A sizable crowd was on hand at Smith Avenue on Saturday to see Camanachd Leòdhais retain the Heb Celt Cup with a 6-0 win over Uist, the culmination of a busy week for the club.
The week began with the Craig Morrison Sixes. An annual event now for several years, the strong turnout saw the advent of a junior tournament in addition to the senior one. Both tournaments were played in great spirit, with Tolsta Terrors coming out on top amongst the juniors and Simply the Best outlasting Al’s Pals in a shootout to take the senior trophy. The club took a collection on the night and raised over £150 for the British Heart Foundation.
Junior shinty is always an important part of Heb Celt week and this year was no different with a shinty camp being held throughout the week as part of the Motive8 programme. As popular as ever, the camp saw children as far afield as the Glasgow area joining local youngsters in drills and activities, with a demonstration game being played on Saturday before the seniors took the field.
As for the Heb Celt Cup match itself; Leòdhas were able to call on a strong squad. Paddy Sinclair returned to the team and manager Duncan MacIntyre opted to play with the same forward line that had recently put five past Lochaber.
Aberdeen University’s Graham Black bolstered the Uist defence whilst Joseph MacInnes, who has featured for Lewis this season, was back in his native colours and playing at full centre.
On a quest to win the Cup for a fourth year in a row, Lewis were on the forefront from the first whistle and nerves were settled within the first five minutes as Donald Lamont opened the scoring, the forward creating some space and dispatching a shot into the back of the net.
Lewis looked to press their advantage and goals by Scott MacLeod and a second by Lamont had the ‘dubh is gorm’ 3-0 up after only 26 minutes.
Uist began to provide more resistance at this point and whilst their forwards tested goalkeeper Euan Gilmour on a couple of occasions, the Lewis backline marshalled their counterparts well overall, with Michael MacLeod having a strong game at half back.
Arguably the best moment of the match came on the stroke of halftime as Scott MacLeod took a long ball down on his chest, turned towards goal and fired home Lewis’ fourth goal of the game.
With a squad of sixteen, Lewis were able to make three subs at the half, with Seumas Charity and Eòghan Stewart going up front and Steven Morrison getting his first taste at the wingback position and acquitting himself very well.
Uist continued to fight doggedly to get themselves back into the game but they came up against Paul Duke who was in inspired form, distributing the ball expertly throughout the match and keeping Lewis on the front foot.
Despite some brave defending, led by Black, Lewis eventually breached the Uist defence again, Lamont scoring his first ever hat-trick in shinty with some precise shooting. Lamont wasn’t done for the day and he added another later in the game, a sixth overall for Leòdhas as they won the Heb Celt Cup for the fourth year in a row. Uist can take some consolation from their gritty performance that included Black being awarded man of the match but they will no doubt look to gain revenge when the two sides renew their rivalry in October with the Mod Cup up for grabs.
Leòdhas will be back at Shawbost on Saturday to take on Boleskine in North Division Two.
Throw up is expected to be at 2:30pm and live updates can be found on Twitter @lewiscamanachd