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Mòd Cup Tales

October 7th, 2020 No comments

To mark the virtual Mòd, here are three Mòd Cup stories with a Camanachd Leòdhais connection , looking back at the three fixtures played at Stornoway Mòds in 1979, 1989 and 2001.

lochcarron 1979

The first is from the 1979 Stornoway Mòd, but where the Mòd Cup was played in Lochcarron (Lochcarron and Lewis being in old Ross-shire, it was a fairly tenuous link, but the game went ahead on the Battery Park.) According to the West Highland Free Press (photos and report from there) it was “thrill-a-minute shinty” between na Carrannaich and Skye Camanachd. Skye took a 3-1 lead in at the interval, but then Lochcarron grabbed a controversial late equaliser that forced extra time. It would be our very own Boyd MacKenzie (pictured above), who went on to develop so many shinty players in Lewis, who gave Lochcarron the lead, before his namesake Alister MacKenzie scored his hat trick to win Lochcarron’s first silverware in nine years.

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1989 saw shinty actually take place in Stornoway, and this time Skye were involved again, but they played against Beauly. The Gazette had a picture of the two teams at Bayhead with Henry MacInnes refereeing. The bulk of this Skye team were also on the park when they lifted the Camanachd Cup 9 months later. Beauly player Martin “Toad” MacLean also played in both this match and then the next senior match in Lewis, the first home league game at Shawbost, featuring for Lochbroom.

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The Glasgow Herald the following week had an interesting anecdote surrounding Beauly player Stephen MacLean and also the shortness of Bayhead, which will be familirat to any used to playing the HebCelt at Bayhead and why the pitch is fitted in at the strangest of angles to get more length. (Of course, this anecdote from 1989 was still being used 17 years later by a few folk to deter any thought of camans ever being swung by the banks of the Creed.)

 

Talking of mugs — which the Oban outfit clearly are not — another

unlikely artefact to enter the shinty arena in the last few days is an

electric shaver.

This was the unexpected item presented to Beauly midfielder Stephen

MacLean for being selected as man of the match in the Mod Cup challenge

game in Stornoway which opponents Skye won 4-2. In fact, MacLean has

already had a close shave in a pre-season friendly when he suffered a

broken cheekbone after having been hit in the face with a ball and the

injury is not yet fully healed.

”It will come in handy for shaving down my shinty stick,” he joked

after a contest which entertained the smallest crowd of around one

hundred but which had some bizarre aspects.

It had been billed as a double header, counting also for league points

in Marine Harvest North Division 1, but after it became apparent that

the pitch, a rugby field, was less than the minimum dimensions for a

shinty field a decision was taken that it would be a challenge match

only.

This decision, however, has yet to be endorsed by the Camanachd

Association.

MacLean added: ”The pitch was also very muddy which made clean

hitting difficult. Although spectators felt they saw an exciting game we

could have given a better exhibition had conditions and promotion of the

event been better.”

This is a view which has been heard before in previous Mod Cup

matches. There are obvious reasons for closer contact between the

Association and An Comunn Gaidhealach and perhaps improvements can be made

next year in Glasgow.*

*1990 was the only year since 1969 when a Mòd Cup match wasn’t scheduled!

The final anecdote will be one that evokes a lot of memories, having taken place at Rally Park, Tarbert, Harris in 2001. This was the first time a side from the Western Isles had competed in the Mòd Cup and it was Back Camanachd, coached by that man Boyd MacKenzie, who faced off against a Kyleakin Primary School team. The Skye Team went on to win the game handsomely 11-0, but as many of the Skye team went on to raise the Balliemore, the National League, the Valerie Fraser or also excel in other sports it was no shame for the young Bacaich as they were just in the early flushes of shinty in Lewis.

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As the shinty yearbook mentioned in 2002 “This was as effective as anything that will have happened in a week of horo-gheallaidh in the Western Isles.” and perhaps it was right. Gaga and Stompy would go on to become important players for Camanachd Leòdhais through both the entries to the cups, the leagues and beyond.

The Back Camanachd team was; Back Row – James MacKenzie, Andrew Maclennan, John Ferguson, Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher, Front Row – Daniel Clark, Michael MacKenzie, Sam Norton, David MacKay, Calum “Stompy” Stamper

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The Kyleakin team wasn’t lacking in Lewis & Harris connections either, future women’s shinty icon Sarah Corrigal having a granny from Carloway, and the MacLennan brothers, Ally and “Shockie” coming from good Leòdhasach and Scalpach stock. And of course, the man who coached the team, the late Alasdair Morrison, was half Rubhach through his mother Jesanne from Garrabost, and both his sons Steven and Danny, who went on to multiple honours with Skye, played as well in the victory.

