Lewis finish home season with a flourish and bid farewell to “The Shinty Referee”

August 30th, 2022 No comments

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Saturday’s last home game of the season at Shawbost was a refereeing swansong for Henry MacInnes, who is retiring for shinty refereeing after a long career. Pictured here with his relations Willie and Finlay before the game, Henry is one of the many Hearachs of Portnalong, Skye and a well known face in the Gaelic and shinty worlds over the years. He lived and worked in Easter Ross before moving to Lewis.

Henry has refereed several matches since moving to the Isle of Lewis, and the club is thankful for him taking the time to ensure games can go ahead. Henry is of course famous as the inspiration behind Fergie Macdonald’s famous tune and song “The Shinty Referee”. He will be refereeing one final match at the Mòd Cup Aviemore Trophy match between Tayforth and Aberdour on Saturday 15th October. Henry has refereed this fixture several times in the past, including our legendary 2011 victory over Uist.

Henry’s first ever refereeing gig was a Division Four North game in 1979 between Lochcarron and Strathglass at Battery Park, which the Glasaich lost. Finishing off with a match involving the Cannich side was a good luck charm for the Dubh is Gorm, as it resulted in a record win in the league for the club at home. Strathglass played well, but Lewis put in one of the best performances of the season and the 5-0 margin matched that of a 6-1 away win at Inverness in 2019. Callum MacRitchie also equalled Duncan MacIntyre’s haul of 4 goals in a game against Uist in the 7-0 drubbing at HebCelt Cup 2013. His first was an awkward ball into the box that got lucky but the other three goals, as well as Paul Duke’s goal were goals of the finest quality and finishing. This result guaranteed the club will finish at least 5th in North Division Two, the club’s best finishing position ever in North Two, and the best result since 2014’s second place in North Division Three.

Thanks to all the teams who travelled over this season, hopefully we can get a full card next year. Next up is the final game of the season away to Aberdeen University on September 10th.

HebCelt Swings back for 15th Anniversary of Festival Shinty!

July 14th, 2022 No comments

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Hebridean Celtic Festival Shinty Challenge Cup

Lewis V Uist

Saturday 16th August

Bayhead Park, Stornoway, 2pm

Since 2007, the HebCelt Challenge Cup has been an unmissable highlight of Hebridean Celtic Festival Saturday; the camans swaying without warning, great athleticism, tremendous skill and never-say-die commitment. As with the festival itself, there has been a three year gap since 2019 due to COVID, but both Camanachd Leodhais and Uist Camanachd will be itching to get going on Saturday 16 July in the heart of Stornoway, at Bayhead Park, 2pm. Entry is by donation.

Lewis come off the back of three straight league wins in North Division Two and will look to retain the trophy after winning it back in 2019, however 2018 winners Uist, will hope that they can use their native talent, some of whom play for mainland clubs, as well as their usual sprinkling of mainland loan stars to take the trophy south for the fourth time.

The fixture is always a pulsating occasion that attracts a big crowd. Several have gone to penalties, whereas others have seen the from book totally ripped up or mighty goalfests. No matter what, when the islanders clash, it is a great day out for any festival goer before they head down to see the bands play later. What an appropriate way to mark 25 years of HebCelt with the 15th Anniversary of the first HebCelt Cup! Read more about the history of this fixture here.

Over the years, retiring HebCelt Director Caroline MacLennan has been a stalwart supporter of the fixture, buying the cup in 2007, presenting the cup in 2008 (pictured above) and always ensuring that both sets of players can enjoy hospitality in the big tent in the evening every year since. Both clubs, as well as those individuals who have helped organise this important fixture over the years would like to thank Caroline for giving shinty this valuable high-profile platform for so many years and wish her a happy retirement.

The Harrow Cup winning Lews Castle College team of 1959

June 7th, 2022 No comments

Harrow Cup Winners 1959

Whilst shinty has been revived as a part of the sporting landscape in Lewis since the mid 1990s, there were several decades after the decline of the sport after the First World War where the sport was little played. The Lews Castle College team of 1959 was a rare exception as they travelled to Strathpeffer to attend the Ross-shire Camanachd Association Sixes.

