Cammag


Cammag

The game of cammag is a Manx team sport. It is similar to the Irish hurling and its related Scottish Gaelic game of shinty. It used to be the most widespread sport on the Isle of Man, but it ceased to be played around 1900 after the introduction of football, until very recently when it has been somewhat revived.

It involves a stick (cammag) and a ball (crick) with anything between four and hundreds of players. Sometimes whole towns and villages took part, or even played each other. The "cammag" can be any stick with a bent end, and like the modern Irish camán is derived from the Gaelic root word "cam", meaning bent. The "crick" can be made from cork or wood. A gorse wood cammag, if of suitable size and shape, was a very much treasured possession. [ [http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/mannin/v8p486.htm Mannin vol 8 pp486/488 Folk Lore Notes 1916 ] ] Old accounts tell us that it was sometimes covered in cloth or leather to make it less painful to hit.

Cammag season started on Hunt the Wren Day (26 December) and was only played by men (of all ages) during the winter. Corris's Close (now Athol Street) was the chief playing-ground in the town of Peel.

In modern times, an annual match of cammag is played in St. John's.

Recent matches

The 2005 St. John's match resulted in a 4-2 win for the North, despite being heavily outnumbered by a Southern side that included Peel for the second time. The North managed to control the game by holding the ball in the centre pack (where a relatively small number of players have access to the ball), and playing a solid defensive game. Scorers for the North were David Fisher (2), Ean Radcliffe and Roy Kennaugh.

The 2006 St. John's match resulted in a 4-4 draw, the outnumbered North coming back from a 4-2 deficit at the end of the second period to draw the match level. Referee John Kaneen decided that the South should hold the cup until the 2007 match.

Numbers again proved the key in the 2007 match, the North being outnumbered 2 to 1, leading to a 5-1 loss in the face of overwhelming odds.

References


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