Normally top class rugby is the sport of choice at Burnbrae but, thanks to the generosity of West of Scotland Rugby Club, it was the sounds of the Gaelteachd that resonated around the main pitch today, when local primary schools in East Dunbartonshire hosted a group of cross community children from 4 primary schools in Belfast culminating in a game of Shinty/Hurling.
Meadowburn Primary School, Bishopbriggs and St Josephs PS, Milngavie with support from children of Craigdhu PS, Milngavie participated in this highly significant visit, intended to foster good relationships, through sport, amongst young people in the city of Belfast. 16 children travelled across the Irish Sea led by PJ O’Grady, Rector of St Patricks College and, after spending the morning at the Science Centre in Glasgow, the group made their way to Burnbrae for the historic match.
The link between Shinty and Hurling goes back a long way and the strong relationship is maintained by annual male and female internationals between Scotland and Ireland using a hybrid set of rules from the two codes. The Scottish players are allowed to use their camans whilst the Irish use their traditional hurleys and the result is a spectacle not to be missed.
The East Dunbartonshire schools fielded a select team from the 3 schools. Meadowburn Primary School have a very strong Shinty section whilst the children from St Josephs and Craigdhu play with local club Milngavie & Bearsden Junior Shinty Club at Auchenhowie.
The game itself was a closely fought contest played in an exemplary manner by both sides. Despite a strong fightback in the second half from the Irish children it was the local team who triumphed 6-4. The trophy was presented to the victors by Duncan Cameron, President of the Camanchd Association, the governing body of Shinty in Scotland.
Jo Swinson was delighted to attend, and praised the team spirit on show. She said: “The match was a great occasion, with excellent team spirit shown by both sides. To see so many young people enjoying sport and particularly being involved in minority sports like shinty and hurling was very encouraging.”
Since a recent visit to Auchenhowie and an introduction to Shinty, Jo has been very active in supporting the campaign to identify a pitch in the district to support senior Shinty. Various local people with an interest in Shinty are also working with East Dunbartonshire Council to identify such a facility.
Local club Milngavie & Bearsden are about to start the winter indoor and outdoor seasons in age groups up to under 14. Their primary school children train at Boclair Academy at 1830 Hrs on a Friday with the older children practicing on a Wednesday evening at Auchenhowie. Please contact Norman MacMillan at 0141 956 6706 for further information on playing Shinty.