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Freelance Article
By Stuart Fraser
Thursday 4th June 2009

A REMOTE Shinty club has been heavily hit by Swine Flu raising fears over the spread of the virus amongst those involved with the sport.

Several players who play for Kyles Athletic, from Tighnabruaich in Argyll, are currently being monitored whilst one has already been confirmed with the virus.

The unnamed player is believed to have caught it in a Dunoon pub where he was in the company of some Rangers fans who had returned on a bus from the league-winning match against Dundee United on 24 May.

The Scottish Government revealed on Monday that 13 fans who travelled on the bus had fallen ill with Swine Flu and it now appears that the virus has been passed on to others in the Dunoon area.

Five other Kyles Athletic players have been put into quarantine whilst another four are still waiting to hear the outcome of tests.

Kyles Athletic play in Shinty’s Premier Division and they also field a reserve side in South Division Two.  Both teams were in action last weekend with the first team away to Glenurquhart and the reserves at home to Kingussie which has raised concerns that the virus may now have spread even further afield.

Steps are now being taken by Shinty’s governing body, the Camanachd Association, in an attempt to control the spread of the virus amongst the Shinty community with the announcement that this Saturday’s Camanachd Cup quarter-final between Oban Camanachd and Kyles Athletic has been postponed.

Astie Cameron, Operations Manager for the Camanachd Association said: “The Camanachd Association are concerned with the outbreak of Swine Flu and will continue to monitor the situation and will continue discussions with the clubs concerned regarding the possibility of other games being cancelled.”

This step has been backed by a local councillor who believes that this, combined with Argyll & Bute council’s efforts, will help safeguard the public from the virus.

Councillor Roddy McCuish of Argyll & Bute Council said: “I can fully understand the Camanachd Association’s move in cancelling the match on this occasion.

“I am also confident that the steps taken by Argyll & Bute council in partnership with NHS Highland and the Scottish Government will help minimise the risk to the public.”