The Gazette article of June that year reporting this adventure commented “The Castle Boys had never had practice against other players because they are so few shinty enthusiasts in the Island.” However, all the players were either from Lochcarron or Lochalsh who were boarding in Stornoway and were well versed in the arts of the native game.

They started off their campaign in the Under 18 Harrow Cup against a team that they would have been quite familiar with when they knocked out Plockton in a nil-nil game decided by the number of corners the Castle had won.

They faced Dingwall “B” in the next round. Having settled down the Castle won 3 to 2 with a brace from Donald Beaton and another from Ian Matheson.

They then faced Dingwall “A” in the final, and according to the report were “undoubtedly the better team”. Donald Murchison and Alasdair DD MacRae were strong in defence and kept the Dingwall side at bay. The Castle team won the final convincingly 5-nil with Beaton scoring a hat-trick, joined on the scoresheet by Matheson and Ewen Michael.

The trophy was presented by Dr Thomson, Ross-shire Director of Education to MacRae, the Captain. The Harrow Cup was donated for the revival of shinty in Ross-shire after the Great War by David Harrow of Harrowdale, Strathpeffer in 1920. The team travelled back with the trophy to Lewis via Kyle of Lochalsh where the photo of the team was taken.

In the photo is front row Donald Murchison, Alasdair DD MacRae and Donald Beaton, the back row is Charlie Maclean, Ewen Michael and Ian Matheson.

Other than Charlie Maclean who has sadly passed away, all the team members are still living in various parts of the world, with Ian Matheson the nearest to home in Kyle. He and his friends were part of a unique tale in the secret history of shinty in the Western Isles.

 

Thanks to Kenny “Jeck” MacKenzie of Lochcarron for supplementary information and to Ian & Connie Matheson for the picture.

A version of this article previously appeared in the Stornoway Gazette 2nd June 2022.

Club unveil new Away Strip to mark 15 years of senior shinty

May 29th, 2022 No comments

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Camanachd Leòdhais has unveiled its first ever away kit to mark 15 years as a senior club.

The new strips are a tribute to the strips that were used by the club in the first ever senior match v Lochbroom in February 2007.

Those strips, borrowed from the Nicolson Institute, were Orange with black shorts, and so the strip echoes those colours whilst also bringing in blue highlights – the colours of long term sponsors Woody’s Express, who sponsored the very first iconic “Dubh is Gorm” strips, and have provided several sets of strips since returning as kit sponsor in 2014. Thank you to all at Woody’s Express, especially Peter Gomez for their continued support.

Four of the line-up played in the original Orange strips; Sean MacLeod, Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher, Duncan MacIntyre and Stuart “Tyson” Campbell, and indeed four of the players were not even born when the club was re-constituted in 2006!

Whilst the new kits did not see a maiden victory against Caberfeidh in the Sutherland Cup second round match,  the club gave a home debut to Paddy Wilson who has moved to the island and faced up against his old club. Welcome Paddy!

Cabers came away with a 3-0 win. Best wishes to them in the rest of the competition. It was good to get a home game after almost three years and also after all the recent travel difficulties. Next up is Lochaber at Shawbost.

First Minch Cup

First Minch Cup

Feet and Away Caberfeidh! – Sgoil Shiaboist Saturday 7th May

May 3rd, 2022 No comments
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Lewis face Caberfeidh at Castle Leod in 2014 – Caberfeidh would win this game 5-0 and be presented with the North Division Three Trophy – Photo Sheena Ritchie

 

Saturday 7th May sees the first home game of the 2022 season. Always a marker of the historical nature of playing shinty in Lewis since the first home game against Lochbroom in 2011, it will also be the first competitive home game for Camanachd Leòdhais since a 2-0 defeat to Strathspey in July 2019. Uniquely up until this point, it will not be a league game either, but a second round fixture in the HIS Sir William Sutherland Cup against Caberfeidh.

