First played for in 1879, the Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup is the oldest of its kind in shinty and the premier knock-out competition for clubs in the south of Scotland.
Tournament organisers approached Scottish Sea Farms about becoming event sponsor back in 2018, securing a three-year support package. However, with Covid restrictions causing the postponement of the 2020 Cup Final, that funding only came to an end in 2021.
The new deal will see Scottish Sea Farms contribute £3,300 annually towards the cost of staging the event for a further three years, starting with this year’s Cup Final on Saturday 25 June between Glasgow Mid Argyll – the team’s first Challenge Cup Final in 35 years – and current holders Kyles Athletic.
The company will also offer up a free leather shinty ball to the first 250 spectators through the gates, along with goodie bags and raffle prizes for those attending the pre-match lunch.
Scottish Sea Farms Managing Director Jim Gallagher said: ‘The game of shinty is woven into the very fabric of the communities in which we work and live, with the Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup being the pinnacle of its sporting calendar. Committing to a further three years of support is our way of helping ensure that both the much-enjoyed Cup Final and the wider game itself continue to thrive for generations to come.’
Recent years have seen the Cup Final staged outside of Glasgow, most recently at Taynuilt Sports Field in Argyll. However, with a new centre for traditional field sports planned for Peterson Park, the 2022 Cup Final will once again return to the city.
This follows work by Glasgow Mid Argyll, Glasgow Gaels GAA and a local football club, in partnership with Glasgow Life which runs Glasgow’s culture and leisure services, to plan and secure the long-term future of Peterson Park as a centre for traditional field sports after Covid-related budgetary cuts forced the closure of the facility in April 2021.
Organisers expect the return to Glasgow will result in a significant uplift in the profile of what will be the 117th Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup Final.
Angus MacInnes, Vice President of the Glasgow Celtic Society and President of Glasgow Mid Argyll, said: ‘Securing the Final’s return to Glasgow is hugely significant in terms of raising the profile of shinty throughout the city itself, while live coverage of the event via BBC ALBA and, for the first time, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal will ensure that shinty fans the world over can follow the action minute-by-minute.’
Photo courtesy of John Fullerton Photography