The first thing that showed it was going to be a reasonable day was the fact that the sign “was going” again as we say in the Glen. Having been unlit and increasingly unloved over the last few months, all of a sudden the sign was cheery once again, providing information about games and times and generally making all Glenners, young and old, feel that an important corner had been turned. Soon no doubt it will be conveying Birthday Wishes to all and sundry-especially sundry-thanking our sponsors and even wishing the tug-o war team well, such is the feeling of generosity and general bonhomie that a working sign brings in its wake.
Naturally enough it pointed out the times for the two friendlies: the away game against Boleskine and then the other home tie with the Isle of Skye.
Boleskine 0 Glenurquhart 6Historically, the Glen have struggled a little against the lads from the far side of the Loch. This time it was different though the state of the pitch made it difficult for the Glen forwards to play the kind of simple give and go shinty that suits the mobile Glen front men. Despite the tricky underfoot conditions the forwards started well and were quickly into a rhythm which was sufficient to keep Boleskine under more or less permanent pressure.
With James Hurwood attacking from wing centre the front four of Jack Hosie, Cairn Urquhart, Daniel Mackintosh and Raymond Robertson overran the opposition and inside half an hour were 3-0 up The first two goals came from the excellent Raymond Robertson with the second being a particularly well worked attempt thanks to neat interplay between James Hurwood, Jack Hosie and Daniel Mackintosh. This set up Robertson to finish from about 14 yards. Jack Hosie soon added number three.
At this point manager Iain Macleod rang the changes to bring on the Glen’s young subs Liam Robertson, Lachie Smith, Ryan Porter, Jamie Maclennan and Cameron Maclennan and they started the first period of the second half as well. An injury to Ewan “Boo-boo” Fraser was a disappointment and when the youngsters also started to tire a little on the heavy pitch the manager reinstated the original line-up in time to add further goals with Daniel Mackintosh netting one and Cairn Urquhart two.
In summing up the performance a special mention must be made of half-back Paul Mackintosh .He had a solid game, and while the side will be up against it this season on many occasions, his experience , determination and motivation will set the tone for the season.
Glenurquhart 5 Skye 0It was a friendly certainly and the Glen can take some heart from the fact that in the end they racked up a reasonable tally of goals. Greater conclusions than those are impossible to draw given that Skye were missing an important player or two particularly Stevie Morrison who tweaked a muscle a few days before the match and had to pull out. Glen too were without John Barr, Andrew Corrigan, Ally Mackintosh and Dixie Maclennan which is basically the whole first choice defence but Skye though they looked smart enough at times and moved the ball well were unable to make any headway though Jordan Murchison had a couple of opportunities to do better than he did. Glen opened with a goal in the first minute when Neale Reid got free on the left and fired a low rocket in on Skye keeper Jamie Gannon. He saved it well with his feet but in doing so allowed the ball to rebound out high enough for Lewis Maclennan to take it in the air above his head and smash it home for the opening goal.
The rest of the first half was a disappointment to the Glen because though they forced keeper Gannon into making at least three worthwhile saves the forwards were unable to add to their tally and beyond that the whole atmosphere of the game began to flag.
The second half picked up though and the Glen doubled their lead more or less right away when Neale Reid slipped an early ball through to Lewis Maclennan who played it back for James Macpherson and his drive took a deflection into the net off a Skye defender. Reid then burst through the Skye defence to fire home number three. Lewis Maclennan was then tripped in the box for a penalty which he converted himself to make it four and finally nice play from David Smart and Maclennan set up Reid free on the right with enough space and time to smash home the fifth and final goal.
Overall it was a good performance from the Glen with David Smart and Neil Reid looking especially sharp. Michael Brady debuted well and youngster Euan Lloyd had a good run out in defence. Arran Macdonald also put in a solid performance as did Eddie Tembo and Ewan Brady though sterner tests lie ahead. For Skye Allan Mackinnon did well as did Gilleasbuig MacDonald though his travel arrangements on the day were complicated enough to warrant a whole Burt Bacharach number to himself as well as a special page on the Skye website. Whatever else it’s good to see Gilleasbuig back with a full set of fingers again and able to swing a club freely. Long may he continue to do so.
Afterwards it was time to watch Geordie take the nets down and then head off home to see how the rest of the weekend’s friendlies went. The only worry was the fact that the men from Strathglass put four goals past Oban Celtic. It may be ominous – and then again it may not. According to the sign if we are to believe it, it’s the Macdonald Cup/Ali Ban double header on Saturday at Cannich and as always the Glasaich are sure to be up for it. Let’s hope the weather is not too bad.