Glen lock antlers with Caberfeidh in the MacTavish
Glenurquhart 2 Caberfeidh 0 (R.B.S.
MacTavish Cup-quarter final)
This past Saturday , Glen
progressed to the semi-finals of the MacTavish Cup with a 2-0 victory over
National League challengers Caberfeidh - and now for the third time in a row
the club face the prospect of meeting Newtonmore for the privilege of a place
in the final at the Bught. Two years ago at Blairbeg, Glen lost out to ‘More on
penalties after extra time in the semi; last year Glen sneaked past the
Badenoch boys in the semi at the Eilean. However they fell at the final hurdle
so to speak when they lost on penalties once again, this time to Lovat.
Interestingly enough in their
only previous semi-final appearance of recent times- 2008- if memory serves,
Glen beat Kilmallie with the game once more going to penalties. This time the
score was a mind boggling 10-9 with both
teams hitting the net with monotonous regularity until almost the whole of both
teams had taken the lonely walk up to the spot. With the exception of
goalkeeper Stuart Mackintosh it is doubtful if a Glen player has actually
scored a penalty since. More importantly, the bottom line with all these penalty
references is the fact that the Glen forwards also contrived to pass up
numerous chances to finish these various games within the regulation 90
minutes. Would that it were not so!
Indeed for a while in the
first half of Saturday’s encounter it looked as if the Glen might fail to hit
the net against Cabers. That was down to two things: the Cabers defenders
playing well and the Glen forwards not taking the chances which they created.
Did Cabers create many chances of their own? Not really but the Glen spectators
always expected them to do so and the home fans were always on edge because
their side had gone into the game without two key defenders-Andrew Corrigan and
Ally Mackintosh. However, in the end that fact did not matter too much because
the Glen midfield remained in control for most of the match and as a result the
red and black front men did get a more than adequate supply of ball to be
working with. Work with it they did, and everything went right except the final
product. It is no small praise to the Cabers defenders, especially to full back
Lee Nichol, to point out that the Glen forwards, at nearly full strength,
approached them with respect and attacked them with the usual high tempo game
that is required for Premier League progress. For the first half the Cabers
defenders matched them in that they were quick to the tackle and did not allow
the Glen front men to take more time over their attacking moves. Was the time
there to be taken? Probably not.
Not much really happened for
the first ten minutes or so except that it was clear that Cabers fresh from
putting eight goals past Bute, were certainly up for the game. Both sides
looked to be on their toes and the lively pitch was more of a help to the
forwards of both sides than it was to the defenders.
Glen’s first chance came in
the 10th minute when Fraser Heath, playing up front for the second
week in a row, slipped a ball through to Lewis Maclennan but he hit his shot
past the post. Heath himself put a shot by a few minutes later and again
Maclennan was wasteful when he fired a drive over the bar in 17. Glen had the
majority of the pressure by this stage and the forwards were playing the ball
about neatly but tenacious Cabers defending always denied them the space for a
clean final strike. Heath and Maclennan again combined well in 28 minutes but
the ball once more flew past and then from one of the man Glen corners at this
stage Maclennan peeled off to the back post but could not get a clean
connection. By this stage, though Cabers were digging in and had an occasional
foray forward with the powerful Ali Maclennan. For the Glen the return of David
Smart to the forwardline was clearly paying off. Smart has an excellent touch
and when he is firing on all cylinders his running with the ball and his ability
to link up with Fraser Heath, Neale Reid and Lewis Maclennan brings another
dimension to the Glen forward play. If you factor in the eventual return from
injury of James Macpherson then the Glen will have five front men of Premier
The test is of course the
actual scoring of a goal- and the spectators had to wait until just after the
half time break for the Glen to nose ahead. Neale Reid picked up on a pass
through from midfield and flicked the ball to Smart. His first strike was blocked
by the defence but the ball bounced back to him just enough and this time his
strike flew past David Mellis in the Cabers’ goal to give the Glen a
Glen maintained their grip on
the game through solid midfield play with Eddie Tembo outstanding on his side
of the field. His shies in particular were excellent as were those taken by
Arran Macdonald on the other side of the park while Ewan Brady in the middle
carried on where he left off the previous week, though unfortunately he took a
nasty face knock halfway through the second period which held him back for 10
minutes or so. Not that it mattered because by that time David Smart had struck
a second fine goal for the Glen and there was no way back for Cabers though
Mellis distinguished himself with a number of excellent saves especially a
fantastic overhead stop save off a Neale Reid rocket.