The Caberfeidh club have always been great friends of Camanachd Leòdhais as befitting the home of the Ross-shire Camanachd Association as well. A warm welcome has always been had at Castle Leod as well as bonds made from Cabers many trips over the Minch when in the same league.

It’s been a few years since the Dubh is Gorm faced off against Caberfeidh seconds but over the years there have been some cracking games between the sides so it’s worth looking back at the history of the fixture since 2011.

Lewis first played Caberfeidh at Castle Leod on April 16 2011 in a 4-0 defeat. Cabers very much enjoyed their first ever trip to the island part of old Ross-shire, taking a large travelling support as they overcame the debutants 6-1 with Andrew Murray Macdonald scoring the only island goal. This was a great bonding experience and Caberfeidh’s steadfast support was greatly appreciated when the Camanachd Association’s probationary period was reviewed.

2012 saw Will Church and Calum “Stompy” Stamper push Cabers all the way before the team went down to a 3-2 defeat in Strathpeffer, whilst Donald Lamont was both saint and sinner, scoring then being sent off at home in a 5-1 defeat at Shawbost.

2013 was a great season for Camanachd Leòdhais as they became accustomed to league play. None more striking in how well they played against Caberfeidh. Cabers were lucky to come away with the win as Will, Duncan MacIntyre and Michael MacLeod all score in a 4-3 thriller in Shawbost, but then Lewis got their first ever point in a 2-2 draw at Castle Leod thanks to a fine performance that saw Ally Lamont grab his first goal for the club in addition to Duncan’s 13th of the season.

In 2014 the sides faced off four times in the league due to the Strathspey-inspired split (ironically Strathspey are the only other team to have played a cup match in Lewis, a Strathdearn tie in the same season, but scratched both league matches including the one post-split) The post-split result which secured Lewis finishing second that year was a famous 3-0 victory against Cabers who only required a point that day to secure the title, Duke, Ally Lamont and Church all scoring. A famous day for the Dubh is Gorm.

A couple weeks later Lewis were the visitors but could do little to stop Cabers from crowning being presented with the North Division Three trophy (the last North Three Champions to date) at Castle Leod with a 5-0 win. The hosts were very happy to allow the visiting Leòdhasaich a taste of the whisky from inside though.

The next year Cabers were unexpectedly in the same league as Lewis again thanks to league reconstruction and an early summer season defeat in Lewis was forgotten a few weeks later when Cabers were beaten 1-0 on their home patch thanks to a Will Church opener and a robust rearguard action, as epitomised by this iconic shot of Innes Lamont.

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In 2016 a very disappointing season opener which saw a 9-0 collapse at Castle Leod was however matched with a well fought 2-2 draw at Shawbost thanks to Connor Chalmers and Kenny Murray.

2017 saw Kieran Macdonald score the only goal for Lewis in a 4-1 defeat at Cabers in addition to losing 3-0 at home after the initial fixture which was scheduled as the first home game of the season was postponed.

And in the most recent fixtures to date in season 2018, which saw Cabers win North Two this time, Lewis also bagged a fine 3-3 draw on the island  thanks to a Dukey hat-trick,  and at least grabbed a couple goals via Michael Macleod and Ally Lamont when they shipped 10 at Castle Leod.

Over the years, the club has also sent youth sides to the Ross-shire Camanachd Sixes at Castle Leod due to Lewis traditionally being part of Ross-shire and this has been an important opportunity for some much needed competitive youth shinty.

Camanachd Leòdhais V Caberfeidh Results since 2011

2011 Cabers 4 Lewis 0; Lewis 1 Cabers 6 (North Division Three)

2012 Cabers 3 Lewis 2; Lewis 1 Cabers 5 (North Division Three)

2013 Lewis 3 Cabers 4; Cabers 2 Lewis 2 (North Division Three)

2014 Cabers 2 Lewis 1; Lewis 1 Cabers 5; Lewis 3 Cabers 0; Cabers 5 Lewis 0 (North Division Three)

2015 Lewis 1 Cabers 6; Cabers 0 Lewis 1 (North Division Two)

2016 Cabers 9 Lewis 0; Lewis 2 Cabers 2 (North Division Two)

2017 Lewis 0 Cabers 3; Cabers 4 Lewis 1 (North Division Two)

2018 Lewis 3 Cabers 3; Cabers 10 Lewis 2 (North Division Two)

This will be the first meeting of the sides in Cup action. This will be the second of three games in the cup this month. Last Saturday a young Lewis team battled strongly but eventually succumbed to a 5-0 scoreline against Kinlochshiel at Reraig in the Strathdearn Cup. Next weekend the club reacquaints itself with Boleskine in the as yet unnamed Single Team Club Cup.

