The following is an article from the Glasgow Herald October 12th 1989. It previews the Mod Cup game played at Bayhead in 1989 between Skye Camanachd and Beauly Shinty Club for the Aviemore Trophy. Skye would win the game 4-2.
Of note are several things- Henry MacInnes would of course go on to serve shinty in Lewis well as a referee, retiring only last year; Martin MacLean who turned out for Beauly in this game would also play in the first league game played in Lewis in 2011 for Lochbroom, and that match also saw nets lonaed by Skye Camanachd used. The Skye squad that attended this match would also feature almost the entire squad that would win the Camanachd Cup in 1990.
SKYE will set off on a western safari shortly after 4am tomorrow with the object of linking the language and sport of the Gael. The destination is Stornoway where they will meet Beauly to contest the Mod Cup in the first shinty match played on the island of Lewis for several decades.
The journey is one that Indiana Jones might be proud of. The party of 20 will be attempting to make the first ferry from Kyelakin to Kyle at 5.30am followed by a 130-mile road trip to link at 9.15am with the Ullapool to Stornoway ferry. Their estimated time of arrival is 1.15pm.
After such a punishing schedule, caused by the absence of a Friday ferry from Uig to Tarbert, Harris, and depending on the condition of the Minch, it is tempting to make a joke about the term used for the start of a game — throw-up, in this case at 4pm — being particularly apt, but the two sides are taking the challenge match seriously.
Skye, currently second in north division one, are operating a policy of team places only to those who turn up for weekly training sessions and their squad is strengthened by the return from suspension of forwards Willie Cowie and John MacRae. They will team up with Peter Gordon to present Beauly a formidable forward line.
Beauly will start as underdogs, and although they have taken just three points from their first five league games they have been heartened by recent performances of 21-year-old Iain MacLean in defence and 16-year-old Jamie MacLennan in attack.
The game is being played across two rugby pitches in the town, one of the few places on the island capable of staging a shinty match which requires a field minimum size of 140 yards by 70 yards. Skye are bringing goal nets and goalposts are being specially made locally.
The referee, Henry MacInnes, is a Gaelic speaker but will be required to officiate in English because the entire Beauly team and several of the Skye players are what Gaelic-language zealots would describe as English-speaking monoglots.
The match coincides with the last day of the Mod and the apres-shinty could also have a touch of the Harrison Fords before the long journeyhome.
Beauly — (from) Gary MacDonald, Tommy Bell, James Cruickshanks, Iain MacLean, Roger Cormack, Stephen MacLean, Calum Bain, Alan MacDonald, Iain Flynn, Fraser MacRae, Jamie MacLennan, Martin MacLean, James Fraser, Ewan MacColl, William MacLean.
Skye — (from) John MacKenzie, Duncan MacDougall, Ewan MacKinnon, Willie MacRae, Alastair MacDonald, Calum MacLean, Peter Gordon, Willie Cowie, John MacRae, Willie MacKinnon, Andy MacLean, Alastair Grant, Donnie MacDonald, John Finlayson, Donald MacLeod.
Referee — Henry MacInnes (Alness).
The next section was the report on the game from the Glasgow Herald on October 19 1989.
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 for next year in Glasgow.
Ironically, 1990 was one of the years where no fixture was planned for the Mod Cup. Thankfully, Bayhead has hosted several HebCelt Cup matches over the years, as well as the Iolaire Memorial Game and a friendly against St Andrew’s University although it is still not the right dimensions for an official senior shinty match.