HebCelt Cup 2018 | 12 years of inter-island thrills and spills

July 16th, 2018 No comments

Hebridean Celtic Festival Inter-Island Shinty Cup 2018

Lewis V Uist

Bayhead, 2pm, Saturday 21 July 2018

Scott Murray Lewis Camanachd Shinty

That time of year again!  The big derby of the year with Uist is Saturday 21 July, 2PM at Bayhead. Big thanks as always to Caroline MacLennan and the whole Hebridean Celtic Festival team for their hospitality and support of this fixture which has been crucial to the development of shinty in the Western Isles over the last decade. There have been some classic games over the years, ever since the fixture first started in 2007. This will be the 12th running of this now iconic event.


The fixture was started in 2007 but with Uist unavailable the game was played between Camanachd Leodhais and a Hebcelt Allstars team which had some guests over for the festival cameo. This was played at the old Acres Pitch which is now a car park. Lewis won 3-0. There are no photos in evidence!

The 2008 version was played over two legs, with the first game held in North Uist at Easter.  Lewis won that game 4-2, but the game at Smith Avenue on the Saturday of the Festival was a close 2-2 draw, with Lewis grabbing the draw in he final seconds to secure the cup.

Camanachd Leodhais Celtic Festival

In 2009, there was a cloud over proceedings with the recent death of Craig Morrison.  On a rainy day which seemed to reflect the mood, in that sense the result was secondary although Uist played well to win 3-0, their first win in the competition and the first time the fixture was played at Bayhead. The picture at the top is also from that fixture with Lewis’ Scott Murray competing for the ball with Uist’s Steven Morrison as Sean “Rubens Banterchello” MacLeod looks on.

Paul Duke Lewis Uist shinty

In 2010, Lewis made an emphatic 4-1 win as the fixture returned to Bayhead, with Titch Morrison, Calum Stamper and Paul Duke piling in the goals.  The weather again was fairly inclement in the run up, but the game still drew a sizeable crowd as the weather improved rapidly in the second half.


Hebridean Celtic Festival 2010 Shinty Lewis

HebCelt 2010

2011 saw a Lewis team in their first season in the North leagues up against a Uist side who put up a good fight (although the fixture was reduced to 10 a side) in a 3-2 classic in blazing sunshine. Perhaps upwards of 500 people attended the match.


In 2012, Uist, with a couple of mainland additions caught Lewis napping and won the cup 2-1 on penalties after a 2-2 stalemate. There was some more fine weather and another bumper crowd, which meant a good day for Hebridean Shinty no matter the result.


2013 saw a dominant Lewis performance under the tutelage of Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair as the team made amends for the previous year with a 7-0 demolition of the Southern islanders. Duncan MacIntyre scored 4 in a complete performance against a strong Uist side.


2014 was a 4-0 win for Lewis with goals from Will, Duncan, Ally and Dukey. It was another win for Diablo’s troops over another strong Uist side.


2015 was another win for Lewis to make it 3 in a row for the first time. It was a tighter game with Uist restricting Lewis to only two goals, king of the Hebcelt Duncan scoring alongside Connor Chalmers. Diablo retired as manager having never lost the cup.

2016 saw a controversial last minute move to the astro at Smith Avenue, which robbed the game of appearances by Will Church and Keith “Trumisgarry” Macdonald but it was an entertaining match for what it was. Donald Lamont matched Duncan’s 2013 four goal haul alongside 2 from Scott MacLeod in a 6-nil game. However, Uist were much better than the scoreline suggested and Graham Black of Uist was a deserved man of the match.

HebCelt 2016

HebCelt 2016

2017 saw Uist up their game with Keith back in midfield and some new signings. It was the closest match in years and Lewis were pushed all the way for a 4-2 win. Dougie Shaw grabbed a brace alongside David Cleary and Paul Duke’s efforts.


What 2018 holds in store for the fixture is unsure other than it will be another exciting game in the heart of Stornoway!



Dubh is Gorm hold on for the win in Shawbost classic v Strathglass

July 14th, 2018 No comments

The Dubh is Gorm continued this season’s fine form with a tense 4-3 win over Cannich’s Strathglass at a wet and windy Sgoil Shiaboist. The match was sponsored yet again by Outer Hebrides Campervan Hire.

The game started in fine fashion for the home fans with a Donald Lamont goal, but the game settled into a rhythm with both teams having opportunities. Strathglass would have been happy going into half-time 1-0 down when the wind would have been in their favour, but they switched off in the dying minutes to allow our boys to go in at the interval with a healthy 3-0 advantage thanks to  goals from Crisdean MacRae and Ruaraidh MacMillan. Great to see Ruaraidh back in the dubh is gorm.