 

15 years of hurt never stopped us dreaming! Na Leòdhasaich break cup hoodoo!

April 6th, 2022 No comments

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On our nineteenth attempt, stretching back to our very first ever game on 5th May 2007, we have finally won our first ever national cup game!

As is par for the course, we did it the hard way!

We were 2-0 down at half-time to Boleskine Camanachd Club having missed a penalty, but came back to level it at 2-2 following an Ally Lamont strike & then Scott MacLeod showed no fear after his earlier penalty miss as he stepped up again to equalise from the spot.

We hit the woodwork three times & should have probably had a third penalty in the last minute of normal time but after extra time, honours were even & it came down to a penalty shootout!

Stuart ‘Tyson’ Campbell saved all four penalties he faced & whilst we contrived to hit the woodwork for a fourth time during the shootout, converted penalties from Scott & Paddy Sinclair were enough to see us through & the celebrations began! There was some write-up in the P&J!

It was an excellent advert for the sport. Both teams fought tooth & nail for 120 pulsating minutes & it was a shame one side had to come out on the losing end. There were three photographers at the game & the match was filmed for YouTube so they must have known we were going to produce a cracker!

A huge thank you to Boleskine for the warm hospitality we received & we look forward to meeting again later in the season.

Neil G Paterson


Camanachd Leòdhais and the Cups – A Long Hard Road

Camanachd Leòdhais is of course defined by the struggle and triumph of securing league status despite all the odds in 2011.

The foundation and the strength to win that battle however came from the long four years as a senior club playing as a purely cup based team from 2007.

The cup adventures lasted for four years, and the spirit of Camanachd Leòdhais was forged through the hardships of facing off against battle hardened clubs playing 20 games a season against our three or four. They were very tough experiences for everyone involved.

In classic Lewis style, even the first game was a logistical nightmare being a four day trip away to Glasgow Mid Argyll. A slow first twenty minutes saw the club 4-0 behind, but Paul Duke’s missed penalty just before half time has haunted the club legend for years! It wouldn’t be a Lewis game without some esoteric news coverage so this blog has some very blocky action pics!

Always playing from home, borrowing Inverlael from Lochbroom if we received a “home” tie, there were several heavy defeats. These drubbings were hard to take but even in them the club found strength. The 2010 defeat against Skye which led directly to the decision to enter into the leagues, the fact that in 2009 the club’s first ever competitive goal came in a 20-1 reversal to Fort William. The fact that often the club survived these years with a player pool of around 15-16 is a marker in itself and certainly has helped with the resilience of our club which has never conceded a game in 15 years.

Cup shinty did take a back seat in the first few years of the league campaigns, with a return in 2014 to make up for a six team North Division Three (the club played in three tournaments that year, including Lovat in the unlamented Strathdearn Plated).

The club took a year off from the cups again in 2015, but since re-entering in 2016 the club has had some moments where one might start to think there was truly a hoodoo – favourable cup-draws against Oban Lorn resulting in penalty heartbreak in 2016 at Ganavan, and a hard to take extra-time defeat to Inverness in 2017.

However, there are also a lot of times where the Camanachd Association’s balls have been unkind with strong teams from the league above most often on the opposite side. It’s a little known fact that Kingussie is the side that Lewis have faced in cup competitions more often than any other club, but then they’ve never won the Mòd Cup so we’ll call it even!

