Clubs eye shinty return
Excitement and apprehension as league restart nears
The Covid readiness documentation has been completed, training is beginning and Mid Argyll shinty clubs are preparing for the return of matches.
The Camanachd Association plans an abbreviated local league system, starting on June 5, comprising six teams from close geographical areas to ensure the sport is as safe as possible while remaining competitive.
Kilmory Camanachd Club bought itself a new mower for Macrae Park during lockdown, thanks to a £7,000 donation from the Co-op Community Fund, which will also go towards buying helmets for the youth section.
Kilmory chairman Angus Gilmour is looking forward to getting the players back on the pristine pitch.
Non-contact and fitness training have started and, in line with government guidance, Kilmory’s full contact training will begin on April 29.
Thursday night is shinty night in Lochgilphead, with the club holding primary school age coaching from 6pm to 7pm and combined men’s and women’s training from 7pm to 8.30pm. Travelling to away matches under Covid rules do, however, give cause for concern.
‘We can’t use a minibus as things stand and will have to use individual cars for a 17-strong squad,’ said Angus. ‘With seven players under 17 years of age in the squad, we will have to rely on the support of parents.’
Kilmory has been placed in the Mowi South A regional league alongside Bute, Lochside, Taynuilt, Ballachulish and Inveraray second team. ‘There is tough competition in the league,’ said Angus, ‘so with the number of young players we have it will be a case of getting the best team we can on the pitch every week, learning against good opposition and building for the future.’
Inveraray’s first team will compete in Mowi Senior League C with Aberdour, Glasgow Mid Argyll, Kyles Athletic, Oban Camanachd and Oban Celtic.
Inveraray players were non-contact training twice a week as soon as the rules allowed and club chairman Andrew McMurdo is pleased with their attitude.
‘I didn’t know what to expect, but the boys have been great and conscientious about the way they go about it.
‘And socially it’s been good for them,’ he said.
‘Both first and second teams are in challenging leagues, but it’s a good challenge. And with no relegation, we can experiment a bit and plan for next season.
‘Like every other aspect of life, shinty has had to be flexible and adapt to the pandemic, so hats off to the Camanachd Association for having the plans in place and implementing them so quickly.’
New volunteers at Kilmory and Inveraray shinty clubs would also be welcome, particularly with the additional burden of meeting Covid requirements.
Andrew said: ‘No matter how big or small the task, more hands lighten the load, so we would appreciate the help of new volunteers.’
‘With seven players under 17 years of age in the squad we will have to rely on the support of parents.’