The goal advantage was crucial as Strathglass were stung into action in the second half and with a gusting wind started to make big moves on Conor’s goal, with former Camanachd Leodhais player Eoghan Stewart leading the line. Fortunately the lads held on to the advantage for a good part of the second half, until Strathglass’ Colin Birnie scored on 71 minutes. Thankfully Donald struck for his sixth of the season moments later to restore our three goal advantage but Birnie grabbed two more goals in the next ten minutes to complete his hat-trick and set up a grand stand finish.

Thankfully, the grit and determination that the side has shown all season was in full evidence, and although Strathglass had a few more opportunities, the young Dubh is Gorm ground out a precious victory and push the team into 6th in the table on 11pts, one behind Lochaber.

Thanks to Strathglass for coming over with a young and talented team and being part of a great game. Thanks also to all the supporters who braved the elements.  Photo courtesy of Donald MacRitchie.


Next week sees the annual clash with Uist Camanachd for the HebCelt Cup in the heart of Stornoway. Come along and enjoy the game at Bayhead at 2pm. Entry by donation.


Thanks also to long term sponsors Woody’s Express for the smart new O’Neill’s strips which certainly seem to match the team’s newfound smartness on the park.

Leòdhasaich are Five Star V Kilmallie!

July 7th, 2018 No comments



The first team got back to winning ways with a fantastic result against Kilmallie at Shawbost this Saturday 7 July.

There was a small crowd due to the Uig Gala Day and the World Cup, but those in attendance were treated to a great Dubh is Gorm performance.

Continuing his great run of form in front of goal, Ally Lamont opened the scoring on the 8th minute, then cult hero Al Reed, who has always been a great shy taker grabbed a goal direct from one of his shy efforts.

Scott MacLeod banged in a rocket from 30 yards for the third on the half hour and the team closed out the first half three goals up.

Kilmallie have a history of great comebacks at Shawbost though, starting the second half on a mission and a Stuart Ross goal on 63 mins had the Caol side believing, but then Donald Lamont popped up to score a few minutes later. Then young Callum MacRitchie scored a cracker of a first senior goal to make it 5-1 and secure the points for good with just over ten minutes remaining

5-1 is the club’s biggest winning margin at home in the league and the third time the club has scored 5 goals to win at home (Lochaber 2016, Strathspey 2013).

Thanks to Boyd MacKenzie for refereeing, and to Kilmallie for coming over. We always appreciate their efforts in sending teams to Lewis.

It was great way to get over the disappointment from last week when the club pushed league leaders Lovat all the way before succumbing to a late goal to lose 2-1 at home. Ally Lamont scored our goal.

Next week we welcome Strathglass to Shawbost looking to do the double over the Cannich side. Strathglass defeated Beauly 2-0 which allowed us to close the gap on the team in sixth.

The photo at the top is a very candid Al Reed.

Top Scorers

Paul Duke 6

Donald Lamont, David Cleary 4

Ally Lamont 3

Al Reed, Callum MacRitchie, Scott MacLeod, Peter Gomez, Alexander Gordon, Crisdean MacRae 1


David Cleary farewell goal not enough to prevent Lochaber leaving with points.

June 24th, 2018 No comments


On Saturday, the first team had  a competitive game against Lochaber but the Spean Bridge side eventually came away from their visit to Shawbost with a 3-1 win.  It looked like we might get something from the game at halftime as David Cleary managed to level the scores at 1-1 but Lochaber grabbed two second half goals to put the result beyond doubt. However, the first team was competitive throughout and continue to show improvement with the big test of high scoring Lovat next weekend.

It was appropriate that David signed off from a brief but impactful Dubh is Gorm career with a goal against the team he also scored his very first goal against last season (in a slightly more ignominious 11-1 defeat). A native of Tipperary who grew up playing hurling, David has worked as a maths teacher at the Nicolson Institute for the last couple of years and the club has been very lucky to have his input on and off the pitch.  After a couple of games adapting to the change from hurling to shinty, David has become an important player with 7 goals to his credit. He has also had a big impact in the school, taking on the coaching burden after Ally Lamont left last session, and bringing through the excellent crop of youngsters who are now taking a much bigger role on the pitch.


Donald Lamont said “For a man who has only played two half-seasons, David has had a big impact, he’s a great character and will be missed especially for his work with the youth. As a sign of his undoubted impact on the youth he was presented with a hurling helmet in Irish colours and a Tipperary sliotar by the young players he has coached.”

