New managers take over team hot seats

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Clubs continue their preparations for the 2017 shinty season, including the appointment of new managers at Kyles Athletic, Kingussie and Lovat.

Changing of the guard at Kyles
James Perlich has replaced Norman MacDonald in the Kyles Athletic first team hot seat.
James Perlich has been a long-term coach with the side, putting the first and second teams through their paces as well as being a sounding board for previous managers.
He will now lead the team in his own right, with club stalwart Kenny MacDonald continuing as part of the management team.
Kyles Athletic won the Gregor Cameron Consultancy Glasgow Celtic Society Cup last season, as well as securing second spot in the Marine Harvest Premiership. Their last Camanachd Cup success came in 2012 when they beat Inveraray 6-5 at Mossfield.

Dallas Young appointed Kingussie manager
Dallas Young has been appointed manager of Kingussie’s first team.
Young takes over from co-managers Russell Jones and Davie Anderson who stepped down at the end of last season.
Dallas Young was part of the great Kingussie sides which dominated shinty for 20 years from the mid-1980s. He captained the team to Camanachd Cup, MacTavish Cup and league success in 1995.
He has been involved in youth coaching at Kingussie for a number of years and has a good relationship with the club’s younger players.
Kingussie chairman Russell Jones said: Dallas Young has agreed to take over the Kingussie first team reins for the 2017 shinty season. Dallas is a former full forward and Camanachd Cup winning captain for the club. He has spent the last 10 years coaching Kingussie primary and U14 teams with consistent success and the club are delighted to announce his appointment.’
Kingussie have pre-season games lined up against Caberfeidh at Castle Leod on February 11 with home matches against Beauly on February 18 and Skye on February 25.
Ryan Borthwick will be the Kingussie senior team captain for the season ahead.
Fraser Gallacher is new Lovat boss
Fraser Gallacher has been confirmed as the manager of Marine Harvest Premiership side Lovat.
The Balgate side has been on the hunt for a new boss since John MacRitchie announced his intention to stand down at the end of last season.
Gallacher patrolled the touchline as he watched his new charges lift the Lovat Cup with a 5-2 New Year win over Beauly at Braeview Park.
He was a notable player for the club and has previous experience having taken the Lovat second team in 2012. He also took the first team when John MacRitchie was unavailable.
Gavin Heath, who previously worked with Glenurquhart, will provide fitness training, taking over in that role from Paul Mellis.
John MacRitchie, who was previously Lovat first team co-manager with James Gallacher, took sole charge at the club ahead of the start of the 2015 shinty season, replacing Alan MacRae who resigned after three years in charge. The highlight of MacRitchie’s reign was undoubtedly the Camanachd Cup win, beating Kyles Athletic at Mossfield, later that year.
Lovat’s 2016 season was blighted by injury. They eventually finished seventh in the Marine Harvest Premiership. Their Camanachd Cup defence ended at the first time of asking, losing out to Newtonmore who would go on to lift shinty’s top prize.
Lovat showed their potential by beating Newtonmore in the Artemis Macaulay Cup quarter finals before losing out to eventual winners Kinlochshiel in the last four of the competition.
Newtonmore were also Lovat’s opponents in the 2016 RBS MacTavish Cup which the Eilan men won 3-0 in the first round.
John MacRitchie will continue in his role as Lovat president as the club look to implement ambitious plans to build a new clubhouse.
Lovat also confirmed Darren Urquhart has been appointed second team manager, taking over from Martin Bell. Urquhart was Lovat second team assistant manager last season and will lead the Lovat reserves in Marine Harvest North Division 2 in 2017.

Oban Camanachd’s pre-season plans
Oban Camanachd manager Iain Hay is working hard on his team’s preparations ahead of the new shinty season.
The New Year inter-club match gave the players an early run out and training is well under way.
Friendly matches have been arranged against Inveraray at Mossfield on Saturday February 4 and Kyles Athletic at Tighnabruaich the week after. Hay is also looking to secure friendly matches for the following two Saturdays of the month.
There will be the opportunity for Hay to promote a couple of players from the Lochside Rovers squad as David Lafferty misses the start of the new season with a knee injury whilst 2016 captain James MacMillan has moved abroad for a year.

Oban Celtic add to squad
Oban Celtic manager Kenny Wotherspoon has confirmed two new signings ahead of the club’s national shinty campaign.
The experienced Andrew Hunt from Strachur joins the club, as does defender Fulton Ronald from Glenorchy. Both players played major roles for their previous clubs and will be great additions to the Oban side’s squad.
Oban Celtic have also been boosted by the news that former players Alan Mackie, John Hill, Adrian Cakebread and Jack Hill are able to commit for the full season, increasing manager Wotherspoon’s selection options.
Long term injury casualty Iain ‘Shuggie’ MacFarlane has returned to full training after a two-year absence with a knee injury and there is more good news with full centre David ‘Skinny’ MacInnes committing to the club for another season. The veteran’s previous national league shinty experience will be a huge benefit to the squad this coming season.

Ally Ferguson lines up Lochaber
Lochaber boss Ally Ferguson is putting his team through their paces ahead of another season in shinty’s top division.
Pre-season training has begun and, on the player front, defender Jack Dignan is on the road to recovery following an eye socket injury.
Zandz Ferguson, based in Aberdeen, should be more available than last season, whilst Connor Sweeney rejoins the Spean Bridge outfit after a period away in which he won the Marine Harvest South Division 2 title with Tayforth.
These additions will increase the former Scotland head coach’s options which will help as long-term servants Lachlan Campbell and Neil MacDonald have retired from first team duty, whilst Ben Delaney’s availability will be limited this season.
There has been a change to Lochaber’s pre-season programme as the match against 18 February 18 will no longer go ahead.
Lochaber will still play Newtonmore at the Eilan on Saturday February 4 and Fort William at Spean Bridge a week later.
The side rounds off their pre-season programme against Inverness at the Bught Park on Saturday February 25.

