Another successful shinty season draws to an end
THE FINAL fixtures in a busy 2016 senior shinty calendar took place last weekend.
However, there is plenty going on behind the scenes as clubs begin their preparations for the year ahead.
Marine Harvest North Division 2
Lochaber 5 Kilmallie 0 Braces from brothers Danny Delaney and Ben Delaney and an Ian Fyfe goal gave the Lochaber seconds a 5- 0 win over the Kilmallie second team in their 1.30pm throw-up at Spean Bridge.
Kilmallie had been handed walk- overs in their last two matches and both teams were keen for this derby to go ahead.
Lochaber went in front courtesy of a neat goal. Danny Delaney played a one-two with Ben Delaney before finishing with a low, hard drive into the bottom corner of the net.
The home side doubled their advantage when Ben Delaney played a clever ball to Stuart Matheson and he slipped the ball to Danny Delaney who crashed a shot into the top corner of the net on his back-hand.
Ben Delaney got in on the act to make it 3- 0. Having gathered the ball with his back to goal, some clever movement from Delaney saw him get away from the clutches of Kilmallie fullback Craig MacIsaac and rifle the ball home from around the penalty spot.
Ben Delaney’s second and Lochaber’s fourth goal of the game came following a well-rehearsed set-piece. Danny Delaney rolled a free hit to his older brother who smashed the ball home to make it 4- 0.
Lochaber’s Iain Fyfe had moved forward from wing back and when a long ball into the danger area came off a defender’s stick and landed to Fyfe around 10 ten yards from the ‘D’, he showed great composure and passed the ball into the net for Lochaber’s fifth goal of the game.
Kirsty Delaney was unlucky not to add her name to the Spean Bridge side’s scoresheet after getting herself into some great positions, with one of her strikes coming back off the post.
Lochaber’s Mairi Duncan showed why she was picked for Stuart Reid’s Scotland women’s squad for the 2016 shinty/ camogie international against Dublin by having an outstanding game at wing centre.
Referee Iain Kennedy’s final whistle not only brought an end to the match, but also brought the curtain down on the 2016 senior shinty season.
The result means Lochaber climb above Glengarry to finish the season in fourth spot in the division.
Fort William U14 2 Skye Camanachd U14 2 Skye Camanachd U14 clinched the Marine Harvest North Division 1 title after they drew 2-2 with Fort William U14 at An Aird on Saturday November 12.
The Skye youngsters went into the game two points clear of their Fort William opponents so they knew that at least a draw would be enough to retain the title.
The teams had agreed that should Fort William be ahead at the end of the regulation 70 minutes, the title would be decided on completion of extra time which would start goalless. There would be penalties if the teams were still level after extra time.
Skye head coach Willie MacDonald was without key defender James Morrison. The ever- consistent full back sustained a hairline fracture to his hand in the previous week’s Marine Harvest London Shield Final defeat to Oban Camanachd U17. The ensuing reshuffle saw Jamie Gillies going to full back, Ross Gordon to centre and Dan MacDonald to buckshee forward. Niall MacPhee was given a start at full forward.
Fort William head coach Victor Smith started 2016 Marine Harvest U14 Player of the Year Lachie Shaw at buckshee back.
Skye thought they had taken the lead midway through the first half.
Ross Gordon sent a dangerous ball from just inside the Fort William half in on top of the home goal. The ball was missed by everyone and Skye claimed the ball had crossed the goal line, however referee John Wood waved away their claims.
There was no doubting the opening goal on 25 minutes though. The industrious Mark MacQueen gathered the ball 20 yards from goal and hit a thunderous shot from left of centre which saw the ball flying into the top corner of the net.
With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Skye suffered a blow when captain Christina MacDonald was forced off with a back injury.
Mark MacQueen went to buckshee back to replace MacDonald and Archie MacDonald came off the bench to slot in at left wing centre.
Play flowed from end-to- end in what was now a highly competitive encounter.
Skye finished the half strongly but couldn’t add to their score thanks, in the main, to stout Fort William defending.
There was a complete turnaround at the re-start though. Whatever Fort William coach Victor Smith said to his troops struck a chord and they went on to have good spells of play during the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Fort William wing forward Paul Paterson and Skye wing back Gilleasbuig MacVicar were having an enthralling battle with the defender putting his body in the way of everything Paterson could throw at him.
The second half was just five minutes old when Fort William drew level. Victor Smith had had a quiet first half by his standards against Skye’s Jamie Gillies. But Smith made half a yard of space before hitting a low, hard 12-yard shot on the turn into the goal to make it 1-1.
Skye went back on the attack, pressurising the Fort backs and they regained the lead from the penalty spot on 55 minutes.
With Skye’s Abby MacLean involved in a melee on the goal line, referee John Wood penalised some dangerous play and Ross Gordon made no mistake with the resultant spot-hit, driving the ball high into roof of the net to make it 2-1.
Fort William responded and almost levelled for a second time with first Victor Smith going close and then Paul Paterson rattling the crossbar.
The effort from both sets of players was a credit to their clubs and it was Skye’s turn to go close when Dan MacDonald waltzed through the Fort defence on the left, but he sent his shot wide of target.
