Camanachd Leòdhais rose to second place in North Division Three whilst also derailing Kilmallie’s title challenge with a fine performance at Shawbost.
A fine day on the West Side saw Michael MacLeod, Donald Lamont and Kenny “Duffy” Murray welcomed back but it was another returnee who would have most impact on proceedings.
In the middle of the field, Stuart “Tyson” Campbell rolled back the years with a considered, classy performance. Reminiscent of Italian football lynchpin Andrea Pirlo, little prods and pushes, clever distribution and positioning, the big Sgitheanach controlled the game.
Lewis had the better of the early exchanges, Al “Seasalt” Reed had a pop from distance and the dipping, looping ball bounced off the top of the crossbar. Will Church also had an opportunity to burst the net when unmarked on the edge of the area.
However, Kilmallie had their fair share of chances and when Lewis keeper Euan Gilmour sloppily cleared the ball straight back to Bryan MacKay, but the dangerous frontman drilled the ball past the open net by six inches.
The second half saw the wind in the favour of the islanders and Lewis started the second half very well. Paddy Sinclair was having a strong game at wing centre, and with “Tyson” continuing his imperious form, the forwards were receiving lots of ball and finally they received their reward on the hour mark.
Church, who had scored against Kilmallie earlier in the campaign, skipped past a few defenders to slam the ball home, making it 4 for the season. Lewis continued to push, but Kilmallie were never out of it.
MacKay levelled 10 minutes later from the spot after Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher conceded a kick after the Caol side had caused chaos at the back.
Lewis rallied very strongly, Donald Lamont putting the Islanders back in front on 80 minutes with his third of the season but again the Lochaber side fought back and young Innes Blackhall made it 2-2 just 3 minutes later, his low and straight shot, just finding a way through Gilmour’s legs.
However, all was not lost for Lewis, who had catastrophically thrown away a lead against the same side at Shawbost the year previous. This time there would be no mistake, and both points were staying in Lewis. The winner came 4 minutes from time when Paul Duke scored to the delight of the home support. Kilmallie did not get another chance, and Church brought the spirit of Jim Baxter 1967 with a circuitous run to both corners to reduce the clock! Defenders Macleod, Murray and Eòghan Stewart put the shutters up and the final whistle from Calum Girvan saw big celebrations from the home support and players.
Club captain Duncan MacIntyre talked about the importance of a victory over one of the most illustrious names in the sport: “I have found the last few weeks very frustrating because I knew we had it in us to play like we did today. We now know what we are capable of by pulling off the best result in our young club’s history!”
The strong support was certainly the thirteenth man on Saturday and hopefully with more positive Dubh is Gorm results, the crowds will continue to rock up to Shawbost. The club will have a sixes day this weekend, before the Strathdearn Plate quarter-final away to Lovat.
One game remains before the split, against Lochbroom. Even with a positive result in that fixture, other teams have games in hand, but Na Leòdhasaich have at least given themselves an opportunity of making the top half of the table.
Pictured is Donald Lamont celebrating the second goal.