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Alba name squad for Gaelic Shinty/Hurling International

Alba, the Scots Gaelic shinty team has named its squad for the fifth running of Iomain Cholmcille, the Shinty/Hurling International Series between Gaelic speakers from Scotland and Ireland, will be held in Portree, Isle of Skye on Saturday 7th April.

Players from across Scotland are involved in the squad with Lewis, Inverness, Ardnamurchan, Kinlochshiel and Lochcarron all in volved. But Eòghan Stewart, manager of Alba will have to do without any players from Skye, but he is very happy about this.

The Squad is as follows:

Eòghan Stewart (Manager)

Crisdean Finlayson (Lochcarron) Paul Duke, Conor MacDonald, Donald Lamont, Innes Lamont, Andrew Murray MacDonald, Micheal MacDonald (Lewis) Sean MacLeod (Tayforth), Calum MacDonald (Glasgow/Uist) Doneil MacLeod (Boleskine) Seumas Charity, Seumas Nairn (Lochbroom) Stuart Cameron, JD MacMaster (Ardnamurchan) James MacRae (Kinlochshiel), Andrew Grace (Inverness) Jack Fraser (Fort William)

Since the competition started in Oban in 2007, the trophy has been fought for between the Alba team and Micheal Breathnach GAA, representing Ireland. This year, however, there will be a new shape to it.

The festival has been supported with funding from Colmcille, the body with responsibility for strengthening links between the Gaelic communities of Ireland and Scotland,  but with the event growing ever more successful each year, Colmcille have been interested in widening the scope of the series.

Stewart said, “ The competition has been so successful over the years that Colmcille made a big push to expand the competition to include Northern Ireland, but that would mean two teams from Ireland and one from Scotland. It was therefore natural enough to divide the squad in two and give more Scottish Gaels the chance to get involved and have one team for the Sgitheanachs and one for the rest of Scotland.”

For the first time, there will be four teams, two representing shinty, Alba and a representative Skye team, and two from hurling, Micheal Breathnach and a team from Ulster.  This fulfills a long term aim of Colmcille that Northern Ireland be part of the project.

The competition will be held at Pàirc nan Laoch, the home of Skye Camanachd, one of Scotland’s greatest shinty grounds.

Stewart is looking forward to seeing his young squad on the park. “There are young, talented players in the squad, it’s great to give an opportunity like this to lads like Jack Fraser from Fort William who has come through Gaelic Medium Education and to Andrew Grace who has learned the language to a great level at university. It will also be great to welcome back JD MacMaster and Doneil MacLeod, they played in the first Gaelic game five years ago and it will be good to have them involved again.”

“We will miss big Keith MacDonald from Uist and Coinneach Campbell from Scalpay, one is abroad and the other is injured but we have Keith’s little brother Calum involved and he is a great player for Glasgow University.”

Winning isn’t the be all and end all for Stewart, although he will make sure his team does enough to win the tournament.  The revitilisation of the language is the primary aim of the project.

“This is the thing, there are not many opportunities for young men to speak Gaelic informally, some can access music and dance but through sports many more can come together and use the language naturally and easily.”

“We only have one rule and that is that players speak Gaelic whilst training and playing.  In fact we have a rule that the referee can send a player off for not speaking Gaelic but that has never happened.  Everyone buys into the concept and within a day, those who may not speak Gaelic that often (for whatever reason) are filled with confidence and speaking away as fluently as everyone else.”

Alba ag ainmeachadh sguad airson Iomain Cholmcille a Còig anns an Eilean

Tha Alba air an sguad aca ainmeachadh airson a’ chòigeimh chluiche de dh’Iomain Chomcille, an co-fharpais iomain eadar-nàiseanta eadar luchd na Gàidhlig ann an Alba is Èirinn, a thèid chumail ann am Port Rìgh, an t-Eilean Sgitheanach air Disàthairne 7mh den Ghiblean.

A-measg an sguad, tha cluicheadairean bho air feadh na h-Alba an-sàs ann.  Tha cluicheadairean à Leòdhas, Inbhir Nis, Ard nam Murchan, Ceann Loch Seile agus Lochcarrainn nam pàirt den sguad.  Ach feumaidh manaidsear Eòghan Stiùbhart a dhèanamh as aonais chluicheadairean bhon Eilean Sgitheanach, ach tha e toilichte mu dheidhinn seo.

On a thòisich an co-fharpais seo san Òban ann an 2007, tha an strì air a bhith eadar sgioba na h-Alba agus CLG Micheal Breathnach, a’ riochdachadh na h-Èireann ach am bliadhna bidh crùth ùr air.

