Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The waiting game is finally over - at least for the Glen.

In the end the Glen made it over the line to Premiership safety with a fine 3-1 home win over Kingussie, a hard fought 2-2 draw in the pouring rain down in Lochaber and a just about worth it 0-0 even stevens of a game at home against Kyles. It was a close run thing - but then it was a close run thing for every other team in the league apart from the top four. At all times during the last few nervous weeks despite the many siren voices saying “You’ll be all right now” this writer never really believed the Glen were totally safe until the Skyemen having beaten Kingussie 2-1 at home uncharacteristically shipped a pile of goals away to Kinlochshiel. It dented their goal difference but made it certain that the Glen who had at that stage a pretty poor goal differential themselves were no longer vulnerable.
So what’s to remember from these last few horrible weeks? For one thing Conor Golabeck put in a tremendous display against Kingussie to snatch two of the three goals that mattered. 
His first half strike through a crowd of players put the Glen ahead but after Thomas Borthwick equalised before the break the game could have got away from the Glen at any point until Golabeck got a second 13 mins from time. Neale Reid banged in a final one just on the full time whistle and it has to be said that was a crucial game in which to pick up both points ,given the way both were chucked away in the earlier fixture at the Dell.

The Lochaber game was however the one which was most closely contested. On that particular Saturday, the Glen had been hit by the perfect storm. Stuart Mackintosh and David Smart injured and out for the season; James Hurwood injured; Lewis Maclennan on the Isle of Muck and John Barr somewhere between Texas and Norway - it was a wonder the Glen were able to field a worthwhile squad. However into the breach stepped Ross MacAulay, James “Frosty” Macpherson and Rory Maclean.

What happened? Neale Reid put the Glen ahead early in the match only for Kevin Ferguson to equalise with a fortunate goal which hit keeper Iain Macleod on the chest and flew up into the roof of the net. Then we were in a dog-fight of an old fashioned kind but the main ingredient in our success is that Andrew Corrigan having put in some training was just about able to match Shaun Nicholson for pace and that made a huge difference and the game reached half time at 1-1.

Lochaber started the stronger after the break and went in front after 53 minutes with a good finish from Stuart Callison, however our poor marking had allowed the opportunity. Glen responded in the right fashion with an excellent equaliser a minute later. A long ball down the wing was gathered by Corrigan at pace and he fired the ball into the middle to be met by Frosty Macpherson who cracked a great shot first time into the roof of the net. The boy can certainly finish.

There was no further scoring and the game finished 2-2. Glen certainly needed something from the game and in the end got a most valuable point and could perhaps have left with both although a draw was probably a fair result. The quality of shinty was patchy, but the game was played in torrential conditions at times so some allowance can be made. In terms of effort and commitment and bearing in mind the absence of key personnel it was one of the Glen’s better performances against a side that showed its quality earlier in the season by taking Newtonmore all the way in the MacTavish final.
The last game of the season and the first game of October was the Kyles game and the Glen were still not safe. The list of injured absentees remained the same as before, though this week at least John Barr returned to the fold.

On the down side however Mike Brady was working and unavailable while Andrew Corrigan was called off shore on the morning of the game and Euan Lloyd was still suffering with a leg injury from the Lochaber game and was only fit to be on the bench.


The managers had tried using Fraser Heath as a man marker on Roddy MacDonald down in Kyles earlier in the season but as Roddy scored four goals that day, it could reasonably be assumed to be an unsuccessful tactic. The decision was made therefore to use Connor Golabeck at half back in this game, albeit conscious of the fact that with Corrigan also being absent there was bound to be a lack of pace in the forward line. Fraser Heath was moved to wing centre to play against Robbie MacLeod, who had also caused us problems away from home while Ally Mackintosh dropped back to wing back and Billy Urquhart and Frosty Macpherson started up front.

