As we draw ever closer to the start of the season, from 17th May for youths & 6th June for seniors, we at the CA would like to celebrate the contribution of the often unsung hero, the shinty referee. The below profile is of Iain Kennedy one of our top officials.

Iain Kennedy, born and bred in Fort William, works for Corrie Construction which takes him all over Scotland and England – working with national grid, SSE and Scottish Water. His hobbies include golf – whenever he can get out – and of late cycling is taking a hold on him. 2 of his 3 boys play shinty at senior level and are strong players whereas his daughter plays some primary school shinty and is eager to return to action following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I love the fact it is taking a hold on them (his children) like it did to me. Angie my wife is also involved with the shinty side in terms of helping the boys and my daughter through juvenile shinty and being a great help in the Fort William Shinty Clubhouse along with the rest of the girls”

Shinty has been a big part of Iain’s life since primary school – after rising through the youth levels he went into senior shinty mostly second team for Fort William but before he left for Ireland, aged 30, he played a couple of seasons for the 1st team.

Upon returning after 10 years in Ireland, he hoped to get involved in shinty in some way or another so a conversation or 4 with Astie Cameron ended up pushing him towards being a shinty ref. At the time he never thought it would last but, he has gone on to become one of the most committed and respected officials in the game.

“I found the first 3-4 games I did as a ref quite challenging and I was thinking about giving up but thank god I stuck with it and as I now thoroughly enjoy reffing and have worked my way up to a Grade 1 Official.”

Iain has been lucky enough to referee a Sutherland Cup Final, a competition which he had previously won himself as a player with Fort William, a Ballimore Cup and the Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup at An Aird a few years ago. He has also been involved in the MOWI Scotland/Ireland International and Camanachd Cup Final matches over the years, officiating as a goal judge or running the line.

“So anyone thinking that being a shinty ref isn’t for them just start at the top and read again because I thought that as well, and now I get to travel all over Scotland refereeing across all divisions and I find it so rewarding putting something back into this great game.”

The Camanachd Assocaition is looking for new officials, if you are interested in taking the first steps into refereeing, please contact