Alba (shinty team)
|Alba 30–7 CLG Micheal Breathnach , 14 February 2010 |
|Alba 12–18 CLG Micheal Breathnach ,|
Alba is a shinty team selected to represent Scotland and Scots Gaelic which plays annually in a composite rules international series with Míchael Breathnach CLG who represent the Irish Language. The prerequisite for playing in this team is that a player can speak Scots Gaelic.
Gaelic was the traditional language of shinty, hence its Gaelic names camanachd and iomain. Many of the rules of the game were originally written in Gaelic but due to the decline of the Gaelic language, there are now few areas where Gaelic and shinty are both strong outwith the Isle of Skye. However, the recent resurgence of the language in urban areas as well as the re-establishment of shinty in areas such as Ardnamurchan and the Western Isles has seen a broadening of the availability of Gaelic speaking players.
The first fixture was played as part of the Feill Chaluim Chille festival in Mull and Oban in 2007. It is now played on a regular basis as part of Iomain Cholmcille which receives support from Colmcille. The aim of the festival is to encourage the use of Gaelic and Irish in a sporting context.
The October 2010 was a close affair in Galway which the Irish won 15–13. The next Iomain Cholmcille series was held Easter 2012 in Skye. In this tournament, two new teams competed alongside Alba and na Breathnaigh - Skye Camanachd Gaelic Speakers (Na Sgitheanaich) and Fir Uladh, representing the province of Ulster. This tournament had a unique twist with a shinty semi-final and a hurling semi-final (which was also the first recorded hurling fixture in the Highlands of Scotland). This format resulted in the Skye team progressing to the final and defeating Micheal Breathnach. Alba for their part, ensured third place with a defeat of Fir Uladh in the 3/4 play-off.
Alba were Scotland's sole representatives at Iomain Cholmcille 6 in Connemara on 12 October 2013. They lost heavily to Micheal Breathnach.
In 2014, in Glasgow, Alba lost 14–6 to Fir Uladh on a wet November day. They won their first ever Iomain Cholmcille on Irish Soil in 2015 when they defeated Fir Uladh by two points in Gaoth Dobhair.
In 2016, Micheal Breathnach were the opponents in Galway, but as the match was played in the middle of the shinty season, the Alba side was a young and inexperienced, but acquitted themselves well and were unfortunate to lose 16-4.