New Skye Camanachd bosses set pre-season games
Skye Camanachd have confirmed their pre-season programme as they bid to make a quick return to the Marine Harvest Premiership.
New Skye Camanachd first team co-managers Willie Cowie and Peter Gordon have set their side a testing month with three games against Marine Harvest Premiership opposition.
The Skye players took part in the John MacKinnon Memorial Shinty Sixes at the turn of the year and training is now in full swing.
Skye’s pre-season schedule will see them play Lovat at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree, on Saturday February 11 in the annual George Michie Memorial Cup match.
The islanders travel to Drumnadrochit to play Glenurquhart a week later.
Skye then head for the Dell on Saturday February 25 to play Kingussie before their competitive shinty season starts in the Marine Harvest National Division the following weekend.
The Skye Camanachd second team have also made their pre-season plans.
New boss Kenny MacLeod takes his team to Battery Park to play Lochcarron on Saturday February 11.
Next up is a meeting with the Glenurquhart second team at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree a week after.
The Skye seconds then play Lewis Camanachd for the Kaid MacLean trophy at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree on Saturday February 25.

Donald Wilson and Malcolm Grant stay In charge at Ballachulish
Donald Wilson and his assistant Malcolm Grant will stay on in charge at Ballachulish for the 2017 shinty season.
The duo have also named forward Lorne Brown as their captain for the year ahead.
The Jubilee Park side will play in Marine Harvest South Division 1 next term after finishing bottom of the Marine Harvest National Division at the end of the 2016 season.

Dunoon Camanachd recruitment drive
Dunoon Camanachd are appealing for new shinty players to bolster their squad.
The club are particularly keen to hear from players who came through the ranks of committee member Bobby Crowe’s Dunoon junior club.
All levels of experience are welcome and Dunoon are particularly keen to add more experienced players to help the newer/younger players improve. Newer players to the game are also welcome.
The club had a good debut season in Marine Harvest South Division 2 in 2016. They completed all their fixtures and recorded two league wins.
However, more players are needed for the rigours of a full league and cup schedule. Anyone interested should contact any club player or committee member or email:

Newtonmore warm up at The Eilan
Newtonmore will warm up for the new season with three preseason friendlies at the Eilan.
Paul John MacKintosh’s side will host Lochaber on Saturday February 4, whilst Inverness visit a fortnight later. They then take on Caberfeidh at the club’s open day on Saturday February 25.
The club’s original plans for a fixture on Saturday February 11 have fallen through so they are still looking for opposition for that date.

Strathspey Camanachd thanks Oban for support
The Oban Times recently featured Strathspey Camanachd’s predicament as they were forced to launch a fundraising drive after a fire destroyed all their shinty equipment.
Oban Celtic and the Macaulay Association picked up on their plight and both donated shinty balls, prompting Strathspey Camanachd to pass on their thanks to both organisations for their generosity.

Lewis Camanachd player of the year awards
Lewis Camanachd announced their 2016 player of the year awards at a ceremony following their New Year Iomain Challainn at Smith Avenue, Stornoway.
After an afternoon’s shinty, in which the Lewis Blues beat the Lewis Reds 5-4, the players retired to a social evening at the golf club where they voted on the award winners.
Michael MacLeod was a consistent performer during the year and was named senior player of the year.
Women’s shinty is on the up in Lewis and Alicia MacSween was women’s player of the year.
Youth player of the year was Steven Morrison, one of the brightest prospects in the Lewis camp.
Michael MacLeod was also the first recipient of the manager’s award, the choice of boss Duncan MacIntyre, and club chairwoman Annette Murray accepted the award on his behalf as he was on holiday.
The captain’s choice was another new award and 2016 captain Kenny Murray chose Ally Lamont for this accolade.

The Patersons of Beauly
A centenary reflection on rifles, romance, shinty and World War 1 takes place at the Highland Archive Centre, Inverness, on Thursday February 9.
The night will include an illustrated talk from Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan and Margaret MacKay which will take the audience back in time to the Highland communities of 100 years ago.
Family history and lore, an autograph book, sporting activities, music, photographs and military imperatives are all used to illuminate a story of Scotland, Canada and the Highlands which resonates to this day.
There will also be entertainment from famous piper Duncan MacGillvray who recently piped Beauly and Lovat onto the pitch ahead of their New Year Lovat Cup clash.
Admission is free and the event starts at 7.30pm.

John Mackechnie, Glenorchy
The shinty community lost another well-regarded figure when John Mackechnie, Glenorchy, died suddenly on Monday December 26, aged 76.
John was a past president of Glenorchy Shinty Club and made an enormous contribution to the Dalmally club, serving in various roles for more than 40 years.
John Mackechnie was also a member of the Camanachd Association Disciplinary Committee for several years and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
Although John never played shinty, nothing gave him more pride than watching two of his sons, Allan and Graeme, playing for Glenorchy over the years. The Mackechnie connection with the club continued as his grandson Arik became a Glenorchy regular last season whilst another grandson, Lennan, has started out on his shinty career playing for Park Primary School, Oban, and Oban Camanachd U14s.
John is survived by his beloved wife Christine, sons Donald, Allan and Graeme and six grandchildren. John’s funeral took place at Dalmally Church on Saturday January 14.