David now heads to Thailand to take up a teaching position abroad and he goes with our very best wishes, and he will always have a warm welcome in Eilean an Fhraoich. (David (left) pictured with Club Captain Peter Gomez and Ally Lamont)



Derek Keir Visit

June 21st, 2018 No comments


Defeat to Lochcarron brings unbeaten run of games to a close

June 16th, 2018 No comments

diablo and the crisdeans

The club’s record unbeaten run came to an end with a 5-2 home defeat to Lochcarron. Dukey scored his sixth of the season to draw us level early on, but Lochcarron went away with it early second half, Ally drew it back to 4-2 but na Carranaich went home with 5 goals to stop us going 5 without loss. Thanks to Lochcarron for coming over, always appreciate their support for shinty in Lewis and Harris. It’s been a good month though, and shows the great potential the club has with dedication, effort and organisation. Thanks also to all who came and supported, including Ina and Crisdean Mòr coming all the way from Achmore (Stromeferry not the Lewis one!). Taing mhòr gu Ina airson na dealbhan cuideachd! Bu mhath ur faicinn.

We now face a run of three challenging home fixtures over the next wee while, Lochaber, Lovat then Kilmallie. Hopefully the clubs are all able to make the trip to Lewis this season.

Top Scorers

Paul Duke 6

Donald Lamont, David Cleary 3

Ally Lamont, Peter Gomez, Alexander Gordon, Crisdean MacRae 1


Photos by Ina MacRae

3-3 Draw vs Cabers makes it four games unbeaten

June 10th, 2018 No comments

With a 3-3 draw at home to Caberfeidh, Camanachd Leòdhais club marked four league games undefeated in a row, the best run in the club’s history to date, thanks to a Paul Duke hat-trick. Dukey’s hat-trick was his first for the club, Duncan MacIntyre holds the record of hat-tricks with three. Dukey also raced into the lead with the race for the drams, bring his total up to 5 goals with the season not even halfway over, two a head of Donald Lamont and David Cleary.

The draw took us level with Beauly in 6th on 7 points, but behind them on goal difference. The fact that Cabers are still undefeated and actually went top of the table after the game shows how good a point this was. The team they replaced at the top, Lochcarron, visit Shawbost next Saturday and games with the Wester Ross side have always been great occasions in the past. Make sure you come along and support, it makes all the difference as we look to maintain our unbeaten home record.

You can read Caberfeidh’s take on the match here, thanks to them for a great game as always:

School News

The Nicolson Institute Shinty team travelled to sunny Plockton last week to compete in a 6 a side tournament. The school was represented by two teams who competed against teams from Plockton H.S, Lochaber H.S, Portree H.S and Inverness Royal Academy.
They gave a very account of themselves, playing some good shinty in a very sporting manner. The Nicolson more than held their own, winning 5 out of the 8 matches contested by NI teams.
NI Shinty takes places every Friday 14.00 to 15.00, all are welcome.


Back to winning ways at the Bught: Inverness 0 – Leòdhas 3

June 3rd, 2018 No comments

The club recorded its first win at the Bught Park since 2015 with a three nil win over a youthful Inverness second team. This was the club’s third game without defeat thanks to goals from Donald Lamont, David Cleary and an own goal in the first half. The game was an agreed switch of venue between the sides, which will see Inverness now travel to Sgoil Shiaboist later in the year. The win lifts the club into 7th in the table, 1pt ahead of Strathspey who have played a game less.

In the next two weekends old friends Caberfeidh and Lochcarron will travel for successive Ross-shire derbies at Siabost. Come along and the support the Dubh is Gorm.

Tributes paid as Will Church sets sail for pastures new

May 20th, 2018 No comments



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.


will v cabers


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

3-3 Home Draw v Strathspey, Beauly visit on 19th May

May 18th, 2018 No comments

The first home game of the season played against old sparring partners Strathspey was a game that was affected by the strong West Side wind, and saw us race ahead 3-0 thanks to a goal by Donald Lamont and a brace by David Cleary but then Strathspey level it at 3-3 but for us then to hold on. It was an exciting match and one that showed the renewed resilience of our side this season.

For the statistically minded, it was also the first time the club has taken at least a point from the homecoming fixture since entering the leagues.

Also thanks to finding some scoring form this year,  here is the goalscorers chart in the Race for the Drams.

David Cleary 2

Paul Duke 2

Donald Lamont 2

Crisdean MacRae 1

Peter Gomez 1

Up this Saturday 19th is a home game against Beauly. We have already played Beauly in the Sutherland Cup, succumbing to a 5-0 defeat at Braeview Park.  This will be a challenging fixture but one that will hopefully see manager John Macaskill continue to blood our young squad.

Leòdhas V Beauly, Sgoil Shiaboist
Saturday 19 May
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