Shinty stars ready for new campaign

After the news of Camanachd Leòdhais’ cup draws for 2016, last Friday saw the Camanachd Association publish the shinty league fixtures for the year ahead.

Na Leòdhasaich line-up yet again in Marine Harvest North Division Two, with a familiar list of foes awaiting them. As part of the customary block of away games, they will line up first against Caberfeidh on March 5th, followed the rest of the month by Aberdeen University, Lochcarron and Boleskine. Lewis in all have nine game off-island before they return to Siabost and a homecoming fixture against Kilmallie on May 7th.

A shinty fixture list is only as good as the weather sometimes, but all being well Lewis will also have their final away fixture in August against the Caol side, before Grantown-on-Spey side, Strathspey, close out the league season with a visit on August 20th.

In his debut season as manager, Lewis shinty gaffer Duncan MacIntyre was in a positive mood, “It’s always great to have the fixtures announced and the anticipation to build for the start of the season. A well-balanced fixture list which brings real opportunity and fresh challenge for us here at Camanachd Leòdhais.”

This weekend, MacIntyre and his troops will hope to get some much-needed pre-season action against recently relegated Lochcarron, away at Battery Park.

It is hope that the weather in the Wester Ross village is clement enough to hold the game, but if cancelled this will be the third year in a row that the two sides have had to cancel a pre-season friendly. If the game goes ahead, you’ll read about it here in the Gazette.

Lewis have also confirmed the pre-season stop off in Uist next weekend (Feb 13th). This will be the first of three planned senior games against the Southern Islanders this year, with the HebCelt Cup in July and the Mòd Cup in October.

It has also been announced that the pre-season game against Skye Camanachd on Feb 27th will be played for the John “Kaid” Maclean Cup, a memorial to the renowned Gaelic bard and raconteur who is also commemorated by a cairn at Ardlui, Loch Lomondside. Kingussie defeated Skye Camanachd for the trophy at the Festurbert Commemorations last year.

Youth shinty continues throughout February and March at 2pm at Ionad Spòr Leòdhais on Saturdays, although there will be a break for the long weekend on Saturday 13th February. All youngsters aged 8 and over are welcome for skills and games.