Talking of other cups, Lewis will face Boleskine again in the long awaited Single Team Club Cup later on this season, and the old rivals will surely be out for revenge but it’s a great but overdue initiative by the Camanachd Association. Until then however, the monkey is well and truly off the Dubh is Gorm back and we look forward to a true Ross-shire Derby with Caberfeidh in Round 2 in May 7th, as well as the week before a first ever competitive match against Kinlochshiel at Reraig in the Strathdearn Cup on April 30th.

Camanachd Leòdhais National & North Cup History

2007 v GMA 0-6 (Sutherland)
2007 v Fort William 0-11 (Strathdearn)
2008 v Kingussie 0-14 (Sutherland)
2008 v Lochcarron 0-9 (Strathdearn)
2009 v Aberdour 0-5 (Sutherland)
2009 v Fort William 1-20 (Strathdearn)
2010 v Inveraray 0-8 (Sutherland)
2010 v Skye 0-18 (Strathdearn)
2014 v Lovat 1-7 (Sutherland)
2014 v Strathspey 0-6 (Strathdearn)
2014 v Lovat 0-10 (Strathdearn Plate)
2016 v Oban Lorn 1-1 lost on penalties (Sutherland)
2016 v Kingussie 2-9 (Strathdearn)
2017 v Inverness 2-3 AET (Sutherland)
2017 v Lochaber 0-9 (Strathdearn)
2018 v Beauly 0-5 (Sutherland)
2019 v Kingussie 1-4 (Sutherland)
2019 v Lovat 1-6 (Strathdearn)
2020 v Glenurquhart (Strathdearn) and Glenorchy (Sutherland) Cancelled due to COVID19 Pandemic
2022 v Boleskine 2-2 won on Penalties (Sutherland)

Cleas-bonaid! Lamont Hat-Trick and MacLeod first strike a great way to start Seachdain na Gàidhlig

April 6th, 2022 No comments

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Camanachd Leòdhais gained a first win since before the pandemic with a rousing 4-2 win over Inverness at the Bught on Saturday 19 March.  A fantastic hat-trick from Donald Lamont (including a glorious lob for his second) was enough to overcome two goals from Inverness’ deadly Finlay Calder who scored two screamers, before Finlay MacLeod made his mark on island shinty history with aplomb to put the result beyond doubt.

Former player Eòghan Stewart was down to capture the action for Iomain Cholmcille’s Seachdain na Gàidhlig events and the footage is available here. Having two Gaelic speakers fire in the goals was a good contribution from Leòdhas!

The First Minch Cup 15 years on – 15 Bliadhna o Chuach a’ Chuain Sgìth

February 21st, 2022 No comments

Lochbroom v Lewis Shinty

Today Saturday 21st February 2022 marks 15 years since Camanachd Leòdhais’ first game as a senior club. The occasion was a trip to play Lochbroom in Ullapool at a pitch by the golf course.  It was an entertaining game, and the fledgling Lewis side did well to only be losing 1-0 at half-time, although in the second half changes and their oppponents’ experience led to a 7-0 win for the Ullapool based-side. (As well as Ally Mackenzie’s blood injury which never stopped him smiling). It was the first of many games between Lewis and Mainland opposition, and it was fitting that Lochbroom were the first club to play a league match in Shawbost. The Cuach a’ Chuain Sgìth, or Minch Cup is currently in abeyance due to the sad folding of Lochbroom in 2015. A full history of the fixture over the years can be found here.

First Minch Cup

First Minch Cup

Camanachd Leòdhais squad – (Back Row) John Hutton, Eòghan Stewart, Sean MacLeod, Daniel ‘Gaga’ Gallagher, Conor Macdonald Micheál Macdonald, Alasdair Mackenzie, Stuart ‘Tyson’ Campbell, Ewan MacKay, Gary Macdonald, Alexander ‘Ally Fro’ MacLeod, Niall Iain Macdonald

(Front Row) Peter Gomez, Kenny Mould, Paul Duke, Jamie Fraser, Innes Lamont, Scott Murray, Niall Bartlett, Andrew Ross MacLennan

Shinty Camanachd Leodhais

2022 Fixtures Published – Clàr Gheamannan air fhoillseachadh son 2022

February 19th, 2022 No comments

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Camanachd Leòdhais has had its fixtures published by the Camanachd Association for 2022.