This was a game short in highlights though Kyles had the better of the first half but the Glen defence played very well indeed. Kyles had negated the man marking tactic by neglecting to bring Roddy MacDonald with them, which may have been just as well although Golabeck certainly had a very effective game. However the Glen struggled to create many meaningful chances up front and replaced Billy Urquhart who had been struggling with the pace of the game, with Finlay Ralston after 25 minutes. The youngster did fine but didn’t get many opportunities against a strong defence with Donald Irvine at full back and Callum Miller at half back giving little away.
At half time it was 0-0

In the second half Finlay was replaced with Euan Lloyd coming on at wing centre and Fraser Heath moving to full forward to try and increase our goal threat. This did cause a reasonable amount of ball up front and all the forwards worked hard but it is doubtful if the Kyles keeper had a save of note. There were periods in the 2nd half when we were under pressure and both the centre line and our forwards were dropping too deep to try and win the ball. The defence played well throughout: keeper Iain Macleod was tidy and cleared his lines smartly. John Barr was his usual effective self, Ally Mackintosh and Conor Golabeck also played well while Lachie Smith had a great game, fearless in the tackle and capable of great hitting. The centre line, apart from dropping too deep, worked hard but truthfully the Glen were exposed by a lack of pace up front which definitely blunted any goal threat. The game finished 0-0.


Afterwards there was disappointment that two points had been passed up though the single gained could have been a vital requirement for continued Premier status. The Glen were however in no way completely safe from the threat of relegation especially since Skye had beaten Kingussie 2-1 on the same afternoon. In the end it worked out all right though when Sandy Mackenzie knocked the ball home for Kyles late in the second half it was just as well for the Glen that he had strayed off-side.

Nothing however will make up for the loss of the Strathdearn. How on earth did that happen? Having come through to the final after a difficult game with Kingussie - Cameron Maclennan had an excellent afternoon and Kevin Thain missed a late penalty - we should have been better on the day than we were.
The lads had a great deal of pressure in the first half having given away a silly opening goal and when Frosty Macpherson snatched an equaliser before the break that should have  been our ticket back into the game.
                                     

It wasn’t.

A speculative shot from distance gave the Caranachs the lead and while the Glen were still in confusion two more goals followed. Bitter disappointment all round- and to rub salt in the wounds Lochcarron were unable to field a team for their last home match. They missed out on their final match too but that was due to Lochaber.
                                     
After that loss the Glen defaulted to a 7-0 defeat at Newtonmore - about five goals too many but then bounced back with a 4-0 home win over Beauly. There we got off to a lucky start when a ball which was going wide was deflected in by Beauly veteran Sandy Tulloch. It was cruel on Sandy who played well for the rest of the match- and if his side had taken their chances then they could have been in the frame for an away win. However that honour lay with the Glen largely thanks to some delicate stick play by Jed Stoddard. He bravely went into the danger zone and took the hit to nick home his first counter – and then with the most delicate of touches picked up a second. The fourth goal however was the best of the afternoon. A neat bit of interplay saw Calum Miller blast home the best –struck goal he has scored since the rasper he struck against ‘Shiel in our promotion winning season. There may have been others but that is the one the Wing Centre remembers. The other moment of note in the Beauly game was the appearance of Hazel Hunter on the right wing. She did what was required and showed good movement and the ability to move the ball quickly which is all that is needed in any player at any time.


Next up were Fort William- and they were defeated 1-0 thanks to a little error by their keeper “Ginge” Walker who allowed youngster Finlay Ralston to nick a first half goal. 
That apart the game was very even with Mr Walker redeeming himself courtesy of several excellent saves while at the other end Cameron Maclennan pulled off an excellent stop from Victor Smith (jun). 
The game also saw Zoe Smith put in a nice performance on the wing for Fort while Paul Bamber also made a return in the Gearasdan colours.   
                                   
Best for the Glen by a mile however was buckshee back Lachie Smith whose timing and long hitting was second to none.

So both teams ended up mid-table with no cups to show for a hard season’s work. After what the Glen have become used to recently it has to go down as a disappointing season - but then again some youngsters have come into the squads - and some have shown the character to progress and there is always next season. Can hardly wait!!



For the pictures thanks go to Sheena Lloyd and for some of the Fort snaps, to Ian Cochrane. Particularly love the one of the “subs” bench and of the crowd.




