Camanachd Leodhais player boss steps down after season finale

Lewis Camanachd Players with Scottish Rugby Legend Jason White at Development Camp
Lewis Camanachd Players with Scottish Rugby Legend Jason White at Development Camp

LEWIS Camanachd bid farewell to Shawbost for the close season with a fine but ultimately disappointing performance against top three side Boleskine.

The Inverness-shire team featured several players with island connections, Doneil MacLeod, Lewis Smith and goalkeeper Craig Pirrie and they drew a reasonably good crowd to the West Side sward.

Lewis welcomed back Duncan MacIntyre, Stuart Campbell and Eoghan Stewart into the fold and the experienced three-some brought some steel to proceedings, but a foot injury meant that the mercurial Scott Murray took a turn in goals which gave Conor MacDonald a rare turn outfield at wing back.

Lewis started brightly and had some good pressure but on the quarter of an hour mark a ball broke to Annie Butterworth – the ladies international showing that she was the equal of any man on the park – she coolly fired the ball home from twenty yards after being given just a little time to put Boleskine ahead.

However, na Leodhasaich rallied brightly as they put the Loch Ness-side under a lot of pressure without really punishing them or testing Pirrie between the posts.

The island defence, although unfamiliar, dealt clinically with any sallies, with Paul Duke at full-back and Eoghan Stewart excellent at wing-back. Lewis finished the first-half on the front foot and went into half time with a positive talk from Duke.

However, lady luck deserted the Leodhasachs straight from the throw-up, the impressive Innes Lamont losing his stick in a challenge which allowed Annie Butterworth to pass the ball into the path of Smith, unmarked on the edge of the D giving Murray no chance.

Lewis again rallied but Paddy Sinclair and Michael MacLeod, who recently attended the Scottish Hydro Development Camp, tired in midfield and this meant that it was backs to the wall with last ditch challenges. On the hour mark, a shot came in which Murray was adjudged to have stopped with his foot although it looked like he had taken it with the stick. The resulting penalty was scored by Smith who then completed his hat-trick with quarter of an hour to go after a positioning swap by Duke and Stewart.

Lewis fought bravely until the end but a lack of clinical finishing and perhaps fatigue go the better of them. A final goal by Ewen Fraser should have been off-side but the young playmaker got a goal to make it an unreflective five-nil to the visitors, although his own play throughout the day merited a goal.

It was an end of an era for Lewis, with manager Paul Duke announcing his departure from the role at the end of the season before the match, and it was a shame that Lewis could not mark his last home fixture in charge with at least a point.

“My partner and I are expecting a second child so the commitment of management will be just too onerous,” said Duke, “but we’re hopeful the club can find an individual who can carry the team forward.

“We’ve made great leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and I still believe we can pick up some points against Beauly in the last game of the season. I’ll be available for selection as well and I think we can kick on seriously next year.”

As mentioned earlier Michael MacLeod and Paddy Sinclair attended the Scottish Hydro Development Camp at Strathallan Camp and were joined by Connor Chalmers, who also featured against Boleskine. They impressed the wide range of coaches including Gary Innes and Ronald Ross. Camanachd Leodhais will be looking to expand their youth development and are looking at starting feeder clubs in Back and Stornoway, as well as in Harris. Please contact Paul Duke for more information on 07769271406.

Please also contact Paul if you would like to join the supporter’s bus to Beauly on the 11th.

More information can be found at camanachdleodhais.com.