Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drum Beat !

Glenurquhart 0 Inveraray 1
Glengarry 3 Glenurquhart 0 (Seconds)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a shinty team not in possession of a single goal must be in want of good fortune. If only……
Well maybe yes- a little bit of luck and the Glen might have shared the points with Inveraray for truthfully the visitors from Argyll were not team splendid. They were solid enough and despite the fact that Shady ain’t so slim any more, their defence was more or less capable of dealing with the Glen presence up front. Beyond that, when they were presented with an opportunity they took their goal-and you can’t argue with that.
In fact they actually started off quite well if only because in the opening ten minutes or so Glen struggled to get out of the blocks conceding a series of fouls which kept them on the back foot. Why so? They seemed a little slow to meet the ball and thus , coming second , found themselves penalised for pushing in the back or tackling in a clumsy way.
By about 15 minutes in however, Glen began to come more into things and Inveraray keeper Graham Macpherson had a fortunate escape when having got his club to a drive from Fraser Heath he was relieved to see it come back off the top of his right hand post.
Glen then forced a series of corners and though John Barr , Heath and Lewis Maclennan got opportunities to move the ball forward and actually did so, the close attention of the Inveraray defence in which full back Scott Robertson was on top form was enough to see chances wasted.
At the other end Inveraray were also awarded a run of corners but they were unable to test Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh more than once when he tipped a drive from Andrew MacMurdo over the bar. There were a couple of other potential problems but Andrew Macdonald was on hand to make the key clearance on two occasions while full back Stuart Reid maintained his recent run of good form and the Inveraray front men made little headway.

At the other end in 28 minutes Barr got one on one with Robertson and managed to get a powerful strike in but his shot flew just wide. In 35 minutes it was much the same story and though this time Barr’s strike was closer, Macpherson in goal did not have to make the save.
Glen then had a period of dominance winning a number of shies on the left but the Inveraray defenders in particular Douglas Dando and Gary Macpherson were clean and long hitters and were able to knock away the loose balls out of the danger area. Just before the interval Heath managed to work free from the attentions of Gary Macpherson but his first attempt was cleared by Dando and a second attempt went across the D and out for a bye-hit.
Then- bombshell!
Glen gave away a foul just outside the D at the shop end. A loss of focus ensued, Stuart Robertson played the ball to Andrew MacMurdo and he put Inveraray into the half time dressing room with a 1-0 lead with what was the last hit of the half.
Smash and grab! Certainly. The Inveraray defenders were aware of their good fortune and exchanged knowing looks but in that moment they had won the game.
The second half was déjà vu-all over again and again and again. Glen pushed hard. Changes were made. Arran Macdonald came on and played well. Shots went wide and over the bar. Sometimes shots were not taken- sometimes wrong choices were made: there was even a wee bit of argy-bargy when keeper Macpherson got bashed on to the post and he went mad in a controlled goalie like way.
An Inveraray defender was booked for a skilful “professional” trip- nothing malicious just perfectly designed to break up an attack. He took the booking though there should have been an earlier one for Gary Macpherson when he did the same thing in the first half-but again it was nothing nasty and the Glen oldies on the side-lines admired the skill with which it was executed.
The key player for Inveraray at this juncture was Dando. Robertson held the line at the back but all the loose balls breaking off the attacks were mopped up by Dando- and his centreline especially David Robertson and David Macpherson also tracked back deep to defend energetically.
They say when trouble comes, close ranks. The Inveraray defence did so and they kept their concentration - and in as much as they did that, they deserved their win but they had to hang on grimly to get it as the Glen pressed imprecisely forward.
A disappointing afternoon for the home support then, but it was not all bad. David Smart had another good performance as had Stuart Reid. Arran Macdonald did well when he came on and Andrew Macdonald also put in a performance worthy of some mention.
Inveraray? If they had committed such larceny in their home town they would have been banged up in Inveraray Jail and the key thrown away. However, given the boorach they were in at the back end of last year you are sometimes inclined to forget that this is substantially the same side which has been to three Camanachd Cup finals over recent years. They have also in that period won a MacAulay Cups and have more or less had a monopoly of the Celtic Society Cup from 2001 till a couple of years or so ago-so they kind of know how to win when they have to. Put some money on them for the Celtic this year: they will not disappoint especially given the fact that there was no sign of Russell Mackinlay at Drum. He was merely scoring a barrow load for the second team back home. Can no-one make that boy see sense?
Will the Wing Centre watch the game on Youtube? Not unless it would tell him something he did not know. Perhaps some of the details are imprecise but the broader canvas is correctly coloured in.
One final note-good luck to Inveraray’s Davie Macpherson when he carries the Olympic torch: he put in a solid performance in the visitors centreline. Hope he has a good day. A pity the gig can’t be on a Saturday when Inveraray are due to play the Glen.

On top of this result, the loss at Invergarry unfortunately made it a double downer for the Glen. It was heartening however that the young lads kept the Garry at bay for such a long period in the match.
Disappointing for the Glen was the absence of two important players Calum Miller who missed out through injury and Drew Maclennan was unwell. Manager Iain Macleod was also unable to participate through illness.
The key player for Glengarry as everyone knows is Steven “Dee Dee” Cameron and in the absence of Drew Maclennan, he was marked by Ewan “Boo Boo” Fraser and to his credit, “Boo Boo” put in a sterling performance and ran himself into the ground. When he tired he was replaced by Bradley Dixon and he also put in a good shift- the result of which was that as the game reached its conclusion the Glen were only 1-0 down. At this point Daniel Mackintosh had an excellent attempt which just shaved the crossbar.
Glen full back Donald Fraser had another excellent game. He tackled hard and his strength kept the defence focused and organised. Calum Smith also played well at wing did. Ross MacDiarmid but a niggling injury to his knee forced him off at half time. In the younger age group James Hurwood and Euan Lloyd also played well as did Cameron Maclennan in goals. The only downer was that Jack Hosie who had also been playing well picked up a knock in the later stages of the match. However apart from an inability by the forwards to take the chances they have created, from a Glen perspective the feeling was a positive one. Everyone gave their all and there were no lapses of concentration or of discipline – and one cannot ask for more.
Glengarry? Apart from noticing that Ewan Brady had an excellent game-there is no doubt that he is an exceptional talent-the only other point worth mentioning is that they might win something this season. But then again they might not.
Most of the pictures are from Neil Paterson (
who seemed happy and relaxed-indeed almost carefree. But then Lovat are top of the League. Boo!
One of this week's snaps isn't from Neil. Guess which one that is.

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