Airson a’ chiad uair, bidh ceithir sgiobaidhean ann, a dhà a’ riochdachadh iomain na h-Alba, Alba fhèín agus sgioba a’ riochdachadh an Eilein Sgitheanaich fa leth, agus a dhà a’ cluich iomain na h-Èireann, Micheal Breathnach agus sgioba o Uladh.  Tha seo a’ coileanadh àmas Cholmcille gum biodh Èirinn a Tuath (no an Tuaisceart ann an Gàidhlig na h-Èireann) a’ gabhail pàirt sa ghnòthach.

Chaidh Iomain Cholmcille a chur air chois le taic-airgid o Cholmcille, am buidheann airson ceanglaichean eadar na Gaidheil ann an Alba is Èirinn a neartachadh. Ach, leis an tachartas a’ sìor-fhàs nas soirbhichile gach bliadhna, bha ùidh aig Colmcille a’ chùis a leudachadh.

Thuirt Stiùbhart “Tha an co-fharpais air a bhith cho soirbheachail thar nam bliadhnaichean gun robh impis ann bho Cholmcille a leudachadh gus Eirinn a Tuath a thoirt na lùib, ach bhiodh sin a ‘ ciallachadh gum biodh dà sgioba bho Èiriinn agus aon bho Alba. Bha e nàdarrach mar sin, an sguad a roinn ann an dà leth agus an cothrom a thoirt do bharrachd Ghaidheil a thighinn an lùïb ghnothaichean le  sgioba ann dha na Sgitheanaich agus sgioba eile ann airson a’ chòrr de dh’Alba.”

Thèid an co-fharpais a chumail aig Pàirc nan Laoch, dachaigh Camanachd an Eilein, fear dhe na goireasan iomain as fheàrr ann an Alba.

Thuirt Stiùbhart gun robh e a’ coimhead air adhart ris an sguad ùr òg aige fhaicinn air a’ phàirc, “Tha gillean òga làidir is tapaidh anns an sguad, bidh e math cothrom a thoirt do ghillean mar Jack Friseal às a’ Ghearasdan a tha air tighinn tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig agus do dh’Anndra Grace a tha ag ionnsachadh a’ chànain gu deagh ìre aig an oilthigh. Bidh e math fàilte air ais a thoirt do JD MacMhaighstir agus Doneil MacLeòid, chluich iadsan anns a’ chiad gheam o chionn còig bliadhnaichean agus bidh e math a thoirt a-steach a-rithist.”

“Bidh sinn cuideachd ag ionndrainn Keith Dhòmhnallaich agus Choinnich Chaimbeul, tha fear dhiubh thall thairis agus am fear eile air a dhroch leòn ach bidh bràthair Keith, Calum, a tha na dheagh chluicheadair do dh’Oilthigh Ghlaschu a’ gabhail pairt mhòr sa ghnòthaich

Chan e buannachadh an rud as cudromaiche ge-tà, ged a bhios Stiùbhart a’ dèanamh cinnteach gun dèan an sgioba aige cho math ‘s a b’ urrainn dha an co-fharpais a ghleidheadh.  ‘S e ath-bheòthachadh cànain a tha anns a’ phrìomh àmas aig a’ phroiseact.

“”S e a tha ann, nach eil cothroman gu leòr aig fir òga Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn ann an suidheachaidhean neo-fhoirmeil, tha ceòl agus dannsa ann do chuid ach ‘s ann tro spòrs ‘s urrainn dha fada a bharrachd tighinn ri chèile agus an cànan a chleachdadh gu nàdarrach is gu furasta.”

“Chan eil ach aon riaghailt, ‘s e gum bruidhinn cluicheadairean Gàidhlig ann an treanadh agus air a’ phàirc. Gu dearbh, ‘s urrainn don reitire cairt dhearg a thaisbeanadh do dhuine sam bith nach bhruidhneas i ach cha do thachair sin riamh.  Bidh a h-uile duine a’ gabhail ris agus taobh a-staigh latha, tha feadhainn nach eil a’ bruidhinn Gàidhlig cho tric (ge b’e an t-adhbhar) a’ togail misneachd ‘s iad cho fileanta ri càch.”

Eòghan Stiùbhart (Manaidsear)

Crisdean MacFhionnlaigh (Lochcarrainn) Pòl Duke, Conor Dòmhnallach, Dòmhnall MacLaomainn, Aonghas MacLaomainn, Anndra Moireach MacDhòmhnaill, Micheal Dòmhnallach (Leòdhas), Sean MacLeòid (Tatha For), Calum Dòmhnallach (Oilthigh Ghlaschu/Uibhist), Dòmhnall Niall MacLeòid (Both Fhleasgainn) Seumas Charity, Seumas Nairn (Lochbhraoin) Stuart Camshron, JD MacMhaighstir (Ard nam Murchan), Seumas MacRàth (Ceann Loch Seile) Anndra Grace (Inbhir Nis) Jack Friseal (An Gearasdan)

PHOTO: Courtesy of Neil G Paterson (c)

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