ABERDOUR SHINTY CLUB
Who We Are
Aberdour Shinty Club is a shinty club which plays in Aberdour, Fife, Scotland. It is the only senior Shinty Club in Fife and was founded in 2001. The club currently has primary school age teams along with U14 and U17 teams. There are two men’s teams who compete in South Division 1 and South Division 2 along with various cup competitions. There are also two women’s teams; one competing in the top tier of women’s shinty and the other in the Central Development League. All teams train all year round. There is also a strong social aspect within the club and any new members will be made to feel very welcome.
The Club train and play their home games at Silversands Park in Aberdour. The pitch is just up from Silversands Beach and affords breathtaking views over the river forth and surrounding woodland.
Shinty in Fife
Although shinty has an historical presence in Fife, it has not tended to be a hotbed of the game in recent times. Jamieson records that the old name of shinty in Fife was “carrick”, and that it was “still used in the eastern part of that county” in 1825.
However, the sport was played in Glenrothes in the 1970s and early 1980s, in Dunfermline in the early 1990s and St. Andrews University has had a team made up of students since the late 1960s. However, Aberdour is the first club to take a longer term view of the sport in the Kingdom and have developed a strong junior setup to support the development of the senior team.
Founding of Aberdour Shinty Club
Aberdour Shinty Club (ASC) was established in 2001 as a junior side by local Sports Science student Lisa MacColl as part of a project at University. From there it blossomed and within a few years the club had successful teams playing at all levels from Under 10 to Under 17. The rapid rise of shinty in Aberdour did not slow down and very quickly the club would be entering teams into senior competitions.
Introducing a new sport like shinty to an area where it is not played is an almighty challenge and one that is usually doomed to failure. The existence of Aberdour Shinty Club is almost entirely down to the hard work and vision of Lisa MacColl. This club is also a prime example of shinty’s potential for expansion in the south of Scotland.
2005 saw ASC’s first entry into senior competition, playing in the Bullough Cup. In 2006 the decision was taken to make the step up to full-time competition, entering the senior leagues for the first time. This proved to be a huge challenge for a club with such a young squad.
Aberdour finished bottom of South Division Two in its first season in 2006. The club recorded its first win in senior shinty with a 5–3 away win against Edinburgh East Lothian on 28 April 2007 but the club again finished bottom in its sophomore season. In June 2007, Aberdour’s Under 17 team were runners up in the MacQuiston Cup, a prestigious U17 tournament.
2008 saw Aberdour begin to mature as a side and they recorded victories against Glasgow Mid Argyll and London Camanachd as well as having significantly improved performances against other teams in the league. The club finished the league second bottom but within three points of third place.
The club won its first national trophies in 2008 at youth level, winning the under-14 development trophy 5–1 against Strathglass on 13 September 2008 in Fort William and the National U-12 Sixes in Drumnadrochit on 29 November 2008.
In 2009, the club reached its first senior semi-final, in the Bullough Cup, where they lost 4–2 to South Division One Champions, Lochside Rovers.
The club’s achievements since establishment have been rewarded with recognition of the most talented young players in the international set-up as well as various awards from local organisations.
Advent of Women’s Team and Men’s Second Team
Aberdour Women’s team underwent an early merger with Forth Camanachd. This resulted in the club expanding to two teams, with seasoned internationalists coming into the Aberdour set-up. The strengthened Aberdour first team reached the final of the Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup in 2011. They went one better the following year, beating Glengarry to lift the prestigious trophy.
In 2011, the club entered a second men’s team in to South Division 2 with an agreement from the Camanachd Association (CA) to allow the first team to move up into South Division 1. The club had an ignoble double of finishing bottom of both leagues it played in during the 2011 season. The first team were again allowed to continue in South Division 1 as a result of Lochside Rovers first team Oban Camanachd being relegated.
The club also competed in the Camanachd Cup for the first time. After a venue change from Cannich, the ‘Dour succumbed 5–0 to their more experienced opponents but attracted a record crowd of 150 to Silversands.
The club is now technically, in terms of teams entered into competition, the largest club in shinty. The club held a gala day to celebrate 10 years of shinty in the village in 2011. The club reached the Bullough Cup Final in 2011 but lost to Lochside Rovers 5–0 at Silversands. The final was hosted by Aberdour with the Oban side’s agreement after the original venue in Rothesay, Bute was considered unplayable.
Recent Seasons (2014–present)
A now established club, Aberdour attract players with experience from other clubs who have settled in Edinburgh and Fife while also bringing through players from its successful youth setup. Aberdour’s first team have begun to make progress in league and cup competitions. They won their first piece of silverware when they won the now defunct South of Scotland plate in 2014. Since then the team has pushed its way up South Division 1 with an eye on testing themselves in the National Division in the near future.
The Women’s team compete in the top tier of the game and now also run a development team which competes in the Central Development League.
Aberdour also won the Fingal Memorial Shield at the St. Andrew’s Sixes in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and the Rosedearn Shield at the Inverness sixes in 2016.
The club also continues to place an emphasis on youth development and getting children into shinty. Along with the various youth teams, the club also run taster sessions and shinty camps.