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Friday, September 09, 2016

The Glen makes its Annual Cup Final Appearance and the “D” almost never noticed.

Now that the nights are drawing in, it’s finally time for the “D-Meister” to get back to keeping out of it. Actually not quite true. Had the Glen - the black and reds as the Courier calls them - actually played up to expectations then the Wing Centre would have fired out the stuff on a regular weekly basis.
However it’s not quite so simple to find words of easy humour when the situation does not lend itself to any sort of light-hearted approach. It’s the same with the performance of Andy Murray. In fact if the “D” was on Twitter - heaven forbid-yours truly would have created the weareallandymurraynow# so Glenurquhart techies could empathise with each other ‘cos there is no doubt that that guy from Dunblane is the Glenurquhart of tennis. In truth though the “D-Meister” thinks it’s the other way round - it’s simply that the Glenurquhart Club is the Andy Murray of shinty.  Not only that but the crowd is always against him too- just like they are with the Glen.
Thank goodness that at least there will be no sound system at Castle Leod tomorrow and after this odd insectless summer the chances of being distracted by a butterfly are also pretty remote.
Newtonmore - definitely the Djokovic of shinty egged on by a wee McEnroe good luck charm. And Kingussie?

Let’s leave that right there because Kingussie are about to arrive in the Glen with their first team for a game that dare not speak its name - and though Big Bad Bill in the P&J says they are short of players like Savio and Lee , no one in the Glen believes a word he says. It’s a fair bet that all the Moshi Monsters from the high country will be there - and we definitely won’t have Stuart Mackintosh because he is supposed to take wee Hamish out for a walk since they apparently both need the exercise.
So who will be the goalie? Billy Macleod certainly could do the job once upon a time as could Garry Mac - also once upon a time. Camino Maclennan can do the job in real time but he must be available for the Strathdearn final over the hill and across the fields at Spatown. 

The answer is that your guess is as good as the Wing Centre’s and truth be told that guess will be as good as the guess of the two Glen Supremos Bill & Dave. Still they are old hands at this pick and patch now since they have had to do it all season. The first thought that comes to this scribe’s mind is that they have not had a full set of players to pick from since the Glen played Northern California in Central Park or somewhere.
But even that is not true. In the only really tough game outside this Strathdearn experience the Glen edged a fine result over an excellent Lochside Rovers team in the Sutherland thanks to two goals from young Master Connor Golabeck who really should have been stateside on the day. That day however some sort of belief came into the team and a sort of corner had been turned.
In the Strathdearn round following that, the Glenners  managed to beat Glengarry up at “Parc des Midges” by 3 goals to 2. Yours truly was present on that occasion and it has to be said that the Glen youngsters played well enough surviving a few early scares but three first half goals from James “Frosty” made the difference in the end. They were all well struck “raspers” which gave the Garry keeper no real chance. He might have had several more on the day but why be greedy?

Then it was over to Braeview where Marc MacLachlan got a hat-trick for the Beaulacs but incredibly he lost because the Glen scored 4-through very early strikes by Fin Robertson, and Calum “Rhino” Miller supported by two other late first half goals by Frosty (see a theme here?) and Daniel Mackintosh. 
Then the Glen proceeded to hold on till the final whistle while Beauly threw everything forward including veteran Rodger Cormack to no avail. Their shooting on the day was so wild that it is no wonder the Community Council is inundated with complaints from the householders about balls going in the garden. 
 Bet you it’s a topic on the “Beauly Discussions” Facebook page but strength to the elbows of Murph and his Men. You keep putting the ball in those gardens. 
Thankfully those who whine about the beastly locals and their indolent Highland ways on the “Drumnadrochit Discussions” FB page live too far away from the shinty field to get exercised about Frosty’s powerful shooting. Don’t get the D-Meister wrong, a lot of Frosty’s shots are gloriously accurate and hard - though making Ally McAdam pull off a wonder save for Strath last week was hardly fair. It just made the rest of the Glasaich feel bad about how far they have yet to go.
No the thing about the Frost is that at times he is not the sort of man to miss an opportunity to…..well miss an opportunity. 
Apart from irritating John Cameron’s bulls in Sandy Whyte’s field with several flashing drives two of which hit the Highlander - who was not amused and meant the ball was left in the field - there was one shot-taken from a narrow angle from the bowling green side against Kingussie, that the Wing Centre found inside the fence up at Cnoc an Burra.
To be fair, the big fellow got four goals against the Fort in the next round and was helped by an even bigger fellow Calum Smith who hit one while Cairn Urquhart got the other.

