Glen man takes over Shinty's top job
The election of Glenurquhart’s Jim Barr to the Presidency of the Camanachd Association is as good a reason as can be given for any Glen blog let alone the “D” coming on line again after a two month stutter. That stutter has in no small measure been due to the manner of the Glen’s defeat in the Camanachd Cup final and the loss of the Shinty/Hurling series to the Irish after what can only be described as a disappointing second leg In Newry.
Still Jim Barr’s appointment on Friday 27th is rightly marked as an important occasion in the history of Glenurquhart Shinty Club. Not only is Jim the first Glen president of the Association but he is probably the most famous Glenner to come out of Balmacaan Road since Burton Morrison, Mike Cameron and Eddie Tembo. Certainly, he is not quite as famous as his son John however who when the Wing Centre last checked up on had his own Wiki page but undoubtedly Jim will probably be accorded one now.
On a more serious note Jim brings to the Camanachd post much experience, common sense and a deep knowledge of the game. He first made his name as a member of the very successful Aberdeen University side of the early 1970s. When he the left University side he resumed his links with the Glen and played with the red and blacks at all levels. He also managed the Glen firsts and served as Chairman. He has also served his time on the Board of the Camanachd Association in various roles and his years of management experience at a senior level in the oil industry will stand him in good stead as he guides the Association through the various stages of its next strategic plan.
The picture of Jim on the night could have been better if Neil Paterson had been present but the snap of Jim in the helmet from a year or two back is perhaps more appropriate both because he may need that helmet for protection in the years to come and because it also sends out a message to young players that wearing a helmet can be cool. On the other hand looking at the pic, perhaps not. Whatever happens in the short term however, the long term future for shinty as it is for hurling must be helmeted. The Insurers in the long run will see to that.
The most pressing business of the AGM was the increase in the Premier League to 10 teams – and the maintenance of the National League as the tier below though it was not increased in numbers to the disappointment of some. Nor was it scrapped altogether to the equally felt disappointment of others. The only thing this writer would say, apart from the obvious that the whole scene needs to be monitored carefully, is the fact that the Board should perhaps look sympathetically at the cup entry regulations for the 1 team clubs. In the North that means for the moment Lochcarron, Boleskine, Glengarry et al. The MacTavish is beyond them and if experience last year is anything to go by teams will pull out depending on who they are drawn against. They do have the plate but that too will be the preserve of bigger teams. They perhaps need a chance in at least one of the other national trophies.
The increase in games at Premier level as Fraser Inglis sensibly pointed out in the post meeting session also calls into question the viability of having a two leg international series. The maintenance of a single fixture however is a must for the profile of the sport.
The evening also saw the yearly awards to the players and the awards were as follows:
Young player of the year-Fraser Heath
Before that the inaugural GUSC Youth awards were held in the theatre at Glenurquhart High School and a series of excellent pics of the presentation were presented on the club website courtesy of Andrew and Sheena Lloyd. The names of the winners were also recorded and will of course appear for posterity in the next edition of the Glenurquhart Bulletin. A number of these pics appear here.
The youngsters did particularly well this season and a later Blog will detail their year.
Also worthy of mention was the fact that Fraser Heath represented Scotland under21s while John Barr was chosen for the senior match. Stuart Reid headed the management team for the Scotland womens side while Ewan Menzies was a member of the victorious Scottish University side which defeated the Irish in the mixed code game.
At the start of the month the Wing Centre got a bit of a surprise. He was down late to the Ballachulish v Skye playoff match and on the way there he was met by a man who said. “I see the Glen have had to step in at the last minute to make a game of it. Ballachulish probably could not get past the landslides they keep having at Onich.”
From the gate of the field that’s what it looked like: one team was wearing the familiar red and black –but the Wing Centre did not recognise the players until he got close enough to make out that it was John Macdonald, Lorne Brown, Donald Wilson, Clark the full back and the rest of the Balla boys who were in the Glen strip.
Unfortunately it did not bring them luck but at the very least it was good for the general exposure of the Glen sponsors because Neil Paterson who took the pics (and is here gratefully acknowledged) managed to get some into the P & J. As a game it was a good enough contest which drew a large crowd from both communities who were passionate in their support, so to speak.
In the end it did not matter because thanks to the AGM’s decision to restructure the Leagues both sides progressed to the next level of shinty.
What’s next on the agenda for Glen shinty? Only these next two minor details