New kits for Leodhais

Camanachd Leòdhais received their new set of youth strips from Lewis Wind Power on Saturday.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 28th February 2016, 8:00 am

The sets were handed over by David Morrison of Lewis Wind Power.

The iconic “Dubh is Gorm” strips were desperately needed as the club have seen an exponential growth of the sport at youth level over the winter.

Regular Saturday sessions have attracted over 30 youngsters on an ongoing basis with coaching provided by the club’s Camanachd Association trained coaches.

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The club has also helped establish after-school clubs in Point, Pairc and Lochs, in addition to maintaining its links with Stornoway Primary.

Thursday 18th February saw Active Schools run a development competition for Sgoil an Rubha and Stornoway Primary at Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais.

With mixed teams, it was an edifying spectacle of skills and passion, with several youngsters looking like real prospects for the future.

A similar event is planned for the Lochs/Pairc schools cluster under the guidance of Head Youth coach Al Reed who has done sterling development work over the last couple of years in the area.

Head of Youth Development Eòghan Stewart is delighted with the progress over the winter.

“There has probably been a perception in the past that shinty has been the poor relation in terms of youth sport in the island,” he said.

“In the past we haven’t been as tuned in as we could be and it’s always going to be hard going up against well-funded sports like soccer and rugby.

“However, shinty is increasingly seen as a really positive option for kids in terms of coaching culture, participation and inclusion by parents and we are seeing that in the increased numbers.

“The backing of Lewis Wind Power is also a sign that the sport has a high profile which can attract quality sponsors, and we thank them for their kind donation.”

May 7th will see a committee of said parents organise an open day at Shawbost to herald the start of the home season. Camanachd Leòdhais senior team compete against Caberfeidh, but the morning will be filled with a youth tournament and other activities. It is hoped that Uist Camanachd will be able to send a team to compete.

Stewart continued: “We are very lucky with our parents. They are as passionate and engaged with shinty as their kids and they’ve already to take the initiative in terms of organising events.

“We can only encourage this. We’re also really blessed with the enthusiasm of Eric MacLeod and Steven Munro at the Comhairle, they have been very supportive especially in fitting in the successful event last week when their calendar was already in place.”

On the senior front, Lewis hope to complete their preparations for the league season with an away game to neighbours Skye Camanachd in Portree.

This match up with last year’s North Division Two champions will be held for the John “Kaid” MacLean Cup, named after the famed Gaelic bard and raconteur who composed Eilean mo Chridhe, and was a mover and shaker in shinty circles before an untimely death in a railway accident on Loch Lomond-side in the early 1930s.

This will be a tough and testing assignment for Duncan MacIntyre’s side but should see the return of several players to rejoin the squad who overcome Lochcarron at the beginning of the month, including Innes Lamont, Paul Duke and Stuart “Tyson” Campbell.

The manager will hope his team can put in a strong performance that will stand them in good stead before their trip to Caberfeidh in the first weekend of March.