In the semi, Kingussie came to Drum. It was in a way a reversal of the Sutherland semi where they beat the Glen 2-1 on the Bught thanks to goals from Roddy Young and Kevin Thain. 
This time in Drum, Roddy again took his chance but Kevin for some inexplicable reason did not. Meanwhile the Frostachan had scored two early goals but the rest of the front men - and whisper it the man himself - missed enough chances for the Glen to have been comfortably 5 ahead before Kevin missed his chance.
 Perhaps Dame Fortune also smiled when Ronaldo suffered a recurrence of his ankle injury, though perhaps also the great man’s heart had sunk “Andy-Murray” fashion after Camino pulled off three superb saves from his strikes at goal. 
Anyway a win is a win and let’s hope the top team pick one up tomorrow against the big Kings as well.

Whatever, we are into the final of the Strathdearn and Frosty appears to have scored 29 goals according to the Camanachd stats page this season including 10 in the Strathdearn. He needs to get some more on Saturday - and only then will he be upsides with his dad who won a ‘Dearn medal back in 1977.

Interestingly, for those with an eye on the pub quiz, Stuart Reid will also be trying to keep up with his dad since Mr. Reid himself picked up a winner’s medal back then too.


Good luck to Chrissie and all the lads.



Thanks also go to Sheena Lloyd for all the pics except this one of the girls (lifted from the Club website) picking up their training jackets which have been sponsored by our old friend Donnie at Nodram. 

N. B.    The girls seem to have put their initials on them so they know who they belong to. The guys , it appears, just pick them up sniff them and they know immediately who the jacket belongs to. Strange, the little differences between men and women.


 



 


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Friday, May 27, 2016

Rounding up…and then sounding off

If there has been a reason for holding back with the pen and ink it’s probably been the form of the Glen this season in the various competitions-though some recent matches have given cause for hope. However, there are many more things to write about in the shinty world without reporting on games that cause personal and community distress - and as herself says “winning isn’t everything” though actually she is wrong there.
New York has been and gone - the experience left two or three memorable pics. One of these was of the team and the other was of Dixie Maclennan at what might in another century have been the sack of Rome. 



The favourite in this household however is the snap of Smudger with Officer Dibble. Officer D is a big lad but he’s standing on the pavement and Smudger is on the street. I think S is telling him that he is under arrest.

Apart from that the most important action of recent times has been the 2-0 home win against Lochaber. It was a tight game. The Glen - strengthened by the return of international forward Fraser Heath - made their usual whirlwind start but were unable to find their way past the stuffy Lochaber defence thanks largely to goalkeeper Callum Macdonald and full-back Lachlan Campbell. Lochaber gradually grew into the game and by half time had a slight edge in midfield though their forwards were unable to get much change out of a Glen defence where John Barr and Lewis Maclennan were dominant.
 It has to be said also that both Lachie Smith and James Hurwood put in excellent performances in the backline for the second week in a row.
However, with defences on top it was always going to take something fortuitous or special to break the deadlock and David Smart’s first-time strike following a long David Maclennan shy could be placed in both categories. Suffice to say it came slightly against the balance of play at the time. With Lochaber pressing hard for the equaliser, there was always space to be found in their defence and when Conor Golabek produced an opportunist finish in 86 minutes the vital points were finally secured for the Glen.

Lochaber were disappointed no doubt but they have a MacTavish Cup final to look forward to in June - and if their forwards can do something and believe in themselves a bit they have a chance. The formbook doesn’t give them much support but then again in a cup game anything can happen provided you make it happen.