After the 2020 and 2021 seasons being curtailed, the club is desperate to get back to developing the sport by having regular games both home and away in Mowi North Division Two. The club starts off against familiar faces Boleskine, followed by Strathspey, then Inverness before a weeks break. The first cup fixture is also against Boleskine in the HIS Sutherland Cup when play resumes.

The homecoming fixture is against Kilmallie on May 7th at Sgoil Shiaboist, and a solid two months of Hebridean Shinty is in prospect with fixtures scheduled right through May, June and into July.

All fixtures in Mowi Division Two unless stated

March 5 V Boleskine A
March 12 V Strathspey A
March 19 V Inverness A
March 26
April 2 V Boleskine A (Sutherland Cup)
April 9 V Beauly A
April 16
April 23
April 30
May 7 V Kilmallie H
May 14 v Strathglass H
May 21
May 28 v Aberdeen University H
June 4 v Lochaber H
June 11 v Boleskine H
June 18 v Beauly H
June 25 v Strathspey H
July 2 v Inverness H
July 9 v Kilmallie A
July 16 HebCelt Cup in Stornoway
July 23
July 30
August 6 v Strathglass A
August 13 v Aberdeen University A
August 20 v Lochaber A
August 27
September 3
September 10
September 17
September 24

Camanachd Leòdhais defeated in season finale against Inverness – 2 October 2022

February 19th, 2022 No comments

Camanachd Leòdhais travelled to Bught Park on Saturday 2 October to finish their shortened season against Inverness. Their opponents had no first team game which allowed them to draft in several first-team regulars. A depleted Lewis side gave it their all but against such strong opposition, succumbed to an 8-0 defeat.

Lewis were in a tough situation ahead of the game with Steven Morrison, Paul Duke, Sean MacLeod, Daniel Gallagher, Lewis MacKay, Innes Lamont and his brother Ally all unavailable. Their problems were further exacerbated when another two key players in Scott MacLeod and Ronan Sinclair had to call off on the morning of the game. This left Lewis with just thirteen players for the game. Duncan MacPhail made his senior debut at wingback as did young Ruaraidh MacLennan at wing forward. Davey Wilde made a first appearance for the club in over twelve years whilst reserve goalie Willie MacLeod was the sole man on the bench.

Inverness boasted both a strong spine and centre-line that had some familiar faces who the club encountered in its early years. Steven Bellshaw, Ruairaidh Hughes, both formerly Lochbroom, Ewan Campbell, who starred for Uist Camanachd, as well as Rory Campbell and Ian Hunter were among first team regulars that took to the field for the home side.

The early stages of the game were relatively even with both sides creating chances. Inverness thought they had the opening goal but were denied by the post. At the other end, a good pass from MacLennan gave Wilde a shot at goal but his effort was saved and Donny Murray, who played the majority of the game at wing centre in just his second senior start, couldn’t quite get on the end of the rebound.

Skye MacIntosh thought he had given Inverness the lead after twenty minutes but he was adjudged to have been offside. Lewis’ resistance was broken four minutes later when Bellshaw rattled home. Lewis fullback Michael MacLeod defended well against Hughes throughout the game but the Inverness forward did manage to get a goal on the day, doubling the lead ten minutes later.

Lewis were hoping to get into halftime without conceding a third but Bellshaw had other ideas as he turned his man and fired a low shot into the net.

Any hope Lewis will have had to get back into the game were quickly extinguished by Bellshaw who scored his third and fourth goals within five minutes of the restart.

Lewis were subjected to heavy pressure for a lot of the second period and MacIntosh did eventually get his goal on the hour mark, having been denied by the offside flag in the first half.

It was full centre Ewan Campbell that finished the scoring with a brace, his second a shot from distance with five minutes to go.

With travel restrictions preventing Lewis from having a full season, the three games against Beauly, Strathspey and Inverness were being viewed as a chance to get back up to speed with a view to next season as well as giving match experience to young players. The club will be hoping to have a full slate of games in 2022.