Shinty pathway for Lewis youngsters

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Shinty has proven a big hit with the children of Lochs in the last few months.

Camain nan Loch, which takes place every Wednesday from 6.30-8.00pm at Balallan Hall, is introducing a whole new generation to the sport of the Gael.

The club, which caters for ages 6 to 12, is led by Camanachd Leòdhais regular Al Reed. Al himself is a product of the Lewis youth system, who had an impressive season in midfield this year, and has always shown a strong interest in coaching. He is delighted with the progress of his young charges.

“Training has been going extremely well. We are seeing steady numbers turning up every week and news faces coming to the sport. I am looking forward to getting them out on the grass when the weather improves and the nights grow lighter.”

As well as encouraging all round enjoyment of the sport, Al sees the young Lochies as being integral to the future of shinty on the island, following in his own footsteps as well as that of fellow Loch shinty heroes, Duncan MacIntyre and Alasdair Mackenzie.

“It’s great seeing new players enjoying the sport and they’re also going to be the new members of the senior team in a couple of years. Coaching has also improved my own way of playing. If anyone is interested in coming along from Lewis or Harris, we’d welcome them warmly.”

Camain nan Loch training has now stopped for Christmas but will resume in early January. All updates are to be found on the Camanachd Leòdhais facebook page.

It is hoped that there will be plenty of competitions for the young Lochs boys and girls against other island youth teams in the New Year, with the recent donation of medals leftover from Iomain Cholmcille, the Gaelic Shinty Hurling International, for use in youth competition.

In other news, the annual Iomain Challainn will take place in Stornoway on the 3rd of January 2015. This traditional New Year match will mark the 20th Anniversary of the match at Tong organised by the late Dr Barden, which was vital in spurring the resurrection of shinty in the Islands.