Although Camanachd Leòdhais eventually succumbed 6-0 to Lochaber Camanachd in the final away match of the season, the scoreline was certainly not a reflection of the balance of play or the effort put in by the islanders.
The long journey to Spean Bridge had a very good start as Lewis looked the strongest in the first quarter of an hour, with the defence and midfield hitting strongly and the forwards exploiting the spaces. However, they failed to really test out Pat Toal in these early stages. Toal was one of many in the home team who had clocked up massive amounts of Premiership experience, but Lewis did not look out of sorts against a side which had Scotland internationalist Shaun Nicolson at full centre.
Lochaber seemed to have underestimated the islanders and they gradually started to wake-up but the away side held firm, with Innes Lamont on form in particular.
However on 25 minutes, the rub of the green fell to Lochaber, Calum Stamper left his goal to make a clearance, it was by no means a poor one, it was low and only travelled about 35 yards but it was out wide and would on any other day have caused no problem, except it fell to the barrel chested Danny Delaney who coolly rifled it into the open net from over 30 yards. A fine finish in any circumstances.
Five minutes later, captain Kenny Murray dropped a massive clanger when he inexplicably failed with a simple push of a stationary ball out of play, this allowed Macdonald in to score Lochaber’s second.
Innes Lamont was to be lost to an unfortunate knee injury moments later, requiring stitches at the Belford in Fort William but Conor Macdonald did well against Scotland Women’s internationalist Kirsty Delaney for the remainder of the match, getting some much needed extended match practice.
Whilst Lochaber’s first couple had been from fortuitous circumstances, their third was a classic, slicing the Dubh is Gorm up the middle like a Niseach gutting a Guga. A defence splitting pass played in Brennan Macdonald and it was three-nil.
The Lewis forwards saw less of the ball but everyone battled gainfully as half time approached, Daniel “Gaga” Gallagher taking the “when in doubt put it out” philosophy to its full extent.
Shaun Nicolson started to roam forward and Lochaber managed to make themselves comfortable with the final hit of the first half, with Lochaber again getting a goal similar to the first one, a not bad clearance falling to Danny Delaney again and picking his spot making it 4-nil.
Lochaber would be gifted a couple of goals in the second half, with Macdonald and Ben Delaney finishing the score at 6-nil. Against other opponents Lewis might very well have got away with the majority of the mistakes which plagued the performance but the quality of the Lochaber side was evident.
Iain Sinclair reflected: “Everyone played well today, it was just unfortunate that we were punished so heavily for a handful of errors. I don’t think there were six goals in it and Lochaber had a very strong side out. I genuinely believe we can go out and win every game we play and I’m looking forward to next weekend’s match v Aberdeen University greatly.”
This weekend, Aberdeen University make their first ever visit to the island, bookending the season,
However, the Camanachd Leòdhais “Blones” team had a successful Saturday last weekend. The young ladies put in a sterling performance in the first ever Women’s Camanachd Association sanctioned fixture in the Western Isles, against the young and developing Inverness side. The match was decided by a fine goal from Demelza Anderson, which delivered the team’s first win after a couple of defeats to Skye and Glengarry.