New Year delight for Lewis Shinty

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After a great day of shinty at Smith Avenue Astroturf, Camanachd Leòdhais looked back on a successful 2015 with the Annual Awards Dinner at Stornoway Golf Club.

The inclement weather over the preceding days had forced the game to be played for the first time on the plastic, but a great crowd gathered for the Iomain Challainn Òg for juvenile age players. Lochs defeated the Rest of Lewis & Harris 2-1. Coach for Sgoil nan Loch and Sgoil Phàirc, Al Reed, named his most committed players of 2015, Dylan Pryor (Lochs) and Malin Grafton (Pairc) and the most improved players from each session, David MacKay (Lochs) and Fergus Malcolm (Pairc).

The main event was an entertaining battle between a side managed by first team fitness coach Will Church, unable to play on Astroturf due to concerns about the impact of the surface on his body, and a side managed by former club manager Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair who stepped down after three years at the helm in the autumn.

Team Church drew first blood after around twenty minutes as Conor Macdonald bagged a predator’s goal after springing on an assist from Paul Duke. The Church Select then punished Team Diablo further when Donald Lamont doubled their advantage just before half-time.

In the second half, it took around ten minutes before Macdonald smashed in a quick-fire brace to complete a fine hat-trick. The converted goalkeeper making a great early play to force himself into the reckoning for a starting spot for the ever-watchful Duncan MacIntyre.

In the evening, players and officials retired to the Golf Club. Alicia MacSween received the honour of being named the first ever ladies player of the year, with Ruaraidh MacMillan picking up the Junior Player of the Year Award after a great debut season that saw him impress at the National Development Camp.

Player of the Year went in absentia to club captain, Kenny “Duffy” Murray, the ex-Lochcarron veteran having played an important role at points last season, such as the epic 1-0 win over Caberfeidh at Castle Leod.

Manager Duncan MacIntyre beamed: “Each and everyone of our Award Winners: Kenny, Alicia and Ruaraidh, display all the attributes we want from all associated with Camanachd Leòdhais , they are a credit to the Club and great role models for all of us at the Club.

“We now move on to Pre-Season Build up in earnest, details of Pre-Season Friendlies will be available shortly. Looking forward to a successful Season on all fronts.”

A festive game was also held in North Uist on Boxing Day, with a good crowd of players involved in a fine ten-a-side match at Bayhead, Paible, which finished 2-1, after a few years where the event was not well attended. Shinty in the Hebrides in general seems to be on the up.

Pictured is the shinty squad on the Stornoway Astro-Turf.