Camanachd Leodhais 3 – 1 Camanachd Ard na Murchan
The sun shone on the pitch at Sgoil Shiabost as Camanachd Leodhais celebrated their first victory in Marine Harvest North Division Three. Lewis Team manager Paul Duke summed the day up: “It makes all the effort worthwhile.”
The Ardnamurchan players had made the long trip to Lewis with hopes of a second victory against the Lewis side after defeating them earlier in the season at home 6-2.
Ardnamurchan travelled with only 12 players and Lewis were short of a number regulars through injury and work commitments. Both teams lined up hoping to secure a much needed victory.
Kevin Cheeseman was the referee for the match. He had previously been in charge of the Lewis v. Aberdeen Uni. match earlier in the season. At 2.40pm he blew for the throw-up on a gloriously sunny afternoon with a slight breeze giving Ards a first half advantage with the wind behind them. The game was evenly balanced to begin with but accurate hitting to the Lewis forwards by Stuart “Tyson” Campbell at full back and team captain Scott Murray at full centre gave forwards Calum “Stompy” Stamper, Craig Macleod and Andy MacDonald chances to open the scoring.
Colm O’Rua in goals for Ards was well protected by astute defending and hitting from Ards’ experienced team captain Stuart Carmichael. However Lewis opened the scoring in 38 minutes when a through ball from Scott Murray was directed into goal and past O’Rua by Calum “Stompy” Stamper. Lewis were pressing hard and with Scott Murray dominating in the middle of the park Lewis doubled the score immediately. Murray’s shot from just past the centre circle hit the back of the Ards net to make it 2-0.
At this point it seemed that Lewis might further add to their tally but Ards, stung by the losses, fought back. With a number of well put together attacks they eventually broke the Lewis defence. A minute before half-time Alan Nairn received the ball on the right and flighted an accurate shot into the top left corner leaving Lewis keeper Conor MacDonald no chance.
The game was still evenly balanced as the half-time whistle blew. Would Lewis rue earlier missed chances in the second half? Ards pressed for the equaliser and thought they had nearly done so shortly after the restart. A shot from outside the 10 yard area struck the Lewis post bouncing back into play for Ards possibly to score. But the goal judge had flagged for offside as an Ards player was inside the 10 yard area when the ball entered the area. The referee upheld the decision despite the Ards’ players protestations.
The incident proved to be the turning point and Lewis rallied to protect their lead. The tussle for control in the middle of the park was notable for the determined performance of Lewis youth player Michael Macleod. He fought and harried with his opposite number manfully and also set up a number of attacks to cap a fine performance. Ards were tiring after their long journey and lack of substitutes. Scott Murray took advantage of space outside the 10 yard area to fire in a third for Lewis on 58 minutes. The Leodhasaich had the better of the last quarter although Ards did come close once or twice before the end. With the third goal The Leodhasaich scented victory but held their shape and composure with fine defending from Paul Duke and Daniel “Gaga” Gallacher. Kenny Mould who had put in a sterling shift came off with a head injury and was replaced by Innes Lamont making his début for the Leodhasaich. Brother Donald Lamont at half-forward played well and enjoyed the victory which must have reminded him of his winning days with Aberdeen Uni. Youth Al Reed came on for an injured Andy Macdonald and was unlucky not to score near the end.
So all in all a great day for the Leodhasaich. Colm O’Rua, a Gaelic teacher at Ardnamurchan High, praised the Lewis team spirit: ”Is math a rinn na balaich Leodhasach an diugh, thuirt an Eireannach a Baile a Cliath.”
Performances are improving due to match practise and training. Hopefully remaining fixtures will produce further positive results.
The next League fixture is against Beauly at Shawbost this Saturday 18th June, throw-up 2.30pm.Thig ann! and experience the excitement of “An geam as ghrinne fon ghrian!” “The greatest game under the sun!” Chi sinn sibh ann. Agus moran taing do Iain Gordon is luchd-obraich Sgoil Shiabost airson an caoibhneas a tha iad a shealltainn do Camanachd Leodhais.