For the Glen, the absence of the team from the MacTavish final for the first time in four years is a disappointment but injuries and absences haven’t helped with a settled side-though to be fair the same is true of other sides.
The loss in the MacAulay against Skye was another daft Saturday. Looking back at the game and bearing in mind the natural tendency of the supporter to see the match through the eyes of his own team it is still difficult to take in that the guys were unable to at least take the match to extra time given the amount of pressure they had in the second half. Gannon did what he was supposed to do one supposes - and if any consolation can be taken from the result it is that it at least cheered up former Glenner Davie MacVicar.



Sometimes we console ourselves that we are not bothered about the MacAulay because the final is on Games Day and we cannot play in it- but every few years Games Saturday does not coincide with the MacAulay’s big day and this was one of them. Now we will have to wait another four years for it to come round again.
For the seconds – goodness knows how Chrissie, Paul Mac and Hendo have managed it but wins against Lochside then Lochcarron in the Sutherland and against Glengarry in the Strathdearn are excellent though League form needs it all. 
The Wing Centre has seen all the matches and the thing that has made all the difference is the ability to take chances. Conor Golabek was on form in the first Sutherland match - how that boy worked against Lochside - but if 'Side's Keith MacMillan had not done in his knee and left the field then perhaps …..but then again ,who knows?

Against the Garry, James Macpherson got a hat-trick and Drew Maclennan also had a superb game. If they are both available for the Beauly match then who knows?



The Glengirls have had a mixed time in the big league as was expected - but they will get better. The last match against Strathspey was a close contest - and would have been closer if Hazel had not been taking lessons from the guys in how to miss a penalty. Still Ms H is the top scorer but Ishbel Barr, Hayley Hunter, Debbie Surtees and Abbie Stoddart have also scored. Provided they get a full squad together they can win their cup match v Fort William this weekend but like the men’s teams they will be missing some youngsters who will be off on the High School trip.

And all the above brought to you courtesy of the willing and hardworking  volunteers at the club who work hard to fund it all. Their latest actions resulted in a Gala Day and Disco in Blairbeg Hall.


The wider matters?
Here is one for a start- in all the fuss going on at the Bught over sports facilities with the rugby club being massively subsidised with new pitches and the nonsense of a proposed velodrome for the newly “sexy” cycling (mountain biking one can understand) is there any consideration being given to a refurb of the 1920s Bught Park Shinty stadium. No? Thought not. Unlike rugby players and cyclists, shinty players are ignorant lower class ‘oiks’ who can be safely ignored in official circles unless there is a call for anything quaintly highland to be on display. Time the Common Good Fund was raided.
And another?
There is no sponsor as yet for the Camanachd Cup. Not for the Wing Centre to wonder why RBS decided that iconic trophy was not for sponsoring. Perhaps they had been watching “Outlander” and decided the sport was too dangerous to back.  So where now?  With the Scottish Cup supported by the socially responsible William Hill betting chain and the Scottish League Cup funded by “Betfred” (what was the SFA thinking about? Money perhaps?), the Wing-Centre certainly hopes that Torquil will not be going down the Bookies to seek money. The message that Scottish football is sending out is appalling and shinty should certainly set a higher tone.
If nothing respectable turns up soon, Torquil should just give it to Marine Harvest who have been steadfast in their support for the game over numerous seasons. It’s time they got a little more bang for their bucks.
And while we are at it, what about a letter from the Camanachd President to that nice Mr Swinney now that he’s in charge of education to ask him what he intends to do to raise standards in shinty in all those schools in the shinty areas who ignore it and refuse to include it as part of their regular PE curriculum?
The fact that this sounds outrageous actually says it all.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Let's just keep on keeping on!!

