Festival of shinty to see in the New Year

There was a wonderful festival of Shinty at Bayhead Pitches, Stornoway on Hogmanay with the Western Isles’ senior shinty team, Camanachd Leòdhais welcoming back some old hands and some special guests for the traditional Iomain Challainn.

This year the game was between the Reds and the Blues, the Reds being predominantly those over 25. The Reds lined up under the management of Stuart “Tyson” Campbell and the Blues under Andrews MacAskill and Macdonald.

The Reds welcomed veteran of Ballachulish and Skye, presently playing for Inverness, Dougie Rankin and the Blues had Ewan Mackay making a rare appearance.

Both players were involved heavily in the days action. The first half was goalless with the Reds having a lot of pressure but no goals. Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair saved a low shot from Michael MacLeod of the Blues and Scott Murray then shot wide for the Blues.

In the second half Dougie Rankin went up front but the Reds were caught out at the back with Blues’ Ewan Mackay opening scoring from a rebound off Sinclair. Shortly after they added a second with MacKay latching onto a cross and slotting it past Sinclair. The Third was added when Scott Murray caught Sinclair out off his goal and fired in a belter from half way and it was not looking good for Reds.

They roared back however with Rankin’s move up front paying off as he pulled one back. However, Fraser Binns put the Blues back ahead when his shot was stopped by Ainclair with his hand but it stilllanded over the line. However The Reds romped back with a stunning Will Church hat trick and the match finished 4-4.

It went to the lottery of penalties and after five taken it was one apiece, Kenny Mould for the Blues and Rankin for the Reds, but it was Sean MacLeod’s sudden death hit which snatched victory for the Reds.

It was a tremendous occasion for the club and the play on show bodes well for the upcoming 2013 season. Training continues Saturdays, follow the club on facebook and at camanachdleodhais.com.

For a review of all the 2012 shinty action see this week’s Stornoway Gazette out on Thursday, January 3rd.