Its 3-1 to Kyles : it might as well have been 23-1. Glenurquhart are out of the Balliemore Cup to a team which outplayed us and out psyched us over 70 minutes. We can claim the semblance of a comeback in the last 20 minutes when changes up front gave us an illusion of a chance -but by then it could be argued that Kyles were sitting back, plenty in the tank-any other cliché your can imagine.
It has come to this-indeed it comes to this every season in our neck of shinty’s little parish . The Glen show promise but delivery is never a strong suit; I wonder how that can be. Possibly it is down to the fact that the guys play a kind of pub shinty- they train but not hard enough; they practise but not often enough; they have a surface dedication but again that does not go deep enough down to the dark depths of the problem. Which is where I am just now.
Partly its down to the fact that perhaps too many in the village don’t play the game -not that they play anything- but we just cannot get the full range of lads to commit: off they go to wind surf or skateboard. Too often they head to the pub. Who can say they are wrong ? Not me. Doubtless the downer I feel will make me vulnerable for the next day or two to all kinds of ailments and infections- but no matter. There is always next year- which is on the surface bouncy and optimistic but is a great deal of effort, social entrepreneurship and community building- and to be fair most of the community-if such a word has any meaning-don’t care less. It was probably potentially ever thus. I’m sure some guys stayed to cut sticks or burach about in the fields in the days when the Glen were winning trophies. I just have this memory of a packed stand and huge enthusiasm back in ‘88 : I always feel that I deserve more days like that-it just upsets me that I have to depend on 12 easy-oasy guys to get them. I’m backing a loser but I’m addicted. It is a worry that I seem addicted to failure.
Still amateur psycho stuff over. Ballachulish was glorious; the hills clear ;the sky blue; the pitch beautiful and the whole young male population in the pub drinking and watching Rangers and Celtic on Setanta acting out sectarian nonsense 100 miles away. This herd like ignorance ! I spit on it.
The Glen opened well enough- neat movement- weak finish. Then although Glenurquhart kept the action together well enough and challenged with intensity ,Kyles gradually occupied the midfield. A slip from Stewart Reid-he struggled to meet the ball most of the first half- and a goal was lashed in. Again an attempt to move forward through EJ Tembo - but Lewis Maclennan was behind the wingback- and the opportunity to retain the ball up was lost. Kyles attacks had a longer duration and Stewart Mackintosh had a number of necessary saves. Kenny Macdonald wasn’t tested.
Two minutes before halftime-Gregor MacCormack always lighter than the Kyles forward Roddy MacColl found himself pushed over after he missed a chance to clear and it is 2-0.
The second half is one of constant battle but always outnumbered always outplayed Glenurquhart rarely come forward and on the rare occasions they advance the wingbacks smash through the wing forwards. By now Tembo is a centre and Paul Mackintosh is half forward- it makes no difference. John Barr has had a difficult afternoon-he man marks Dan Macrae and keeps him reasonable tight and does play well enough but inevitably loses him for Macrae to get number three.
Time for changes-on with Rhuaraidh Cameron , Stewart Morrison and Calum Miller up front- Bingo we are in business. Miller lets the stick go so does Stewart- Rhuaraidh has more touch than Tembo at buckshee. We switch the game round. We force corners, Kenny Macdonald has to defend and the backs are taking hits. Cameron gets a goal , Miller hits the post, Cameron gets straight through but is thwarted by Macdonald : Macdonald pulls off another smart save and their attack is nowhere. They are pulling guys back to defend.
However its too little and its too late. Ted Macdonald blows the whistle-he did well, though there was little to do.We are out and we are on our way home.
What do I learn? Nothing I did not know before - to win you need skill but you also need aggression. We woke up to that too late. Perhaps you also have to really want to win- but that's another story.