The Glen management rang
the changes bringing on Raymond Robertson up front for Maclennan, Calum Smith
for Arran Macdonald in the midfield and Ross MacAulay for Euan Lloyd in the
back row and although there was a chance or two for further goals near the end,
the Cabers defenders were solid to the end.
Cabers as always brought a
nice crowd of fans with them though given that it’s been about five years since
we last played them, some of the familiar old faces were absent. Such is life.
2 Glenurquhart 2 (Marine Harvest North Division 1)
By the time we got to the
last quarter of the Cabers game however word had come through from the
Inverness match that forward Cairn Urquhart had sustained a head knock and that
Dave Maclennan had been shown a red card in the match so by 4 pm the focus of
concern had shifted somewhat from the immediate game at Blairbeg.
This game had been picked up
by the P&J and the Courier as being a special one because the managers on
each side were brothers: Alan Macleod for Inverness and of course Iain Macleod
for the Glen.
Dougie Rankin gave Inverness
an early lead in the fourth minute. Glen came back into the match in the next
period and were rewarded when Referee Archie Ritchie penalised the town goalie
for charging a forward inside the D and awarded the visitors from the Glen a
penalty on 32 minutes. Daniel Mackintosh kept his nerve and fired the spot hit
home to level the tie
Glenurquhart went ahead a
minute into the second half through a nice strike from Cairn Urquhart but
Dougie Rankin brought Inverness back on level terms with a 58 minute strike. By
most accounts the game was quite a physical encounter and Mark Sproule from
Inverness and Dixie MacLennan from Glenurquhart were both sent off on the hour
mark after a scuffle following the accidental injury to Cairn Urquhart. The
point apiece means that both sides now climb the table; Glenurquhart to third
place, whilst Inverness move up a position to sixth.
The pictures of the Cabers
game (2,3,4 & 5) were provided by Neil Paterson (www.neilgpaterson.com/) -and those from Inverness-including the one
of the brothers-by Donald Cameron (http://www.photoboxgallery.com/noremacpix/collection?album_id=2404973092)
Apart from the picture of Hail keeper Fadgy's balletic behaviour, the snaps that intrigue ,taken by the Glen's own CCTV cameras, are those of
Camanachd Assessor Henry MacInnes as he infiltrates the ground in disguise wearing
his shades and trying to look like a Cabers official in his blue gear. The
first pic right at the top of the article has him mingling with the Glen old guys who are very hospitable to
him because they think he’s with Cabers. Finally his disguise rumbled Henry
manages a rueful smile. Brad trying to do his giant-killer act against big Marty is also rather unusual as a visual image though it is doubtful if Brad was in any position to appreciate it aesthetically.
The injury to Cairn? A cut
above the eye which took a few stitches to close but which was caused when he
accidentally slipped just as his opponent swung.
Things like that can happen
but the fact that Cairn was wearing a helmet, as all youngsters must, did help
matters. Such knocks, despite the way the sport is stereotyped, are extremely
rare in shinty and should be kept in perspective. It is however up to all who
love the game whether they are players, referees or other officials to make
sure that such injuries are kept to a minimum and where they do occur that they
are dealt with promptly and efficiently.
Deconstructing the “D” and destructing opponents.
Glenurquhart 4 Inveraray 1 (Orion Group Premiership)
Lovat 3 Glenurquhart 4 (North Division 1)
“Well,” said the co-manager to the Treasurer. “I’ve experienced
losing 4-1 and I’ve also experienced winning 4-1 and I know which I prefer”
The co-manager was speaking just after the 4-1 victory over
Inveraray at Blairbeg last Saturday and he looked reasonably pleased.
“Mind you,” said the other co-manager,”thon Inveraray are
not a bad side and we rode our luck for the first 20 minutes. If they were not
so wasteful in front of goals it might have been a different story altogether.”
And so it very well might, thought the Treasurer to himself,
but out of respect to the two managers he actually said nothing about the game
but wondered how the Wing Centre would see the game in the D, so he said that
to the managers.