Here’s the thing-the season has been over for some weeks and the “D” has been slow to acknowledge that. Partly that has been because  after the last home game v Fort William , for this scribe the season ground to a halt then though there were two other matches which the Glen had to chalk off their “job done” list.
The first of these was a trip to Kyles which to be truthful this Glenner did not hold out much hope of success in. 
As far as he could make out the side went down the road short of guys and although Kyles had taken a bash to their morale during their Camanachd Cup defeat to Lovat, there was no doubt that if they had kept their nerve picked up both points they could have put Newtonmore under pressure. As it was not only did they lose a point to the Glen but haven’t won since.
They were always going to have to depend on someone else taking a point off ‘More but at least Kyles could have put pressure on the Badenoch lads and make them feel that they actually had to work to win the Premiership.
Whatever! Not that the Glen did any better when ‘More came along to play at Blairbeg- but enough said.

As for the Kyles game , the Glen went behind early in the match but managed to get back into the points zone when the astute managerial duo pushed Lewis Maclennan up into attack and as a result Fraser Heath scored a late goal with a micro-second on the clock. Kyles were sad while the Glen were very pleased as the photos show.


That left the Wing Centre with some hope that the following week- with a more complete squad-the Glen would win their last match of the season down at Mossfield and save their friends in Kingussie a great deal of angst and hassle by making it even more difficult for Oban to get out of jail free. Did it work that way?


It started out as if it should have – but let the boss tell the story in his own inimitable style. “Mossfield was in excellent condition and well suited to our style of shinty. We started strongly and were moving the ball well and after 14 minutes we scored our first with a good finish by Neale Reid from a corner. Just a couple of minutes later we scored our second when Ewan Brady beat his man and fired a cracking shot into the top corner. 
We should have gone on from this position and won the game comfortably but both Fraser Heath and Neale Reid missed chances and Oban came back into the game and scored a goal in 44minutes following confusion between in defence. Oban came out strongly in the 2nd half but with 5 minutes gone, a defender missed a high ball and Neale Reid cracked in a low shot to make it 3-1. We then suffered a blow when Mike Brady took a very nasty hit on the arm and had to be substituted. We brought Eddie Tembo on in the centre line and moved Ali Mackintosh to wing back.
 Oban scored a second goal in 71 minutes after poor defending had allowed a shot. Euan Lloyd was suffering from a cold and struggling for breath, so we took him off and moved Fraser Heath back to defence with Brad coming on up front. We had further chances to finish the game but after losing the ball in our forward line, Oban moved it the length of the pitch to equalise in the penultimate minute. The game then finished 3-3 and we had penalties for the Mod Cup. The less said about the pens the better. We missed all 4 and Oban scored 2 so that was that. Neale won the Man of the Match.
 In hindsight Oban needed the point more than us and that probably reflected the game, although I had hoped the prospect of some more silverware would spur us on. We didn’t play badly and at times played very well but a draw was probably a fair result.”
The Mod Cup would have been nice to add to the trophy cupboard of course but the Wing Centre does not feel too bad about that failure because it means that he remains one of the few Glenners to have played in a Glen team that actually won a Mod Cup.
Perhaps that was why he never bothered going down to Oban but instead went over the hill to watch Lovat play Kyles. The only thing worth picking out of that encounter was the picture which is included here courtesy of Neil Paterson and that might have an historical interest one day: two keepers both of whom won the Albert Smith medal in a Camanachd Cup final. There are only two other goalies who did likewise- Hughie Chisholm and Scott McNeill.
Then Newtonmore won the Premier the next week- and you have to say they deserved it big time because for all the slip ups they made in the course of the season- and how they must have felt these-they were the most consistent side for the whole season the irony being that the only side that could beat them was Inveraray, the side that was relegated. This can be interpreted two ways -Newtonmore were unlucky and/or the Premier League was a pretty tight competition. It’s fair to say that at times it was - though not every week.
The picture comes from Neil Paterson who kindly sent it on-and it’s good because this shows Newtonmore just after they won the trophy where the emotion and the feelings are at their most genuine.

Of course they got the cup the next week and they are pictured with the sponsors banner - and this must be the only Newtonmore team photo since the MacTavish pic of 1902 where they don’t actually have a cup to pose with but it’s a genuine picture and in years to come they can use it in their fund-raising quiz competitions.
What trophy has this Newtonmore side just won- and why is it not included in the snap?