Here they are sailing back to Skye as so far the only Primary School team to have ever won a senior shinty trophy. (Photo courtesy of Anne MacCuish)

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The 2005, 2011 and 2016 Mòd nan Eilean Siar fixtures for what is officially known as the Aviemore Cup, have been documented in more detail on these pages before. The Mòd Cup certainly figures very importantly in the development of shinty in the Western Isles and hopefully whenever the Mòd returns to the Western Isles at some point in the future, it’ll be another day to remember.

Some of the pictures here and from other Mòd Cups past will be seen in Iomain Aig A’ Mhòd 2020 – a special programme to mark the absence of shinty this year along with the rest of the Virtual Mòd – the programme premieres at 11am on Saturday 10th October

Annette Murray retires as Head of Stornoway Primary

August 31st, 2018 No comments
The 2011 Prize Winners

Annette with the Prizewinners at the 2011 Dinner Dance

One of the great servants of shinty in Lewis and Harris stepped into a well deserved retirement today as Annette Murray retired as headteacher of Stornoway Primary School after many long years of service.

Annette has been one of the most important supporters of shinty in the island, promoting and supporting the sport within the school as well as being an important part of Camanachd Leodhais, giving leadership and guidance for almost a decade. She is currently President and Chair of the Club as well as being an Honorary Chieftain, having served as Chieftain between 2010 and 2012.

Her family has also contributed vastly to the development of the club; Two of her nephews, Michael and Scott MacLeod have been important players for the club over the years, with Scott continuing to star for the first team. Her late husband, Coinneach was also a great servant to the club, taking photos which remain as an important document of the club’s early league seasons.

On an emotional Friday, Annette was given a ceremonial shinty guard of honour as she left the school for the last time today. We wish her well for her retirement from teaching, but look forward to her continuing contribution to the life of our club in the years ahead.

 

Other News

The First Team face Caberfeidh at Castle Leod at 2pm Tomorrow (Sept 1) having had an exciting 3-3 draw in May. This will be our the third last game of the season.

The club also notes with sadness the passing of Skye Camanachd’s Alasdair ‘Ally Morr’ Morrison. Ally had strong Lewis connections as his mother Jesanne is from Garrabost, whilst his partner Anne is heavily involved with our friends Lochcarron Camanachd. An avid follower of shinty, as well as his local club, Ally managed Skye to the Balliemore Cup in 2008, as well as being manager of the Kyleakin Shinty Club which won the Mod Cup in 2001 against Back Camanachd in Tarbert (see below). The club would like to extend its sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time.

 

Tributes paid as Will Church sets sail for pastures new

May 20th, 2018 No comments

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Camanachd Leòdhais paid a fond farewell to one of its undoubted legends after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Beauly.  Will Church was not able to sign off from his shinty career with a 40th career goal from 68 games, but he did have the benefit of seeing that the future of the club is bright, as young Alexander Gordon’s goal helped secure a point at Shawbost, and several other youngsters played an important part.

 

Having moved to Lewis at the beginning of the 2010s for work, Will came to the sport of shinty  fairly late, being picked up thanks to a taster session at the HebCelt in 2011 where his ability to gave a ball a good smack was evident straightaway, and he would make up for lost time by going on to have a seismic impact for a developing Lewis shinty team lacking a true goal threat in its early years.

 

After a few substitute appearances in our first league season, he chose the greatest moment to score his first goals for the club – a brace against Uist which brought home the trophy which the club had set out to capture when it was reformed in late 2006. The photo at the top of the page is one of the iconic pics of an incredible year.

 

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His 2012 season saw him begin to find his way in his new sport, and a hand injury against Strathglass brought about the famous ice hockey gauntlets which were to become his calling cards as his unorthodox but effective playing style caused North Three defenders nightmare. He soon found his feet and would go on to be the top scorer in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

 

Marriage and family commitments meant that Will took a step back at the end of the 2016 season, but still made an occasional goal scoring appearance in 2017. However, he has now made what is surely his last appearance in the Dubh is Gorm, as he and his family are making the bold move to Sweden where they go with the club’s very best wishes ringing in their ears. Thanks for the memories Will. Gur math thèid leibh anns an t-Suain!

