Men’s League Structure
The Camanachd Association (CA) regularly change the league structure in order to best serve the interests of all players. As a consequence of this, the structure of the leagues has become a little convoluted.
The Premiership is the top tier of men’s shinty. Here is where you will see heavyweights of the game such as Newtonmore, Kingussie and Kyles Athletic go to battle. The two teams who finish bottom of the Premiership will be relegated to the National Division.
The National Division is the league below the Premiership. The two teams who finish top will be promoted to the Premiership. Relegation from the National is where things get confusing, see paragraph below.
Below National Division, the leagues split into regions called North and South. The North is defined as any club lying north of a line drawn from Stonehaven to Onich. Each region has a Divison 1 and a Division 2. The team who wins Divison 2 will be promoted to Division 1 and the team who finishes bottom of Divison 1 will be relegated to Divison 2.
Promotion to National
Each year one team may be promoted from either North Division 1 or South Division 1 to National Division. If a team is promoted to National Division then the team who finish bottom of National Division will be relegated to their regions Division 1. There are various criteria which must be met if a promotion to National Division is to take place.
Most of these criteria are related to the existence of reserve teams. Due to their large player pool, a lot of clubs will enter a second team. These second teams are called reserve teams. Under no circumstances can a reserve team be promoted in to National Division. Further, a reserve team will never be permitted to compete in the same league as their first team.
There are three situations which can now arise.
- Two eligible teams (i.e. non reserve teams) win North Division 1 and South Division 1 respectively. In this case, the two teams will compete in a play-off at a neutral venue to decide who gains promotion.
- Only one eligible team wins either North Division 1 or South Division 1. In this case, this team will automatically gain promotion.
- No eligible team wins either North Division 1 or South Division 1. In this case, the two highest finishing eligible teams from North Division 1 and South Division 1 will be invited for promotion to National Division. If both accept then there will be a play off to decide who gains promotion. If one team agrees then that team will gain promotion. If both clubs decline then there will be no promotion to National Division.
In the case that no team is promoted to National Division, there will be also no relegation from National Division that year.
Men’s Cup Competitions
Along with the leagues, there are a number of cup competitions which teams may compete in. The most prestigious is the Camanachd Cup. This is the most sought after trophy in shinty, held in even higher regard than the Premiership. There are various other competitions, most of which have some entry criterion to improve teams’ chances of winning a trophy.
Eligible teams – 1st teams competing in the Premiership, National Division, North Division 1, North Division 2, South Division 1 and South Division 2.
Eligible teams – 1st teams competing in National Division 1, North Division 1 and South Division 1.
Sir William Sutherland Cup
Eligible teams – All teams competing in North Division 2 and South Division 2 along with reserve teams competing in North Division 1 and South Division 1.
Eligible teams – Top 8 teams from the North and top 8 teams from the South.
Glasgow Celtic Society Cup
Eligible teams – All 1st teams from the South competing in the Premiership, National Division and South Division 1.
Eligible teams – All 1st teams from the North competing in the Premiership, National Division and North Division 1.
Eligible teams – All reserve/reserve standard teams competing in South Division 2 along with reserve teams competing in South Division 1. Teams not competing in any league may be considered for entry.
Eligible teams – All reserve/reserve standard teams competing in North Divison 2 along with reserve teams competing in North Division 1. Teams not competing in any league may be considered for entry.
Women’s League Structure and Cup Competitions
The women’s game has a similar league structure to the men’s with some extra development leagues. These development leagues are designed to help sustain new women’s clubs and those with a smaller player base. Details can be found on the Camanachd Association website about leagues and cup competitions.