair of fixtures is expected with Camanachd Leodhais now competing regularly in national cup competition and with Uist having players who are playing at University level on the mainland."

For more information about this year's Hebridean Celtic Festival, click here.