UHI Cup Finals Day 2023

This is the third time the UHI Cup Event has been played since 2019 and was set up as a result of a partnership which has been formed between the CA and the University of the Highlands and Islands Sports Department. Since 2019 it has grown in popularity with 16 teams (160 primary aged players) involved in each event this year.

All current HNC sports students have been taken through their foundation coaching course, delivered to them by their local CA Development Officer and to follow in from this and allow the students to gain more knowledge about the game of shinty and see the game in action they then attended UHI Cup events over two days.

16 teams of primary school aged players from across the North of Scotland have now come together twice, once for a provisional round robin which decided which squads would go on to compete for the UHI Cup on finals day and which would play for the UHI Salver. Each team was allocated a newly qualified UHI coach, their role was to get to know the players, take the group for warm ups and cool downs and importantly work with and be mentored by the existing club/school coach or teacher.

All 16 teams came together yesterday for the finals day, and what a fantastic day of shinty it was. The sun was out and teams arrived in plenty time to warm up and get started on time. Clubs were split into two groups of 8 and each played a round robin of games in their respective pool before the top two teams in each met for a final.

In the Cup competition things were very close and competitive with Alvie, Lovat and GlenUrquhart all closely matched at the top of the table. Lovat were the first team to secure a spot in the final finishing the group 19 points with 2 draws and 5 wins. Alvie and GlenUrquhart both finished on 18 points, just behind Lovat so a play off had to take place to determine who was to be joining the Kiltarlity side in the final. A nail biting play off resulted in a draw at full time meaning penalties were used to decide the second finalist.  Alvie won through the penalties and claimed their place in the final.

In the Salver competition games were all won and lost on very close margins, Glengarry and GlenUrquhart both never lost a game, drawing 1-1 against each other in the group and ending up on 19 and 20 points respectively. With such a close game in the group stages it was only going to be the same in the final.

Both finals were closely contested affairs with the players showing fantastic effort and resilience after already having played 7 games (8 for Alvie) on a hot day to put in skilful performances. In the Cup event, it was 1-1 right until the last few seconds when a screamer of a goal by the Lovat Captain Dougal Strang found its way past the Alvie keeper and into the back of the net giving Lovat the 2-1 win and the UHI Cup for 2023. In the Salver competition it was also deadlocked at 0-0 for a long period of time and wasn’t until the final minute that Glengarry’s Brooke found a break in the play and managed to slot the ball past the GlenUrquhart keeper to put them 1-0 up and give them the victory.

It was great to welcome Iain Morrison (UHI Dean of Students) to the event and fantastic that he was able to conduct the presentations for 2023.

A huge thank you goes to Graham MacGregor LTD  Joinery  Contractor, who kindly agreed to sponsor this event each year,  his support and sponsorship is massively appreciated.

Additionally our thanks go to the UHI Students and Sports Department (Jenna Gray), Iain Cochrane for taking photos,  to Jim Barr, Graham Cormack, Jamie Buchan, Ally White, Dario Marshall and Archie Laird for officiating the games over the course of the two days and to Tina Marshall for mentoring the new young referees. To Cody Tinney, Rowan Brockie and Craig Dingwall for being the score runners. To Maria MacLeod and Laura MacKay for running the tea stall on both days,. And lastly to all the players, clubs and teachers for entering the event and making both days ones to remember.