Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh Look, Dad ! It’s them off the Telly.

Glenurquhart 2 Kingussie 0
All this week, Glenurquhart Shinty Club’s media stars were keeping a low profile but how did a group of home town boys have their heads turned by the paparazzi in such a short time. Well it all happened like this.
Just as the Wing-Centre was concentrating on the Glen Shinty Festival as helper to announcer Matthew MacIver, the rumour ran round the edge of the Astro-turf that not only were the Glen team of the year but that they were through.
“Through what ?” said Jimmac, who had master minded the whole event for the youngsters.
“To the final of the Marine Harvest, Clash of the Camans at An Aird”, said the child who could work the mobile phone.
Which meant that Whytie had to go round the various sideshows and pinch some kids to make up a full squad with subs and everything. Arran, who had been in charge of the “Speed Dribbling for Primary 7 and under” was also persuaded to go.
The full horror of what Smack had done at An Aird was quickly common knowledge. Mr Mackintosh had seemingly gone into goal and stopped all the Inveraray penalties- a thing which as a top class goalie he is always liable to do. Then his Blackberry had pinged out a reminder that he was due to play his accordion at some dance or other: now the Glen were into a final and no goalie had made the trip from the Heartland.
Davy Emery? Gone fishing. Garry Mac? Babysitting. Big Peter? At the golf. Ryan Brady? Needed for the festival. Tommy McKenna? Playing bowls.
Cometh the hour - cometh the man. Arise Sir Iain, Baronet of St Ninians and the Temple. You proved your worth when your Glen had need of you.
Quite simply stand in goalie Iain Macleod had a stand out game: he was in the zone the whole match. He is a competitor –the Wing Centre has observed this determination and drive in him when he was up against Kingussie in the reserve match earlier in the season - and he provided a secure platform for the win. He pulled off precisely 12 fine saves including one from Paul Gow which he took in the air and another direct from a corner which made for spectacular TV. The rest were with club and feet and must have undermined the confidence of the youngsters in the Kingussie front line as well as breaking the hearts of Kevin Thain and Paul Gow.
Let’s leave aside the absence of Ronald - goodness knows he will be back soon enough - but the Glen were a number of lads short themselves- what with Lewis Maclennan ,”Dickson” Maclennan and Drew Maclennan absent along with Paul Mackintosh and latterly Smack himself. Arran is still injured and Gregor McCormack also missed the roll call - so it was a depleted squad which faced up to a less powerful than usual Kingussie line up.
As a match it made happy watching in the Glen. Indeed Andrew Corrigan posted the Glen’s intentions within 5 minutes when he struck a powerful shot direct on to keeper Andrew Borthwick which the big man dealt with tidily.
After a period of nice play in which the Glen front men moved the ball about neatly, making full use of the wide An Aird wing spaces, the Glen took the lead. Andrew Corrigan who with Neale Reid was the pick of the Glen front men, fired a low ball across the middle. Calum Miller neatly dummied it and young Ben Hosie fed it through to Reid who smashed it home from the right hand side of the goal. Two minutes later Hosie again created a good chance when he played in Miller but the big forward had his shot saved by Borthwick. Glen continued to press as the half time whistle approached and Reid continued to turn the wing back finding space behind him on the wing while Macleod was doing his duty at the far end. Sadly the Kingussie defence showed their frustration with a nasty flick up into Corrigan’s face as he tried to run the ball through: the TV audience were then treated to the Kingussie defenders trying to claim that bad was good and that somehow the foul was not a foul. No doubt the Dell boys will get more media savvy as the year goes on because when they watch it again they will feel that they are better than that : at any rate Mr Cameron handled it well except that he should probably have booked Louis Munro for loose stick work.
There was also a careless swing at Billy Urquhart by another Kingussie youngster - and the Wing Centre admires their reaction in a perverse sort of way, he is also aware that it is not 1978 and with TV cameras present boys need to maintain discipline.
The winning Glen goal came in 61 minutes when B en Hosie flicked a ball in the air on to Calum Miller who knocked it on to Billy Urquhart. Superbill - now the Glen top scorer - fired it past Andrew Borthwick from 10 yards.
That was it really because the Kingussie forward line were never going to get past Barr, Reid , Mackintosh and Macdonald – and anything beyond them was dealt with by Macleod.
The real fun came in the last quarter when the media frenzy began. Glen players began to fall to the ground in order to be subbed. This allowed young lads like Calum Smith and Brad Dickson to come on and the experience of playing in a senior final will stay with them for ever.
Those who left the field were interviewed but none were better at the questions than the Managerial Double act, Bill and Dave. They look hard for a start what with the shinty scars on their faces: besides them Terry Butcher appears to be a wuss . Many a maidenly heart in Straths far and wide - though probably not the nearest one - must have skipped a beat at the brusque fluency with which they took to punditry.
The camera loves EJ of course just as much as EJ once loved the camera and he spoke well as did Billy Urquhart , Calum Miller and of course Mr Macdonald, captain of the side. If there was a real shinty industry with pundits at the table commenting on games then apart from Kenny Ross, the rest would have to be Glenners although none can sit in a deck chair in shorts as well as Gary Innes.
The Wing Centre was however waiting for a few words from John Barr who always handles the media well and Stuart Reid who is at ease in front of his own web cam. Why did hero of the day Iain Macleod not get interviewed? Still if the guys want to be real media stars like Jimmy Gow and Drew McNeill , they will have to win the Premier and the Macaulay - but before then the ywill have to put in half an hour each Wednesday at media training.
Back in the real world where the kids play shinty the glory in the Primary 5 section went to Kirkhill who after overcoming Loch Duich in the semi went on to beat Lovat in the big one, the Glen festival Shield. Lovat had knocked out Beauly in their semi.
In the Primary 7s Lovat were awarded the Peter English Quaich with a victory over Loch Duich after again beating Beauly in the semi. Loch Duich had themselves got there by beating Achtertyre in the semi.
Where did the Glen and Strathglass come in? Not at the top. But we hope to do better next year when we also hope that Skye and Glengarry and the Inverness Gaelic School will be able to attend.
The pictures here should be of the kids but the Wing Centre does not have any, so if James Gallagher or Alan Macpherson can access a snap of a winning team and is happy to send them here , up they will be loaded. Failing that we’ll just have to make do with the Glen. Thanks to BBC Alba for the stills and Iain Ferguson of the Write Image for the pics. Naturally we are pleased with Marine hHarvest for the opportunity to win something, even if our first siverware of the season happened to be wooden..

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