Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Let's just keep on keeping on!!

Here’s the thing-the season has been over for some weeks and the “D” has been slow to acknowledge that. Partly that has been because  after the last home game v Fort William , for this scribe the season ground to a halt then though there were two other matches which the Glen had to chalk off their “job done” list.
The first of these was a trip to Kyles which to be truthful this Glenner did not hold out much hope of success in. 
As far as he could make out the side went down the road short of guys and although Kyles had taken a bash to their morale during their Camanachd Cup defeat to Lovat, there was no doubt that if they had kept their nerve picked up both points they could have put Newtonmore under pressure. As it was not only did they lose a point to the Glen but haven’t won since.
They were always going to have to depend on someone else taking a point off ‘More but at least Kyles could have put pressure on the Badenoch lads and make them feel that they actually had to work to win the Premiership.
Whatever! Not that the Glen did any better when ‘More came along to play at Blairbeg- but enough said.

As for the Kyles game , the Glen went behind early in the match but managed to get back into the points zone when the astute managerial duo pushed Lewis Maclennan up into attack and as a result Fraser Heath scored a late goal with a micro-second on the clock. Kyles were sad while the Glen were very pleased as the photos show.

That left the Wing Centre with some hope that the following week- with a more complete squad-the Glen would win their last match of the season down at Mossfield and save their friends in Kingussie a great deal of angst and hassle by making it even more difficult for Oban to get out of jail free. Did it work that way?

It started out as if it should have – but let the boss tell the story in his own inimitable style. “Mossfield was in excellent condition and well suited to our style of shinty. We started strongly and were moving the ball well and after 14 minutes we scored our first with a good finish by Neale Reid from a corner. Just a couple of minutes later we scored our second when Ewan Brady beat his man and fired a cracking shot into the top corner. 
We should have gone on from this position and won the game comfortably but both Fraser Heath and Neale Reid missed chances and Oban came back into the game and scored a goal in 44minutes following confusion between in defence. Oban came out strongly in the 2nd half but with 5 minutes gone, a defender missed a high ball and Neale Reid cracked in a low shot to make it 3-1. We then suffered a blow when Mike Brady took a very nasty hit on the arm and had to be substituted. We brought Eddie Tembo on in the centre line and moved Ali Mackintosh to wing back.
 Oban scored a second goal in 71 minutes after poor defending had allowed a shot. Euan Lloyd was suffering from a cold and struggling for breath, so we took him off and moved Fraser Heath back to defence with Brad coming on up front. We had further chances to finish the game but after losing the ball in our forward line, Oban moved it the length of the pitch to equalise in the penultimate minute. The game then finished 3-3 and we had penalties for the Mod Cup. The less said about the pens the better. We missed all 4 and Oban scored 2 so that was that. Neale won the Man of the Match.
 In hindsight Oban needed the point more than us and that probably reflected the game, although I had hoped the prospect of some more silverware would spur us on. We didn’t play badly and at times played very well but a draw was probably a fair result.”
The Mod Cup would have been nice to add to the trophy cupboard of course but the Wing Centre does not feel too bad about that failure because it means that he remains one of the few Glenners to have played in a Glen team that actually won a Mod Cup.
Perhaps that was why he never bothered going down to Oban but instead went over the hill to watch Lovat play Kyles. The only thing worth picking out of that encounter was the picture which is included here courtesy of Neil Paterson and that might have an historical interest one day: two keepers both of whom won the Albert Smith medal in a Camanachd Cup final. There are only two other goalies who did likewise- Hughie Chisholm and Scott McNeill.
Then Newtonmore won the Premier the next week- and you have to say they deserved it big time because for all the slip ups they made in the course of the season- and how they must have felt these-they were the most consistent side for the whole season the irony being that the only side that could beat them was Inveraray, the side that was relegated. This can be interpreted two ways -Newtonmore were unlucky and/or the Premier League was a pretty tight competition. It’s fair to say that at times it was - though not every week.
The picture comes from Neil Paterson who kindly sent it on-and it’s good because this shows Newtonmore just after they won the trophy where the emotion and the feelings are at their most genuine.