They looked at each other and shook their heads.
“Half the time I wonder what game he has actually been to or
if he has even been to the match at all? How he can write what he does some weeks is
beyond me. And if we are saying that from a Glen point of view what on earth
can other teams think? He’ll only be firing them up to go against us- and you
can tell him that when you see him, because I didn’t see him here today”
And so the Treasurer passed on this information to the Wing
Centre (which is why the above exchange is included here at all) and the Wing
Centre duly sighed.
“It depends on what they think the D is... or what it is for.
Is it reporting or is it comment?”
“I think they feel it is fiction- and what is more fiction
told by the classic unreliable narrator, “said the Treasurer.
“Rubbish,” said the Wing Centre. “Like who?”
“Like the guy in Chuck Palahniuk’s book ‘Fight Club’ or
Patrick Bateman in ‘American Psycho’ “
The Wing Centre shook his head, “I’ve never read any of that
“All right then- Forest Gump in the film. Do you get it now?”
“You mean someone who is telling something but their perception is limited through their point
“If you are wanting an example of that, all you need to do is
listen to Charlie Bannerman’s interview with the Newtonmore manager after the
Lovat game; you don’t need to be showing off about films and books”
“That was just a one-off interview given in the heat of the
moment. That wasn’t a whole blog written from a biased perspective.” … and with that the Treasurer left to count
the money from the Inveraray game which is how the Wing Centre found himself
with a little pondering to do before he completed the report on the match.
It certainly had been a dodgy start-and the co-manager was
wrong about him not being at the game. He had been though he did spend much of
it in the tea-room keeping out of the strong wind which the Glen played against
in the first half.
The start of the game however was all Inveraray, and for the
first 20 minutes they dominated the game, showing impressive skill and smart
thinking to open up the Glen defence on a number of occasions and the red and
blacks were indebted to John Barr, Smack the musical goalie and some wayward finishing that they did not
go behind. Gradually the defence got on
top of their men, Ally Mackintosh moved to play in front of his man, while Mike
Brady and Ewan Lloyd both gradually came on to their
game. Inveraray also had the upper hand in the midfield at this stage though
Glen should have grabbed a goal when Fraser Heath, who had taken a while to
adjust to his forward role, set Neale Reid through clear on goal with only Graham
Macpherson to beat but disappointingly the chance was missed.
Just before the halftime break however, the Glen struck
twice. The first came in the 40th minute when Fraser Heath slipped a
neat ball to David Smart and he laid it on to the stick of Lewis Maclennan who
smashed it home with the visitors defence all at seas. Three minutes later
Eddie Tembo fired a ball forward from midfield; Lewis Maclennan knocked it
across the goals and Fraser Heath finished powerfully from close range. It was
another trademark Glen move and it made it look at that stage as if the Glen
were well on their way to a comfortable win.
However, just when it looked like the
Glen could actually enjoy the 2nd half, Inveraray scored just 3
minutes after the break. This was a goal that was good to watch if you were from
Inveraray but very poor from a Glen perspective as the Argyll lads played a pre-arranged
short corner- Ewan MacMurdo to Gary Macpherson and back to MacMurdo in a move
which caught the Glen defence sleeping and was expertly fired into the roof of
After this point the Glen started to take control of the
game and through some excellent interplay from the forwards, created a number
of good chances. The 3rd goal
came from a penalty, after a hack on the edge of the box on 65 minutes and was
dispatched firmly by goalkeeper Stuart Mackintosh the designated penalty taker.
Three minutes later we scored the 4th which effectively killed the
game and this was a goal of high quality, with the ball being moved in the air
through the forwards from Lewis Maclennan to Neal Reid before being volleyed first
time by Fraser Heath high into the net. In conclusion, this
was a game the Glen needed to win and actually won well in the end. The management had targeted movement and pace
up front and that is what the spectators got.
Fraser Heath and the returning David Smart bring an extra dimension to
the forward play, but the bosses had specifically asked Neale Reid to move the
ball quicker and he delivered on almost every occasion and had a very good
game. Lewis Maclennan also played well.
