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Latha sònraichte a’ comharrachadh call na h-Iolaire | The Iolaire remembered by Camanachd Leòdhais and Kinlochshiel

January 2nd, 2019 No comments

A very special Iomain Challainn at Bayhead on January 1 2019 marked Camanachd Leòdhais’ contribution to the Iolaire Commemorations, marking 100 years since the tragedy that had such an indelible impact upon the life, culture and language of our islands.

January 1st 2019 will forever have a special place in the history of our young club.

Together with our dear friends from Kinlochshiel Shinty Club we honoured those island men who, having survived four gruelling years of war, lost their lives yards from home when HMY Iolaire struck the Beasts of Holm.

We remembered them. We reflected on their journey knowing that the traditional New Years shinty match would have been on the minds of many. We played the game that was so cruelly denied them.

‘Shiel, the 2018 Macaulay Cup winners had graciously accepted the club’s invitation to represent the Iolaire’s departure point of Kyle of Lochalsh and they sent a squad with several Macaulay and Premiership winners in its number.

Earlier in the day Alasdair Lamont (Leòdhas) and Calum MacLean (‘Shiel) represented the clubs at the official ceremony at Holm, before returning to join their teammates at Bayhead. Calum was an very fitting representative for his club, as his own great-grandfather was one of the 79 to survive the disaster.

Both teams were marched out, Lewis dressed in their traditional “dubh is gorm”, ‘Shiel wearing white shirts, red shorts and white socks, led by young Martin MacRae of Kinlochshiel on the pipes. Referee Henry MacInnes blew the whistle to mark a solemn and impeccable two minute silence in memory of the 201 men lost. A large crowd was in attendance to witness a fantastic game of shinty which was played at a ferocious pace and in great spirit.

Lewis were not overawed by their illustrious opponents, and battled hard and fast against the mainland side, and combined with the tight park for 24 players this helped even up the game. Only a magnificent strike by Scotland U21 Cap Oliver Macrae separated the sides at halftime, and Lewis tested out Neil MacRae a couple of times, forcing corners. Donald Lamont and Daniel Gallagher were rising to the challenge of playing a set of players from many leagues above, and the 1-0 scoreline was certainly a good show for the home side.

In the second half, Kinlochshiel took a while to get going and the home side were still making some bold flurries, one of which almost foxed Neil MacRae in goals. However, very shortly after this Shiel made themselves comfortable with two quick goals from Ali Nixon and Archie MacRae. Oliver MacRae added a fourth later on, and young Lewis keeper Kieran Murray kept out several other shots well, including a long ranger from former Lewis player and founder member Eoghan Stewart, now at Strathglass, who was a guesting for Shiel as a substitute.

Despite a valiant performance the class of Kinlochshiel shone through and the Kirkton boys won 4-0 on the day. No fewer than 8 Lewis youth players got a taste of the action – all in awe of getting the opportunity to play in the same game as Premier Division Champions and Macaulay Cup Winners. . The quality of play from Kinlochshiel was a treat to behold, with players such as David Falconer, Paul MacRae, Duncan MacRae and Martin MacRae all showing truly excellent skills and will hopefully help the many Lewis youngsters who took part yesterday in developing their own skills. Lewis players, both young and old, did themselves and their island very proud and in this first ever meeting of the two clubs, the bonds of friendship have been made which will last for many years to come.

After the match, event organiser Donald Lamont thanked everyone who attended, including a significant number of Kinlochshiel travelling supporters. Camanachd Leodhais president and chair Annette Murray gifted a beautifully crafted plaque to Kinlochshiel to commemorate their participation in this unique fixture and Kinlochshiel director Neil MacRae, presented a silver salver to Camanachd Leodhais likewise. “Neily Ach” is the uncle of Camanachd Leodhais players Crisdean and James MacRae and he expressed Kinlochshiel’s gratitude at being able to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in “The Game That Was Never Played”.

The match was followed by an official reception at the Caladh Inn which was enjoyed by all.

Moran Taing | Many Thanks

Camanachd Leòdhais are deeply indebted to a huge number of people who made Tuesday’s event possible.

First and foremost Kinlochshiel. To give up 3 days of their time at New Year to take part in this game was a huge effort on their part and we will be forever grateful for that. A new bond has been created. The power of sport and shinty especially.

We would also like to thank the Iolaire Working Group for all their help and support over the past 12 months. They bought into the idea from the start.

Point FC kindly gave us use of their pitch liner and paint.

Jim did sterling work ferrying players around in the minibus.

The special plaque we commissioned was done with the gift of wood from the saw mill and help from Kate Macdonald and the Nicolson Institute Art department.