Of course they got the cup the next week and they are pictured with the sponsors banner - and this must be the only Newtonmore team photo since the MacTavish pic of 1902 where they don’t actually have a cup to pose with but it’s a genuine picture and in years to come they can use it in their fund-raising quiz competitions.
What trophy has this Newtonmore side just won- and why is it not included in the snap?

Anyway four Glen lads were selected for the Scottish international squad-John Barr was chosen as captain, and for once the game on the Bught against the men in green did not go too badly as the guy in the National made clear.
A superb first half display helped Scotland post a memorable 24-14 victory in the Marine Harvest shinty/hurling international at Inverness’s Bught Park on Saturday. For manager Ronald Ross it was not so much the victory but the manner in which it was obtained that particularly pleased him. ” I have not seen a better display from a Scotland side, especially in the first half. There were no failures out there. Everyone played their part. The hard work and commitment paid off and apart from dead ball points we scored three good goals and might have had more. Certainly Ireland came back hard at us in the second half but we continued to compete and in the end fully deserved our win” Right from the start Scotland showed they were the hungrier side and might have been a goal up inside the opening minute when a drive by Kyles’ Roddy Macdonald came back off Irish keeper Eoin Reilly to be scrambled away by an Irish defence, which did not look comfortable playing into the sun. Scotland got their first score on the board inside 5 minutes however when dead-ball specialist Kevin Bartlett knocked the ball over from a narrow angle for a two pointer. Ireland fought hard to come back but determined Scottish defending and in particular clean hitting out of defence by Steven Macdonald set the tone for the afternoon though a two pointer from Laois’s Zane Keenan had the scores level by the ten minute mark. Bartlett then eased the Scots ahead with another two pointer only for a foul by Oban’s Daniel Cameron to allow Keenan to even the scores at 4-4. By this stage however Scotland had begun to dominate with Reilly in the Irish goals being first tested by a shot from distance by Steven Macdonald and then having to watch helplessly as the Newtonmore man converted another two pointer.
Next Scotland captain John Barr started a move which eventually saw Bartlett cut the ball across from the wing into the path of Premier League Shinty’s top scorer Glen Mackintosh and he hammered it home for Scotland’s first goal. Moments later Mackintosh returned the compliment by playing in substitute Liam Macdonald who scored Scotland’s second with his first touch of the game. With each goal adding three points to the score, Scotland were beginning to build up a substantial lead which was underlined when Bartlett added a further double after a free hit was awarded for a foul on Barr. Scotland got a third goal in this purple passage of play when Scotland’s newest cap Fraser Heath fired home from close range. 
Two further doubles from Bartlett and a single point from Liam Macdonald sent the Scots in at the break with a massive 18 point lead. The second half was very different. Whatever Irish bosses Jeffery Lynskey and Gregory O’Kane said at half time had its effect and their team upped their level of physicality. Scotland though dug in keeping enough pressure on the Irish forwards to make them miss chances which they really ought to have taken. Eventually however something had to give and Shane Nolan finally managed to improvise a goal for Ireland on the 60 minute mark. Though Bartlett added another two points for Scotland, four more for Zane Keenan and a second Irish goal from Nolan might have had alarm bells ringing in the Scotland camp, but there was no real cause for panic and Scotland held on to win the contest in relative comfort. Whether they will be able to repeat this feat in the return leg which takes place in Dublin’s Croke Park on 21st November will be another matter entirely”

Amongst the pics is a family one of course - again one for the Quiz Night of the future: The President of the Camanachd Association, Jim Barr and the Captain of Scotland’s international team John Barr (wearing the strip!!) Surely they must just about be Abriachan’s most famous residents -after Katherine Stewart and Jessie Kesson of course.

The night before the game of course saw the Marine Harvest awards and both Fraser Heath and Helen Maclennan picked up well merited plaudits- Fraser for being the named the National Under-21 player of the year and Helen received the William Paterson Salver for being the Volunteer of the Year. Well done to both. 

And beyond that?
In the Glen the under-14s have won a trophy while the youth coaching continues apace-

 and now there is to be a Women’s team.

Let’s keep on keeping on!!

Thanks for the pictures go to Neil Paterson, Sheena Lloyd, Russell Fraser and Hazel Stewart and Hazel Hunter

web page hit counters codes Free

Scottish Blogs