The CAMANACHD Association have confirmed that Camanachd Leodhais will be competing in the national shinty leagues from 2012 onwards on a permanent basis.
This is an epochal moment in the history of sport in the Western Isles and the culmination of an incredible saga which has had many twists and turns in the last 12 months.
Club manager Paul Duke said: “It’s an incredible feeling for it finally to be ratified. With everything we had achieved this year, we really left them no other option.”
Lewis Camanachd entered Marine Harvest North Division Three for the first time this year.
Their entry for 2011 was approved on the basis that there would be an end of season review with the clubs and officials involved in fixtures with Lewis Camanachd.
During the season Lewis fulfilled every game home and away with a full squad of 15 (at least) as well as being praised for the excellent facility at Shawbost School.
They scored a respectable amount of points and goals, with a win against Ardnamurchan and a draw against Strathglass, as well as winning the HebCelt Cup and Mod Cup against non-league Uist.
Their youth team also had success, with a new feeder club starting in Harris within the last few months too.
And success off the field also followed as Camanachd Leodhais won a Marine Harvest ‘Fair Play’ Award, were finalists for the Sunday Mail/SportScotland ‘Local Club of the Year’, and appeared in their own dedicated BBC Alba documentary.
The Association’s review was therefore highly positive and the reaction to the Board’s unanimous decision from across the shinty world has been overwhelming, with messages of congratulation flooding in from Newtonmore, Caberfeidh, Skye, Ullapool, Lochalsh, Lochcarron, Oban, Aberdeen, Glasgow , Edinburgh and even California in the last few hours.
“However, the hard work starts now and all players are expected to start training hard for next year,” said Club task master Paul.
“Training is on this Saturday at Ionad Spors Leodhais from 12-2 and I hope that some new faces might want to come along and join the club.”
He continued: “I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the players and members of the committee for their hard work this year, all our supporters at home and on the mainland, our 100 club members, all the clubs who came and played and gave great feedback to the Association and also our sponsors Harris Tweed Hebrides, WJ MacDonald Butchers and Independent Mortgage Shop.
“It is a costly business running a shinty club and the more members and sponsors we have the better for the future of shinty in Lewis and Harris.”
You can read a full report of Lewis Shinty’s success in next week’s Gazette out Thursday, December 15.