Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 Glen Squad look to emulate Heroes of 1977 and 1982 and 1988 and 1992 etc....

Strathdearn Cup Preliminary Round

Glenurquhart 12 Lochbroom 1

Not so sure that a score like this is a good thing though to be fair to Lochbroom they played much better than the goals against column would ever suggest and what is more even 4 goal sharp-shooter Stuart Morrison would be the first to admit that he scored one goal- the Glen’s 3rd- that was as good a counter as he had ever scored before in his life. Well no he wouldn’t but it’s written down now so he cannot retract it.
There were also a few other strikes which the fiery pitch and good fortune caused to go in that on any other Saturday would not have crossed the goal-line . They would have bounced wide or gone past the post. Still they did not and the score stands though young Iain Dubh would have kept the figure down because of his sure timing and clean hitting. Where was the Lochbroom hero? On holiday stalking deer in Tenerife or some such nonsense. Whatever, the Klondyke Kids missed his presence greatly though that did not take away from the fact that Lochbroom have more than a few skilful teenagers who will be a serious handful for future opponents. The hope is that they manage to keep the lads going and avoid having them snapped up by The Caranachs or even Caberfeidh. Doubtless some of them will go off to College or University and the trick there is to keep them playing at some level or another.
Ruaridh Hughes in the Lochbroom goal had a good game- though no doubt he will think he did not- but the truth is he could do very little to keep the shots that did beat him from going in.
If there was a lesson to learn - and he will know this already-it was that the second ball is the killer in shinty. The keeper cannot kill the ball unless he manages to concede a corner: anything on the goalie , especially on a dry hard pitch is going to cause trouble, and Ruaridh stopped any amount of shots which were promptly fired back in after they had bounced out from him. He is a good guy and he will learn from that.
Probably on any other Saturday, the Kintail man would have waded in to the area of the rebounding ball and caused enough consternation to put the Glenurquhart hens off their food but on this occasion the two veterans of the 1988 Camanachd Cup final had more than enough guile to profit from the confusion. As it was Stuart Morrison helped himself to 4 goals and Davie Stewart had 2 - not all were memorable but some are worth preserving in print.
It was 1-1 in about 10 minutes with a strike from Morrison countered by one from Cameron Macrae and then in 25 minutes Neale Reid worked some magic. Reid, along with Ali Mackintosh , was back from first team duty because the senior match with Inverness had been put on hold due to the funeral of Murdo Maclean . Reid grabbed the ball at buckshee and slid it across to Ross MacAulay - and Ross did the simple thing for the conditions. He fired it in at goal and the resulting save by Hughes broke out to Davie Stewart who hit it home.
Stuart Morrison then finished off the first half with three goals, the first of which was superb. A shy from Euan Fraser came across from the right and Morrison first timed a drive into the corner of the net. His other two strikes came after good work from Reid and MacAulay though one of them came as a rebound back from keeper Hughes who had managed to deal effectively with a number of other shots from the other Glen forwards. Neale Reid had several attempts but at this stage in the match was to remain unrewarded and increasingly frustrated : he did however have to deal with the presence of Lochbroom youngster Macdonald who, along with veteran defender Macfadyen , showed his mettle on several occasions to save the day. Sadly for Lochbroom it was only to delay the inevitable deluge until the second half.
Neale Reid finally found the net in 50 minutes and it was not long before the floodgates opened and the Lochbroom back line began to be overrun.
After Reid ,it was Davie Stewart and then Ross MacAulay with a long drive who added to the tally and next with the introduction of Ben Hosie into the forward line came the sweetest move of the afternoon. First Reid slipped the ball up the line to Hosie who worked himself clear before driving a shot powerfully at Hughes. The Lochbroom keeper made an excellent stop but Reid was quick to pounce on the rebound and ram it high into the net. The production of balls to the front line was further helped by the addition of Andrew Young to the centreline while Andrew Macdonald’s arrival on the field allowed the returning Calum Fraser to move up front. The backs had ,apart from the first ten minutes or so, a firm grip on the match and the quick tackling of Drew Maclennan and sound defending of Neil Mackintosh meant that keeper Dave Emery had little to do.
Late in the match Calum Fraser , back for his first run-out since the Caberfeidh match, helped himself to two goals while Neale Reid completed his hat-trick.
So a good result- but one that should not blind the Club to the fact that the previous week had seen the side slump to a 6-1 defeat at Kinlochshiel. Nice to see Mr M Munro and Mr A Macdonald back in the squad but the absence due to injury of Garry Mackintosh and Lucas Chapman may play a big part in the future progress of the side in this cup. Mark Stewart will also be a necessary stalwart too in the quest for the holy grail of the Strathdearn. Hopefully Ian Macdonald will still be available and Bradley Dixon will soon recover though it is more than likely that Ali Mackintosh and Neale Reid will return to senior duties before too long.
Just a word about the tone of this piece: usually the Wing Centre is chipper and happy to irritate, annoy and otherwise disconcert those who oppose the Glen and all that its shinty stands for- but several hours before the match he was one of those present at the funeral of Inverness stalwart Murdo Maclean. It was a large gathering of present but (mostly) former players to pay tribute to a man who was at the heart of his club for 20 years and more. “Lean gu dluth ri cliu bhur shinnsre” That’s what Murdo did; that’s what the Glen do; that’s what Lochbroom do; that’s what all shinty folk do. It doesn’t do any harm to remember it sometimes.
It's nice to win cups too though-so have a look at the picture at the top. What did these guys win then?

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