Camanachd Leòdhais’ new captain Duncan MacIntyre is raring to go in this year’s shinty season, which starts belatedly for the Dubh is Gorm this Saturday on Speyside.
MacIntyre’s voyage in shinty started off with Glengarry, and his time with the Lochaber club bred in him a toughness, growing up and playing with famous names of the game such as Drew McNeil and James Clark. Marriage brought Duncan to Lewis eventually and he has played an important part in the development of the sport in the islands. However, he was also absent for a few years, and this story blends with the great narrative that is Lewis Camanachd.
Duncan played a key role in the club’s very first season in 2007 on the park, and was looking forward to assisting the young side in their cup fixtures in 2008, when disaster struck. MacIntyre’s newly built house in Lochs burnt to the ground. The only worldly possession he salvaged from the fire was a pair of the famous Lewis black shorts. He still wears the same pair in every match.
The time constraints of rebuilding his home as well as a new job and busy family life, meant that Duncan found it hard to commit to shinty. (A HebCelt Cup win in 2008 his only game before 2012), and concerns about his knees kept him off the park. A changed diagnosis and the fact that Lewis were gaining a lot more games with league status meant that MacIntyre couldn’t resist the drug of shinty much longer. Soon he was back on the phone to then-manager Paul Duke and grabbing his caman out the pickup once more.
Having played his whole career as a defender, when he made his comeback in 2012, it was as a forward. He made a goal-scoring return to the sport against Beauly, and although no more goals came, towards the end of his comeback season, there were signs that he was starting to find his groove.
In 2013, in tandem with Will Church, the two struck up a productive partnership, the tough and wily veteran meshing with the athletic late-convert to the sport of the Gael. MacIntyre finished the season with two hat-tricks to his name (and a fourth goal for good measure against Uist), and an overall total of 13, one behind Church.
MacIntyre will also be taking on the role of assistant manager for Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair and is looking forward to the season. He is enjoying the spirit in the squad right now. “The fact the boys were prepared to take a last-minute flight to fulfil a pre-season friendly against Lochbroom shows the dedication of our players and if we show that dedication on the park, we will make some real progress this year.” The whole of Lewis and Harris will be hoping that their team can do the business this year.
Lewis start the season with a challenging away fixture to Strathspey, throwing up at 1.30pm in Grantown at the new shinty pitch at Grantown Grammar. The club is looking for new members for the 100 club to support Duncan and the boys, contact a committee member for more info.