Anyway four Glen lads were selected for the Scottish international squad-John Barr was chosen as captain, and for once the game on the Bught against the men in green did not go too badly as the guy in the National made clear.
A superb first half display helped Scotland post a memorable 24-14 victory in the Marine Harvest shinty/hurling international at Inverness’s Bught Park on Saturday. For manager Ronald Ross it was not so much the victory but the manner in which it was obtained that particularly pleased him. ” I have not seen a better display from a Scotland side, especially in the first half. There were no failures out there. Everyone played their part. The hard work and commitment paid off and apart from dead ball points we scored three good goals and might have had more. Certainly Ireland came back hard at us in the second half but we continued to compete and in the end fully deserved our win” Right from the start Scotland showed they were the hungrier side and might have been a goal up inside the opening minute when a drive by Kyles’ Roddy Macdonald came back off Irish keeper Eoin Reilly to be scrambled away by an Irish defence, which did not look comfortable playing into the sun. Scotland got their first score on the board inside 5 minutes however when dead-ball specialist Kevin Bartlett knocked the ball over from a narrow angle for a two pointer. Ireland fought hard to come back but determined Scottish defending and in particular clean hitting out of defence by Steven Macdonald set the tone for the afternoon though a two pointer from Laois’s Zane Keenan had the scores level by the ten minute mark. Bartlett then eased the Scots ahead with another two pointer only for a foul by Oban’s Daniel Cameron to allow Keenan to even the scores at 4-4. By this stage however Scotland had begun to dominate with Reilly in the Irish goals being first tested by a shot from distance by Steven Macdonald and then having to watch helplessly as the Newtonmore man converted another two pointer.
Next Scotland captain John Barr started a move which eventually saw Bartlett cut the ball across from the wing into the path of Premier League Shinty’s top scorer Glen Mackintosh and he hammered it home for Scotland’s first goal. Moments later Mackintosh returned the compliment by playing in substitute Liam Macdonald who scored Scotland’s second with his first touch of the game. With each goal adding three points to the score, Scotland were beginning to build up a substantial lead which was underlined when Bartlett added a further double after a free hit was awarded for a foul on Barr. Scotland got a third goal in this purple passage of play when Scotland’s newest cap Fraser Heath fired home from close range. 
Two further doubles from Bartlett and a single point from Liam Macdonald sent the Scots in at the break with a massive 18 point lead. The second half was very different. Whatever Irish bosses Jeffery Lynskey and Gregory O’Kane said at half time had its effect and their team upped their level of physicality. Scotland though dug in keeping enough pressure on the Irish forwards to make them miss chances which they really ought to have taken. Eventually however something had to give and Shane Nolan finally managed to improvise a goal for Ireland on the 60 minute mark. Though Bartlett added another two points for Scotland, four more for Zane Keenan and a second Irish goal from Nolan might have had alarm bells ringing in the Scotland camp, but there was no real cause for panic and Scotland held on to win the contest in relative comfort. Whether they will be able to repeat this feat in the return leg which takes place in Dublin’s Croke Park on 21st November will be another matter entirely”

Amongst the pics is a family one of course - again one for the Quiz Night of the future: The President of the Camanachd Association, Jim Barr and the Captain of Scotland’s international team John Barr (wearing the strip!!) Surely they must just about be Abriachan’s most famous residents -after Katherine Stewart and Jessie Kesson of course.

The night before the game of course saw the Marine Harvest awards and both Fraser Heath and Helen Maclennan picked up well merited plaudits- Fraser for being the named the National Under-21 player of the year and Helen received the William Paterson Salver for being the Volunteer of the Year. Well done to both. 

And beyond that?
In the Glen the under-14s have won a trophy while the youth coaching continues apace-


 and now there is to be a Women’s team.

Let’s keep on keeping on!!

Thanks for the pictures go to Neil Paterson, Sheena Lloyd, Russell Fraser and Hazel Stewart and Hazel Hunter

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