 

Will Church with 2018 Club Captain Peter Gomez, Donald Lamont

Will Church with 2018 Club Captain Peter Gomez, Donald Lamont

 

Donald Lamont made the following impassioned speech at a special function after the Beauly game that was held to mark Will’s contribution to the sport of the Gael in Lewis and Harris.

 

Today marked game number 68 for Will – finishing on an incredible total of 39 goals. It is hard to believe that was his last game in a Lewis shirt as he and his family set off on a new adventure in Sweden at the end of the month, although I still haven’t lost all hope of seeing Finn wear the famous Number 10 shirt in a few years time.

 

“It is great to see so many of our junior players here, who are stepping up to the plate and thriving in our squad at such a young age, I am particularly pleased they are here because although they played very little with Will – the man I am about to describe is what they should be aspiring to when they wear the famous Dubh is Gorm – above all else Will is a role model who epitomises the values of this club.

“Will is one of the best team mates I have ever had the pleasure of playing with. He knew what to say when things weren’t going well and he was more pleased than anyone if you succeeded. Throughout the years as a club when we have struggled on the park it is characters like Will that have brought us through, kept us going, encouraged us and made us do ridiculous circuit sessions in the dead of winter when every other sane shinty player is having a well earned rest. But that is the drive we need and we must ensure we follow Will’s example.

“Everyone will have their own favourite Church moment or goal: Winning the 2011 Mod Cup with a 2 goal salvo ensuring one of the greatest return journeys in the history of sporting away fixtures. Glè mhath were the boys! A last minute equaliser versus Strathglass at Cannich when all seemed lost. A jaw dropping individual goal at the Bught in a 3 nil defeat of Inverness. When we needed some magic to happen Will always provided it. Our famous 1-0 win at Castle Leod in 2015 – who scored? Will.When we beat Kilmallie for the first time who got the first goal that day? Will.

“Off the field Will is a devoted family man which has meant we haven’t seen as much of him lately but Jinxy made this comment which I think is a fitting way to end this tribute. “An intelligent guy with a sharp wit. Loves a good rum and is even more of straight shooter with a few drinks in him.”

“As a club we are going to miss Will hugely and we, Camanachd Leòdhais, wish him all the best for his new life in Sweden. We hope you stay in touch and keep following the fortunes of the club online.”

Will Gomez

Deich Bliadhna

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Chaidh Camanachd Leòdhais ath-stèidheachadh às ùr Diardaoin, an t-seachdamh là den Dubhlachd 2006.

Chaidh a’ chiad choinneamh a chumail anns an t-seòmar-teagaisg Ghàidhlig anns an t-seann phrìomh thogalach aig Sgoil MhicNeacail. (a-nis mu làr).

Chaidh bùn-stèidh aontachadh agus chaidh ainmean a chur ris le Eòghan Stiùbhart agus Micheal Dòmhnallach.

An lathair bha an dithis sin, Conor Dòmhnallach, Seumas Friseal, Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher, Eòghainn MacAoidh, Sean MacLeòid, Alasdair “Fro” MacLeòid agus feadhainn eile. 

Is iomadh euchd agus oidhirp a thachair on latha eachdraidheil a bha sin agus tha sinn moiteil as gach cluicheadair a chosg an dubh is gorm san àm sin. ‘S ann mar seo a nì sinn e sna h-Innse Gall.

Camanachd Leòdhais was re-constituted on Thursday the 7th of December 2006. The inaugural meeting was held in the Gaelic classroom in the old main building of the Nicolson Institute. (Now demolished). The constitution of the club was agreed and signed by Eòghan Stewart and Micheal Macdonald. In attendance were the two signatories, Conor Macdonald, Jamie Fraser, Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher, Ewan MacKay, Sean MacLeod, Alexander”Fro” MacLeod and others. (If you were in attendance, please remind us and your name will be added.)

In the ten years since that date, Camanachd Leòdhais have made history and will continue to make history in the years to come. Whilst we as a club have only small moments of glory relative to those of more established clubs, we are very proud of how far we have come as a club in that time. To be the first side from the Western Isles to compete in Camanachd Association competition, first at Cup level and then on the regular and more intense league basis, and to play the first fixtures in the islands themselves, have been achievements in themselves, acheivements of which we are intensely proud. To now have a vibrant youth section, to field 15 players at least every week, and to regularly pick up points and to cause our opponents to respect us are the real and concrete week to week satisfactiosn that we feel as Camanachd Leòdhais players, officials and supporters.

