Io­main Cholm­cille to mark 10 years of suc­cess at the Royal Na­tional Mòd

The Oban Times - - Sport -

IO­MAIN Cholm­cille, the in­ter­na­tional shinty-hurl­ing com­pe­ti­tion for Scot­tish Gaelic and Ir­ish speak­ers, will be held in Fort Wil­liam this year, mark­ing 10 years of the most suc­cess­ful sport­ing event in Gaelic in Scot­land.

The event will be held as part of the Royal Na­tional Mòd, Mòd Loch Abair on Oc­to­ber 14, 2017, at An Aird.

The com­pe­ti­tion is unique in that all the play­ers must be flu­ent in Scot­tish Gaelic or Ir­ish and that they must use the lan­guage on the park. This is the first term that the com­pe­ti­tion has been held as part of the Mòd in its long his­tory. Io­main Cholm­cille was first held in Oban in 2007 as part of the Fèill Chaluim Chille. Since then, it has been held in Con­nemara, Done­gal, Skye and Glas­gow.

It has grown from one game be­tween Alba, the Scot­tish Gaelic team, and Micheál Breath­nach GAA to take in Fir Uladh from the North of Ire­land and Na Gaeil Òga from Dublin. It has also now in­cluded a com­pe­ti­tion the Gaelic-speak­ing women of both coun­tries, with the Còrn Sgàthaich played ev­ery year.

This year, there will be a youth com­pe­ti­tion for Lochaber young­sters where they will learn Gaelic while play­ing the game of the Gael. They will also have the op­por­tu­nity to learn some hurl­ing skills with coach­ing from rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the two com­pet­ing Ir­ish teams at An Arid in the morn­ing.

Eògh Ste­wart, who has been the Scot­tish co- or­di­na­tor for 10 years, said: ‘ We are de­lighted to be tak­ing Io­main Cholm­cille X to Fort Wil­liam at the same time as the Royal Na­tional Mòd is in Lochaber. We are plac­ing our fan­tas­tic event at the cen­tre of Gaelic’s cul­tural heart and it is a great op­por­tu­nity to learn from each other in lan­guage and sport.

‘There are many ex­cit­ing things hap- pen­ing in Ire­land right now in terms of try­ing to se­cure lan­guage rights and we hope that Scot­tish Gaels will gain some en­cour­age­ment from our Ir­ish guests. Io­main Cholm­cille has been very suc­cess­ful in en­cour­ag­ing young men and women to en­gage with Gaelic and speak it again over the years and we hope that this con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength.’

James Gra­ham, Mòd de­vel­op­ment man­ager, wel­comed the new part­ner­ship say­ing: ‘An Co­munn Gàid­healach are de­lighted to host the in­ter­na­tional shinty-hurl­ing com­pe­ti­tion for Scot­tish and Ir­ish Gaels. There could be no bet­ter stage to host the com­pe­ti­tion that at the Royal Na­tional Mòd, Scot­land’s largest Gaelic arts fes­ti­val. It is also fit­ting that the com­pe­ti­tion takes place in Lochaber, a tra­di­tional heart­land of shinty with a rich his­tory. The com­pe­ti­tion is cul­tur­ally im­por­tant to both Ir­ish and Gaelic lan­guages in help­ing to strengthen the links be­tween the Gaelic-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties of both coun­tries.’

The Royal Na­tional Mòd al­ways holds a com­pe­ti­tion for shinty ev­ery year, and this has not been ne­glected. The Mòd Cup for lo­cal teams will be held on the same day at an­other venue TBC in the area. All in all, it will be a fan­tas­tic fes­ti­val of shinty across Lochaber.

Io­main Cholm­cille re­ceives sup­port from Colm­cille, a part­ner­ship be­tween bòrd na Gìad­hilg and Fo­ras na Gaeilge which seeks to strengthen and de­velop con­nec­tions be­tween Gaelic-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­u­als in Scot­land and Ire­land.

Io­main Cholm­cille will be work­ing in part­ner­ship with An Co­munn Gàid­healach, the lo­cal Mòd com­mit­tee and Fort Wil­liam Shinty Club on this project.

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