In the centre line, Eddie Tembo had one
of his best games of the season and Ewan Brady playing in the crucial role of full
centre had an impressively effective game against Inveraray’s experienced David
Robertson though he like the rest of the squad took about 20 minutes to get
focused. That slow start won’t work every week. As Steve “Stato” Henderson
pointed out to the Wing Centre after the game “Inveraray had 15 corners but
they wasted them all but one”.
The only other down side was that the
Glen’s Ally Mackintosh was booked for persistent fouling, a decision one could
not argue with , though to be fair he has been playing all season through an
injury which hampers his mobility.
The news from over the hill where the
young boys were visiting the Croft was even better. For the first time in a
good number of years the Glen came away with a win 4-3 with Callum “Smudger”
Smith grabbing a hat-trick. That means he has scored more goals than Neale Reid
and as many as Lewis.
As in Drum, the match
was played in a very strong wind so the Glen decided to take the wind at their backs
and get off to a good start. Unfortunately the side did not get into the
game in the first twenty minutes, losing the midfield battle. Defensively Glen were
shaky too and deservedly lost a goal about 15 minutes in. This woke the team up
thankfully and they started to get on top. Callum Smith looked a threat every
time he got the ball at full forward. Jack Hosie equalised in 20 minutes with a
good finish inside the box and then Callum Smith scored a great goal a few
minutes before half time to give the Glen the lead. Smith who was
outstanding showed great strength and
skill to win the ball, then had the composure to create space and score.
Unfortunately at half
time Glen lost Paul Mackintosh due to his ongoing injury problems so Ross MacAulay
was dropped back into defence. Youngster
Liam Robertson then moved into wing centre and Lachie Smith came on at wing
forward while Ewan Menzies came on for Rory Maclean.
These second half changes
were able to transform the Glen’s performance despite the fact that the team were now playing
against the strong and persistent wind.
The centre line continued
to be dominant creating chance after chance, with Ewan Menzies making immediate
impact. Unfortunately, the Glen were unable to kill the game off and
because of that they were punished when Lovat scored a soft goal against the
run of play.
After this setback the
Glen remained on the back foot for a short period but the strong leaders on the
park, Donald Fraser and ‘Dixie’ Maclennan, got the team back on top and again they
dominated play scoring two more fine goals through Callum “Smudger” Smith. Smudger
had to be the Glen man of the match. He was very strong in the tackle and showed
an excellent first touch as well as good balance and control. His distribution
to the players around him ,including that to his younger brother Lachie, was excellent
Disappointingly the Glen
then gifted Lovat another easy goal and that brought in its train a nervous
ending to the game with Lovat hitting the post in the last minute. Indeed Glen even
had to pull Callum Smith back to defence to make sure of retaining both points though
any other result would surely have been a travesty. In conclusion it is only fair
to point out that as well as “Smudger” Smith doing the biz up front, “Dixie”
Maclennan also came onto an excellent game at full centre too. Beyond his
actual playing skills, his positive attitude the whole time helped to inspire the
team especially in the latter stages when things were looking tough.
In addition, full back Donald
Fraser, solid and strong, was also an inspiration in the heart of the defence
and although the hope is that the injured Paul Mackintosh can still play some part in the games to come, the basis
is clearly there of a good competitive side albeit in a ridiculously imbalanced
league. Finally and most certainly worthy of mention is Cairn Urquhart who is a fine example of a hard working club
man. A regular attender at training, Cairn always puts in unstinting effort and
he is now getting his reward: he will undoubtedly be a key player throughout
the rest of the season.
Nearly all of the
pictures of the Inveraray match come courtesy of Sheena Lloyd: the very first snap
was taken by former manager and forever Glenner Drew MacNeill. Let’s hope the
rainbow really is an omen of good things to come.
'More are the merrier
If you think about it the
biggest disappointment last weekend in Glen Shinty was not the defeat by
Newtonmore; it was actually the fact that with the cancellation of the GMA visit
to play the Sutherland Cup match, the Glen seconds will now have gone nearly a
month without a game in which young players can be used. Why is that a big
deal? Simply because of the fact that
the Glen youngsters are playing “out of their league” in the sense that at
least six of their matches are against what would be have been seen as first
team sides last season – Strathglass, Skye and Inverness- and manager Iain
Macleod is concerned at risking 14 and 15 year olds against these teams filled
with experienced players. The GMA match would have allowed him to play these
young lads- certainly Lachie Smith, Liam Robertson and Jamie Maclennan would
have featured-against at least some players in their own age group.
