Shane O’Neill’s host Shinty/Hurling at Feystown

In 2011 we attended a game with a difference at Feystown, home of Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm where the home club were hosting the Dalriada Shinty/Hurling and what a day it turned out to be.

The event included a Camogie select v a Hockey select, a poc fada and skills competition, an under- age blitz competition a minor hurling game between the local club and neighbours Latharna Og from Larne while the big event on the Saturday was a hurling/shinty challenge between Shane O’Neill’s and Oban Celtic from Scotland

Swift, sea-going curraghs from the north-east coast of Ireland first shipped the caman and the ball, with Christianity and the Gaelic language, to Scotland. (Hutchinson, R. 1989. Camanachd: The Story of Shinty)

The game of shinty is known as Camanachd in scots Gaelic and the stick used in the game of hurling is called a Caman in Irish Gaelic, which shows just how much in common these games still have despite their geographical separation.  Many of the rules and features within these games would be similar, although many people unfamiliar with the codes would liken them to field hockey, or even ice hockey.  Shinty and hurling are considered to be the forebear of Ice Hockey, as a result of Gaelic immigrants travelling to Nova Scotia where the first recorded game was played in 1800. 

The 2011 Dalriada Shinty/Hurling competition was hosted by the Shane Ui Neills Gaelic Athletic Club at their grounds, Pairc Fearsaith in Feystown on Saturday 18th June 2011.    The similarities of the game of hurling and shinty were on display over the two days, with games between Shane O’Neills and Oban Celtic from Argyll taking place.  There was also select Camogie teams playing games against an opposition from the hockey code, again demonstrating the similarities in skills between these two sports.   Various skill competitions between the two codes took place prior and during interludes in the games, these included a poc fada (longest hit), ground striking and overhead striking. 

Players at the time played in the intermediate leagues in their respective codes and it was anticipated that there would be a good blend of experience and youth on display in the fifteen man teams and the men from Shane O’Neill’s and Oban Celtic certainly didn’t disappoint.  Games consisted of two halves of thirty-five minutes each and the compromise rules were used, which are common to both sports.

Over the course of the weekend there was an array of sporting talent on display, with underage blitzes, seven a side games, camogie and hockey matches, hurling and shinty games, minor and senior hurling league games taking place over the two day event. 

Special guests on the day was Broadcaster Micheal O Muircheartaigh’s, the renowned GAA commentator who addressed the crowd in a specially erected marquee, Maeve Kyle the former Olympic runner and Kathleen O’Hara representing camogie, and tea and food was served to all at an event that proved to be an outstanding success.

This was the programme for both days:

Programme for Pairc Fearsaithe, Feystown Glenarm.

Saturday 18th June 2011

1pm – Camogie Select Vs Hockey Select

2.30pm – Poc fada & Skills competition

3pm – Under age blitz competition

3.30pm – Senior Shinty/Hurling  – Shane O’Neills Vs Oban Celtic

5pm – Minor Hurling – Shane O’Neills Vs Latharna Og

Parking available and admission is free

Sunday 19th June

3pm – Shane O’Neills  Vs  McQuillans

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