Plans for a return to youth shinty

2019 Mowi London Shield winners Skye Camanachd U17sfollowing the final against Newtonmore at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.

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The Camanachd Association has stepped up preparations for a return to youth shinty following last Tuesday’s announcement from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

On the basis of the road map out of the coronavirus pandemic set out by the First Minister the start of shinty for youths will take place if the area returns to Level 3 in the tiered system on April 26.

With the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine well under way and the most vulnerable
people accessing the vaccine, the Camanachd Association is excited by the prospect of 2021 and is looking forward to working with members, clubs, partners and sponsors to deliver the best year possible.

Willie MacDonald, Camanachd Association Youth Director said: ‘Re-starting our sport is our number one priority and we are encouraged by the likelihood of a return to training, then competition, from as early as April 26.

‘The Camanachd Association Development Team has been in constant contact with our clubs since the turn of the year and this ongoing consultation has been used to inform the proposals laid out below. Starting youth training will be the first step.’

The Camanachd Association Covid Working Group met last week to explore the next steps to restarting shinty which will include further discussion on efforts to engage the wider community. Dates will also be finalised for National Club Covid Co-ordinator training as well as Regional Covid Readiness training for club coaches in advance of a return to a tiered system.

Derek Keir, Camanachd Association chief executive officer, added: ‘Restarting shinty is a hugely exciting prospect but it is also a vital outlet to reconnect our communities and provide a safe place for adults, older people and young people to play and bring the community together to have fun and be active.

‘We have developed club guidance throughout every step of the pandemic and will continue to provide support to ensure all clubs and communities can protect opportunities to learn and participate in shinty.’

Preliminary plans for youth competitions include:

• First phase local Mowi Leagues of four teams giving six league fixtures for
each team at U14 level.
• Second phase of Mowi leagues with new groups determined by ranking
in first phase. North/South split remains.
• Local Mowi leagues for U17 level, plus Mowi London Shield and WJ
Cameron Cup.
• Regional competitions, including the Cottages.com MacTavish U17 Cup
and MacQuisten U17 Cup may be moved to a later stage in the season.
• National cup competitions will be regionalised in the early rounds to
reduce long distance travelling. This will include the MacMaster U14
Cup and U14 Development Cup.
• Tulloch Cup – North and South based festivals.
• MacKay Cup – early rounds to be regionalised.