Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Shinty versus hurling event held


Preview - shinty-hurling international

An annual game held between players of Scottish shinty and Irish hurling is to take place in Inverness as part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations.

A women's and under 21 fixtures will also feature before the international clash at Bught Park on Saturday.

Organisers hope the event will be one of the major markers of the year-long celebration of all things Scottish.

Played by Scottish emigrants on ice in Canada, shinty is believed to have had a role in the launch of ice hockey.

Hugh Dan MacLennan, who will be among the commentary team during the BBC's coverage of the international, said shinty could only envy the crowds drawn to hurling.

Long history

He said hurling clashes at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin enjoyed crowds of 82,000, while Saturday's game in Inverness would draw between 4,000 and 5,000.

Mr MacLennan told BBC Radio Scotland's Highland Cafe there was a long history of culture and politics embedded in hurling - including an incident at Croke Park in 1920 when British forces fired into the crowd during a Gaelic football match.

He added that the church in Ireland also played a role in looking after hurling clubs.

Mr MacLennan said: "I was at the all-Ireland Kilkenny versus Tipperary game when there was a crowd of 82,126. They took £4m at the gate alone - the scale is enormous.

"There are a hundred hurlers for every shinty player, which shows the achievement of actually beating them."

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