Abby MacLean then passed up a chance, sending a shot from the right wide of the post.
There was no doubt both teams wanted to win the game and, in the final minute of the match, Victor Smith squeezed the ball past Skye keeper Murphy Henderson from close range to make it 2-2 with his second goal of the game.
There was to be no denying Skye, for whom Jamie Gillies and Dan MacDonald were excellent, and their celebrations began when referee John Wood took the throw up and immediately blew the final whistle to end a match which was high in entertainment and commitment with plenty skill to boot.
The win completes the double for Skye who add the Marine Harvest North Division 1 title to the MacMaster Cup which they lifted on Camanachd Cup Final day.
After the match, with Camanachd Association Regional Development Manager (East) on hand, Skye captain Christina MacDonald was presented with the Marine Harvest North Division 1 trophy.
Lochaber U14s win Ballachulish Sixes
Lochaber U14s won a well-attended sixes tournament to take the Seedie Lawrie Cup at Jubilee Park, Ballachulish, on Saturday November 12.
As well as host team Ballachulish, Aberdour, Ardnamurchan, Inveraray, Kilmallie, Lochaber and Oban Lorn were present.
Lochaber were undefeated throughout the day and a Max Campbell goal gave them a 1- 0 win in the final.
Marine Harvest North Division 2 - play- off Glengarry 0 Lovat 6 Lovat won the Marine Harvest North Division 2 title when they beat Glengarry 6- 0 in their play- off match at the Bught Park, Inverness, on Sunday November 13.
The play off was necessary after both sides finished their respective league campaigns level on points at the top of the table.
The victory means Lovat add the Marine Harvest North Division 2 title to the Marine Harvest Challenge Cup won earlier in the season.
Match report to follow in next week’s Oban Times.
Honours even in shinty/hurling/ camogie clashes
The Scotland and Queens University squads notched a win apiece in their shinty/ hurling/camogie encounters last weekend. Queens University (0-7) 7 Scotland Universities (6-10) 28 The Scottish University men’s squad recorded a 28-7 win in their shinty/ hurling meeting with their Queens University counterparts at the Dub in Belfast on Saturday November 12.
Glasgow Mid Argyll’s Craig Anderson has played in a number of these fixtures and was the Scots’ top scorer in this 3pm throw up.
His impressive 14 point haul - half of Scotland’s total - came courtesy of two goals, three dead ball two-pointers and a couple of in-play single points.
Tayforth’s Hamish Anderson also found the back of the net as did Skye’s Will Cowie who bagged a goal and a point whilst his club team mate James Pringle also scored a goal.
Beauly’s Sandy Elrick notched the other Scotland goal whilst a point from GMA’s Jack Berg completed the visitors’ tally.
Queens benefited from five single points and a two-pointer. Queens University 10 Scotland Universities 6 The Scottish University ladies squad put up a good fight before going down 10- 6 in their shinty/camogie meeting with their Queens University counterparts in Belfast on Saturday November 12.
Aberdour keeper Taryn Neilson was given the nod to start in goal in this 1pm throw-up, whilst Skye’s Sarah-Jane Ferguson took over between the posts at half time.
The Scotland points came from a goal from Badenoch and Strathspey’s Rhona MacIntyre and a goal from Glasgow Mid Argyll’s Rachel McCafferty - the latter a 45-yard hit.
Queens University racked up enough points to give them the spoils though.
Badenoch’s Megan Ralph was named player of the match.
Lochaber annual general meeting
The date for Lochaber Camanachd Club’s annual general meeting has been changed.
The Spean Bridge club’s AGM will now take place on Friday November 18 at the Bridge Cafe, Spean Bridge. The meeting starts at 7.30pm.
In a busy weekend, the club’s annual dinner dance takes place at the West End Hotel, Fort William, the following night.
Lochcarron mark successful season
Strathdearn Cup winners Lochcarron marked a successful season at an awards evening in the Lochcarron Hotel on Saturday October 29.
As well as collecting the Strathdearn Cup this season, Lochcarron also finished runners up to Aberdeen University in Marine Harvest North Division 2.
Unsurprisingly, Scotland U21 cap Nick Dalgety was to the fore when the prizes were being handed out.
The club’s top scorer collected both the Players’ Player of Year and Manager’s Player of the Year accolades.
Liam Arnott picked up the Young Player of the Year and U17 Player of the Year prizes.
Calum Dean Morrice was given the Endeavour and Commitment Award and Most Improved Player, whilst Jan Picking was acknowledged as Volunteer of the Year.
There was also a special 20 Year Service Award for Bob Munro who was presented with a trophy produced by Alan MacPherson of Tanera Camans.
Annual general meeting
The 2016 Camanachd Association annual general meeting takes place at the West End Hotel, Fort William, on Friday November 25.
This will be a final annual meeting for current chief operating officer Torquil Macleod who is leaving the organisation to take up a role with VisitScotland.
The AGM starts at 7.30pm.
Womens annual general meeting
The Womens Camanachd Association annual meeting takes place at The Isles of Glencoe Hotel on Saturday November 26, starting at noon.
Skye Under-14s pictured with the North Division One league trophy after the 2-2 draw with Fort William at An Aird last Saturday. Photo: Alba Photos