Last year when the League
consisted of genuine second teams there is no doubt these young lads would have
played every week-indeed some of them more or less did- : this year these same
young lads and one or two just behind them must be getting frustrated with
their lack of involvement and truthfully the situation is just not quite good
enough and the Glen management must hope that these and other youngsters have
the patience to stick with the sport until their chance can come.
GMA weren’t the only side to
be unable to field a team in the Sutherland: Aberdour also found they were
unable to get enough guys to go to Lochbroom while in the Balliemore, Strachur
were unable to get a quorum big enough to justify a pile of money traveling to
All three games involved huge
journeys for the visiting side– and the Wing Centre guesses that player
availability was compromised not only by the prospect of a long day’s journey
lasting into night but also by the fact that in some areas of the country
schools had shut for the Easter break and youngsters were probably not
available for the games due to being on holiday.
Can this be fixed? Maybe not
perfectly but when you ask the kids they will tell you they want to play games
and they want to do so every week- and if shinty can’t provide them with that
then other sports perhaps will.
Perhaps it can be fixed if we
can make the early rounds regional in nature which will ensure that teams do
not have to spend the whole day away from home. It may also be that we need to
look at being more flexible over when these games should be played, though with
many youngsters due to be sitting exams in the next month or so that may be
easier to think about than do.
The Glen being the Glen of
course many of the second team lads actually did not miss out on a game at all.
They got a call up for the first team to face Newtonmore. Glen
started this game missing 8 players whom they would normally expect to
participate in a first team squad. Gone through injury or other availability
problems were James Macpherson Andrew
Corrigan, and David Smart . Added to that Arran Macdonald and Neale Reid were
unavailable and to make matters worse Fraser Heath came down with flu on the
morning of the match while Billy Urquhart suffered another flare up of his back
injury To make matters worse Dave “Dixon” Maclennan was delayed and missed the
start of the match.
far as the game itself was concerned, it went pretty well as might be expected
against the Champions given Glen’s understrength team. Newtonmore had the bulk of the early pressure
and struck a couple of decent chances wide; the Glen then settled down and looked quite comfortable
in defence until Fraser Mackintosh fired in from a corner after 20 minutes.The
match continued in a similar vein until half time with ‘More having plenty of the
ball but despite that they managed no further scoring. Newtonmore continued to dominate in the second half and the
game was effectively lost in a ten minute spell when Fraser Mackintosh scored
his 2nd after 50 minutes and then Danny MacRae added 2 more in 55
and 60 minutes.
was a real danger that the red and blacks could have been heading for a very
heavy defeat, however the managers took Ewan Brady back to full centre where he
played very well and Glen actually came more into the game, culminating in an
excellent strike from Lewis around the 80 minute mark to make the final score 4
conclusion, if the Glen had to be extremely understrength, then this was
probably not the worst game for it to have happened. The 2nd team boys who came in all
put in a very good shift against top players.
Barr and Mike Brady were again solid at the back while Ewan Brady did well when
brought back to the centre line.
unexpected re-appearance of the excellent Danny MacRae from injury pretty well
summed up the Glen’s day.
of the side’s more experienced players did not have their greatest day in the
red and black, but as they spent most of the match under pressure and on the
back foot, one could not be over critical.
To conclude on a more
positive note there was nothing in the Newtonmore team to dissuade any Glenner
from the point of view that given a full Glen team, they are beatable. The real
trick for the Glen will be to get the squad that put 4 past ‘Shiel back fit and
ready to face them though-not an easy ask.
As for Newtonmore they played
as well as they needed to. They are side that do the simple things simply-all
are good hitters and all are strong players who are very hard to shift off the
ball once they are on it. Remember when you were wee and you used to get fruit
cocktail with condensed milk for Sunday pudding; that’s what you get with this
Newtonmore team. Good old fashioned hearty, even retro shinty-maybe that’s what
all shinty should be- not patting the ball about as if the pitch was some
new-fangled Astro turf. On the other
hand it might be good if the Glen could manage that more often too. It will be
interesting to see how Lovat cope with them this weekend.
Thanks to Sheena Lloyd for
all the pictures. Good to see Cork up to take in the match.