Reasons to be Cheerful : Part 1
Glenurquhart 3 Beauly 0
After last week’s narrow squeak and the fact that the squad which headed off to Inveraray had taken a goodly number of players , the Wing Centre was a little unsure about how this Glen side would perform against Beauly-especially since , on reaching Blairbeg, he could pick out Roger Cormack in the green jersey. This is not the place to sing the praises of Roger Cormack but suffice to say it’s not too hard to imagine him stopping a Premier league forward line all on his own, so what chance would the black and red bairns have of getting past him.
In the end it turned out all right because Liam Girvan, who was unable to make it to Inveraray, was able to give Roger a decent game and truthfully he played him well. Meeting the ball as early as he could, drawing the veteran defender off the D worked well enough for Girvan to give the Glen a lead as early as the 14th minute.
Before that had happened Glen showed that they were going to have the upper hand when Cairn Urquhart came close after he was released by Girvan and then Ewan Menzies fired his attempt just over. It was Menzies however who started the move which ultimately set up the goal when he popped a ball over from the right to Urquhart who prodded it through and Girvan managed to squeeze in front of Cormack to tuck the ball home into the corner of the net. It was not more that the Glen deserved at this point but the controlled finish made it a bit special.
Glen continued to press for the rest of the half but good work at the back from Beauly especially from David Groat kept the Glen at bay while at the other end, though he worked hard, Beauly front man Martin Davidson got no joy out of either David Girvan or Donald Fraser and keeper David MacFadyen had little to do. The other two members of the Glen backline, Brad Dickson and Ross MacDiarmid were equally solid. MacDiarmid in particular continues to impress with his controlled economical style and strong hitting.
The second half repeated the pattern of the opening period: Glen had plenty of the ball but good Beauly defending plus lack of composure in front of the posts meant that for a long period the lead remained at a single goal – and there was the ever present danger that the visitors would come up field and score one themselves.
A freak injury to defender David Girvan –he twisted his knee and aggravated an old injury and had to be immediately replaced- required Ewan Fraser to make a welcome return to the fold in Glen colours. He was hardly on the park when he made it 2-0 for the Glen though the goal itself was hardly out of the top drawer as even Ewan would admit. He hit in a long high ball which dropped in front of Beauly keeper Rory Campbell who misjudged the bounce as the ball skipped off the hard surface. The score was a pity for the Beauly keeper who had played well up until that point- and though Cairn Urquhart was putting him under pressure as the ball dropped in, the goal has to be marked down as an error.
Glen upped the tempo after that- but suffered another blow when Liam Girvan was struck full in the face by a hit-out from fullback Cormack and had to retire with a broken nose which may see him miss a week or two of competition. Rory Maclean came on for Glen at that point- and made an immediate impact by first-timing a high ball straight on the goals forcing a good save out of Campbell. The ball however fell to Glen’s James Hurwood and he made no mistake from close range.
A good result then against a Beauly side which has been performing well up to date-but with good performances from the players mentioned as well as Daniel Mackintosh and Ross Macaulay-there are certainly reasons to be cheerful.
The performance of ref John Macgregor was also a plus point. He was calm and decisive : guys respect him. ‘Nuff said!
Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 2
Inveraray 2 Glen 0 (Premier League)
This would have to be the Inveraray game. A loss –why the cheerful bit? Well when the Wing Centre was made aware of the absences and potential absences last week he was down. That is admittedly one of the worst parts of his character- in that he has a tendency to temper optimism with what he calls realism. In the end – at a quarter to five-he did not bother phoning any Glenners to enquire about the result : instead he contacted Davie Macpherson the manager who brought the Camanachd Cup to Inveraray in what will soon become “back in the day”- and learned that the Glen had not done too badly. Despite their lack of numbers, they had played well enough, made some chances but had lost to a home team who scored twice with at least one goal being a bit against the run of play. Graeme Macpherson in the Inveraray goal had three or so good stops but apart from the fact he’s been having a good season, stopping shots is what he there to do- and he’s good at it.
It was heartening however that Glen showed excellent spirit and played with great intent throughout the 90 minutes.
In pressure terms Glen certainly had a major share throughout, and it was noticeable that the team’s hitting was much better than in previous matches, albeit on a pretty "bumpy" field.
The young subs –Jack Hosie, Calum Smith and Ewan Lloyd- who came on in the latter stages following a few injuries on-field, showed the same determination as demonstrated by the rest of the side.
Inveraray`s goals came from a two lapses of concentration in a defence which otherwise cleared its lines well throughout- and though that is a concern it would not have been a bother if the forwards, who enjoyed a generous supply of ball would simply shoot at goal when the opportunities present themselves .It worked in the MacAulay final: the formula is still the same.
Deke Cameron and his whistle- both were fair and sensible. Well done to them both
Inveraray are now at the top of the League and well done to them. They ought to be everyone in North shinty’s favourite South team (it’s that underdog thing again!) but we’ll see how good they are when they play Newtonmore. Personally the Wing Centre wouldn’t hold the back page though they are worth a bet in the cups, though the Wing Centre does not hold with this new craze for betting that seems to have crept into the world of shinty. How can guys bet on games when they are playing in them? Is that appropriate?
Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 3.
The Wing Centre may be regarded at his Club as a bit of a blockhead for agreeing to his initial involvement in the issue but with Skye Camanachd calling for a general meeting to discuss the Association’s proposed restructuring ,at least people can get things off their chests- and perhaps everyone will feel happier for that. There is always a tension between the practical and the ideal, between courage and caution but dialogue has to be better than diktat. Clear-cut? Neither life nor shinty is quite that simple-and that is certainly a reason to be cheerful.
The pictures are of the Glen players after the Beauly game . The rainbow ? Its a symbol of renewal, innit?.