The event could not have taken place without financial contributions from our supporters. We in particular would like to thank Ishga, The Lewis and Harris Sports Council, Iomain Cholmcille, DS MacIntyre & JJ Sales, NFU Insurance Services, Stornoway & Skye.

The wider club and supporters would also like to thank those committee members who gave their all in terms of vision, energy and organisation over the last few months to make this game a reality.

Mairidh an cliu gu brath. Cuimhnichidh sinn iad.

Iomain Challainn – MacRitchie has the Will to Win!

January 10th, 2018 No comments

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The club marked the turn of the New Year in the traditional style by having a ten-a-side match on the 9th of January at Smith Avenue Astro. It was however, certainly the first time an Iomain Challainn has been played under floodlights in the Western Isles!

The players divided into teams managed by John MacAskill and Will Church. Sean MacLeod opened the scoring for Team John on 17 minutes, but young gun Stewart MacRitchie soon replied for Team Will. Stewart then added a second straight after half-time to keep the score at 2-1 until the end.

A good turnout on a cold night as pre-season begins in earnest. You can see a record of previous Iomain Challainn here.

Iomain Challainn 2016 – Team Church 4 v Team Diablo 0

January 7th, 2016 No comments

After the excitement of the youth game between Lochs and the Rest of the World, there was an entertaining battle between two sides picked and managed by Will Church and Iain “Diablo” Sinclair.

Team Church drew first blood after around twenty minutes as Conor Macdonald bagged a predator’s goal after springing on an assist from Paul Duke. The Church Select then punished Team Diablo further when Donald Lamont doubled their advantage just before half-time.

In the second half, it took around ten minutes before Macdonald smashed in a quick-fire brace to complete a fine hat-trick. there was no reply from Diablo’s troops as the game finished 4-0.

There was an excellent crowd in attendance for what is now a must-see festive event for all in Lewis & Harris.

Duaisean 2015 – Awards Night a Big Success

January 4th, 2016 No comments

Players, officials and supporters of Camanachd Leodhais gathered at Stornoway Golf Club on Saturday 2nd January for the club’s annual awards dinner.

The dinner was held after an entertaining Iomain Challainn at Smith Avenue which saw a Conor Macdonald hat Trick and a Donald Lamont goal give Will Church’s team a 4-0 victory over “Diablo” and his select.

The 2015 and 2016 Captain, Kenny “Duffy” Murray, was awarded the Senior Player of the Year. Kenny was not able to be at the dinner to receive his award.

2015 was a promising year for Ruaraidh MacMillan and he was a deserved recipient of the Junior Player of the Year award.

Alicia MacSween, who has been in many ways a trailblazer for women’s shinty in Lewis & Harris, was an appropriate recipient for the inaugural Ladies Player of the Year.

The Craig Morrison Sixes Shield was re-presented to winning captain Peter Gomez.

Manager Duncan MacIntyre congratulated all the award winners “Each and everyone of our Award Winners: Kenny, Alicia and Ruaraidh, display all the attributes we want from all associated with Camanachd Leòdhais , they are a credit to the Club and great role models for all of us at the Club.”

All awards were presented by Camanachd Leodhais Chieftain David Macdonald. Thanks to everyone involved in organising the meal and the awards.

In other award news, Head Youth Coach and coach for Sgoil nan Loch and Sgoil Phàirc, Al Reed, has named his most committed players of 2015, Dylan (Lochs) and Malin (Pairc) and the most improved players from each session, David (Lochs) and Fergus (Pairc). The young Lochies celebrated beating the rest of Lewis & Harris 2-1 in the Iomain Og which preceded the Iomain Challainn.

 

Iomain Challainn – January 2nd 2016

December 21st, 2015 No comments

This year’s Iomain Challainn at Bayhead will mark another first – we will be having a junior game at 12.30pm before the senior game at 1.30pm.

As with the senior game, all players are welcome, even if they are just visiting the island over the festive period. There will be ample equipment available and there should be plenty of entertainment and good craic on and off the park. As always the teams will be divided along lines still to be decided in keeping with the old traditions – such as those followed by the famous match between Tong and the Stornoway Tailors,  or when the Captains and Vice Captains of Stornoway Athletic would name their sides. It will of course be 21 years to the day since Dr Alasdair Barden (nach maireann) re-established the fixture and sparked the renaissance of the sport in the Lews. Some more info can be found here and here.

Wrap up warm and bring along a flask (of tea)!

 

Iomain Challainn 2016 – Saturday January 2nd

12.30pm Iomain Og

1.30pm Iomain Challainn

7.00pm Awards Dinner