Camanachd Leòdhais did just enough on Saturday to secure a guaranteed Top Three finish for the first time in the club’s history. At the end of an historic week for island sport, it was unfortunate that the weather ensured only a small handful of supporters were on hand to see An Dubh is Gorm secure the draw that saw them sail into the history books.
A late goal from Lochbroom on a rain-soaked day at Shawbost made for a nervy end to what had been a great battling Lewis performance. A goal less first half had Lewis in the ascendancy, with topscorer Will Church on the end of some robust treatment from the Broom defence but it wasn’t until the hour mark that Paul Duke poked a Peter Gomez ball home. Lochbroom had brought the mercurial Jamie MacFadyen back, and he had a ding dong battle with Stuart “Tyson” Campbell and then Scott Murray. Although Murray had the better of MacFadyen, the strong east wind made it difficult for Lewis to clear their lines, even though Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher and Kenny “Duffy” Murray were in fine form.
Broom’s goal, an eventual reward for a barrage of pressure in the final 20 minutes, came from Euan “Homer” MacFadyen on 85 minutes and this scoreline meant a frantic phone call to the Camanachd Association’s offices. It was confirmed that Lewis would join tabletopping Caberfeidh, and rivals Strathspey in the top three.
Controversy will reign with the split, as Lochbroom and Kilmallie will be unable to rise above fourth with four games to go. Hopefully, this ill thought out experiment will be scrapped for next year.
Fresh from carrying the Queen’s Baton, manager Iain Sinclair was cockahoop at his own team making history saying: “Absolutely delighted. Very proud of all the effort na balaich have put in this season. That was two positive results against a robust Broom side this year, and although it was disappointing not to take both points, we look forward to taking on Spey and Cabers after the split. A massive day for the club and Eilean Leòdhais agus na Hearadh!”
Lewis now face island rivals Uist in the traditional Hebridean Celtic Festival Cup supported by the Co-operative, this Saturday at Bayhead. Uist will be bringing a strong side, looking to avenge a 7-0 defeat last year. The game is always very well attended as the Festival crowds grab this chance to watch Scotland’s sport in the heart of Stornoway. The Co-operative will have a stall at the game and admission is by donation to what is expected to be a tough game for Lewis.
Several Uist players will also join Lewis’ Ronan Sinclair in attending the Scottish Hydro National Youth Development Camp in Perthshire next week.
In other island shinty news, Skye lifted the National Intermediate Cup, the Balliemore. Central to Skye’s victory were Steven and Danny Morrison from Kyleakin whose Grandmother hails from Garrabost.