We look forward to welcoming you to Shawbost and the Isles of Lewis and Harris for the next ten years, and many more decades to come. This is how we do it in the Western Isles. Dubh is Gorm.

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#CL10 #DUBHISGORM

 

 

Mòd Cup 2016 – Skye take the spoils

October 16th, 2016 No comments

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Despite poor weather, both sides in the Mòd Cup served up a close and competitive tussle. Certainly the club’s best performance against a Skye side, it was a tense and exciting match, with very little to show that there was a league between the sides.

It was a stalemate until veteran Camanachd Cup winner Peter Gordon scored just before the hour mark. We then had the lion’s share of possession and momentum, and if we could have squeezed the ball over the line we could have gone on to swing the game back in our favour. However Iain MacLellan broke up the other end to make it 2-0 with around 15 minutes to go, then Kenny MacLeod put the result beyond doubt with a third goal, although we had some more chances to get on the score sheet.

 

The trophies and medals were presented by An Comunn Gàidhealach President John MacLeod. The support of An Comunn Gàidhealach for the fixture was appreciated. With so many of our young players getting the chance to shine yesterday, whenever the Mòd returns to the Western Isles in the future, we’re sure that this new generation will be more than a match for whatever opposition they face. It was fitting that Skye Camanachd were the final opponents of our tenth season as a senior club, great friends, ‘s math na càirdean and we’d like to thank them all for coming over.

Skye player, and long term friend of the club, Daniel Morrison was named man of the match by referee Henry MacInnes. Michael MacLeod was possibly our best player at buckshee back, but the team competed well all across the park, with Steven Morrison and Scott MacLeod belying their young age, and Alexander Gordon also showing up well coming on as a sub.

Al Reed was also presented with his recent LHSC Young Coach of the Year by John MacLeod.

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Pictures courtesy of An Comunn Gàidhealach and Graham Hood Photography

BONUS FEATURE – Gaelic celeb and long term fan of the club Alison Gael MacRae turned up to do a wee film alongside her old partner in crime Rubens.

Mòd Cup Facts

October 3rd, 2016 No comments

Lewis Camanachd

We were asked for a translation of the Mòd Article so we created a short listicle of the key facts.

  • The Mòd Cup was first presented by the Aviemore Branch of An Comunn Gàidhealach in 1969 when the Mòd was held in there in 1969.
  • It was first played for between Newtonmore & Kingussie. Newtonmore won and it is the only national trophy that the Kings have never won.
  • The trophy used to have a lid but this has been lost at some point.
  • It is always played by two sides close to where the Mòd is held. This has led to several interesting match ups over the years, especially giving smaller clubs the chance to claim a national trophy.
  • The Mòd was first held in Stornoway in 1979. It is unclear at the moment where the 1979 game was played, but it was won after extra-time by Lochcarron 5-3 against Skye. Boyd MacKenzie played in that match.
  • The Mòd returned to Stornoway in 1989. Skye Camanachd defeated Beauly 4-2 at Bayhead. Goasl were specially made for the occasion. Many of the Skye players that day went on to win the Camanachd Cup the next year.
  • Of note in 1989 was that Beauly player Martin”Toad” MacLean” played the last senior fixture to be played in Lewis until 2011, when “Toad” also played for Lochbroom in the first ever Camanachd Leòdhais home game.
  • The Mòd was held in Stornoway again in 2001, but the shinty as played in Tarbert. For the first time, a Lewis based side competed, a young Back Camanachd facing Kyleakin Primary School. It ended up 11-0 to the Sgitheanaich. Several of the players in both sides have gone on to good shinty careers. Kyleakin are quite possibly the only Primary School team to have ever won a national trophy in any sport.
  • The Mòd Cup was first held in Uist in 2005 as part of Mòd nan Eilean Siar and Uist defeated a Lewis select in an event which also saw the Lord of the Isles Trophy up for grabs with 70 kids taking part.
  • Shinty returned to Uist again in 2011, with the reformed Camanachd Leòdhais facing off against Uist Camanachd. Both teams had been competing at national level, Lewis in North Division Three and Uist in the CA Development League. In a tight, tousy game, Lewis won their first major trophy 2-0.
  • This year’s fixture at Mòd nan Eilean Siar is between Camanachd Leòdhais and Skye Camanachd and will be held at Shawbost on Saturday 15th October, throw-up at 2pm.