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The first cup draws of the 2017 shinty season have taken place.
The RBS MacTavish Cup, Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup, Bullough Cup and Strathdearn Cup all took place at Highland Print Studio, Inverness, on Monday January 23.
The draws were made by Alison McMenemy from the Highland Print Studio and Glenurquhart keeper Stuart MacKintosh, who is the player representative to the Camanachd Association.
The venue was selected because Highland Print Studio is about to embark on an exciting venture with the Camanachd Association which will see artists working with shinty clubs to create a series of prints celebrating the contemporary culture and heritage of Scotland’s iconic indigenous sport of shinty. The project has received funding from the Highland Culture – Take Pride, Take Part Investment Fund.
Newtonmore went into the RBS MacTavish Cup draw as holders while their second team were 2016 Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup winners.
Tayforth were reining Bullough Cup champions and Lochcarron lifted the Strathdearn Cup last year.
2017 Balliemore Cup Draw
The draw for the 2017 Balliemore Cup will take place at 2pm in the Camanachd Association Office, Inverness on Thursday 26 January 2017.
All Camanachd Association members are welcome to attend.
2017 Camanachd Cup Draw
The final cup draw for the 2017 shinty season, the prestigious Camanachd Cup, will take place in early March when the preliminary round and first round ties will be pulled out of the hat.
The second round draw will be made after the first round ties have taken place.
The ten Marine Harvest Premiership sides join the competition at the second round stage.
2017 Shinty Fixture List
One sure sign that the new shinty season is just around the corner is the imminent release of the new fixture list.
Camanachd Association Operations & Events Manager Astie Cameron has confirmed that the 2017 fixture list is due for publication on Tuesday 31 January 2017.
The fixture list will include all competitions except the Camanachd Cup which is drawn on a round by round basis throughout the season.
Managerial Merry Go Round In Shinty’s Top Flight
A busy managerial merry go round over the close season means that only three managers in this coming season’s Marine Harvest Premiership also manged a top flight side during 2016.
Ally Ferguson, Paul John MacKintosh and Iain Hay are the only survivors from last term with the latter still only a season and a half into the role. Ally Ferguson is in his second spell in charge of the Spean Bridge side, resuming control ahead of the 2015 season. Paul John MacKintosh is beginning his fifth season at the Newtonmore helm.
New bosses have been appointed at Glenurquhart, Kingussie, Kinlochshiel, Kyles Athletic and Lovat so, with Skye Camanachd and Fort William relegated, we have seen a level of change not witnessed for some time.
Glenurquhart announced that club stalwart Iain MacLeod would replace co-managers Billy MacLean and Dave Menzies and local rivals Lovat appointed Fraser Gallacher in place of John MacRitchie. Both MacLeod and Gallacher are taking on senior team management for the first time.
There was also change at Tighnabruaich where long-term trainer James Perlich took over from Norman MacDonald whilst the most surprising switch was at Kirkton where Johnston Gill was voted in over Colin Fraser. ‘Shiel have an advantage in that Gill already has top league experience from a previous stint in the role.
The most recent switch came at Kingussie who appointed Dallas Young as their first team boss, replacing co-managers Russell Jones and Davie Anderson.
Kilmallie and Glasgow Mid Argyll won promotion from last season’s Marine Harvest National Division and, not surprisingly, Mark MacPherson and George Hay stay in charge at their respective clubs.
Whilst the high turnover of bosses might be linked to the pressures of managing a top flight side, it is more likely that the timing of the turnover is coincidental. The outgoing managers have all served at least three years in the role, either during their recent tenure or counting a previous period in the post, so there may simply have been a general feeling that it was time for a change.
What this all does do is add an interesting dynamic to the new shinty season. Supporters will watch on with interest as the more experienced bosses lock horns with top league debutants.
Oban Celtic Announce Pre-season Plans
Oban Celtic manager Kenny Wotherspoon has set his side four testing pre-season friendlies throughout the month of February as they prepare for life in the Marine Harvest National Division.
The Oban Celtic squad open with a game against Taynuilt at Ganavan on Saturday 4 February 2017.
Marine Harvest Premiership side Glasgow Mid Argyll come to Mossfield to play Oban Celtic on Saturday 11 February 2017.
There will also be top division opposition a week later when Kilmallie are the opponents; again at Mossfield.
The ever-popular Robert Wylie Memorial Cup match takes place on Saturday 25 February 2017 as Ballachulish come to Mossfield. Oban Celtic will be out to win back the trophy after Kinlochshiel took it west with a 5-1 win last year.
The throw up times are yet to be confirmed.
Daniel Madej will continue as Oban Celtic club captain this coming season with Neil Carmichael as vice-captain.
Camanachd Association Step Up Hunt For New Chief
The Camanachd Association has stepped up the hunt for a new Chief Executive Officer to lead the organisation following the departure of Torquil MacLeod after the Association’s Annual General Meeting in November 2016.
The Association previously advertised the post but didn’t make an appointment after interviewing four candidates.
They have since taken time to review the terms and conditions on offer and the post, based in Inverness, has been re-advertised; now offering an increased salary of between £35,000 and £45,000 depending on experience.
The new Chief Executive Officer will be responsible to the Camanachd Association President and Board of Directors for ensuring the smooth running of the organisation.
The successful candidate will be an experienced leader with a high level of integrity and a proven track record in management, administration, finance, sponsorship / fundraising, marketing and communication.
The role is based at the Association’s Head Office in Inverness and the job description and candidate specification are available from the Camanachd Association website www.shinty.com
Any interested applicants can also discuss the post in confidence with Camanachd Association President Jim Barr by calling 07900 052568.
Kilmallie hold their Annual General Meeting at Caol Community Centre on Friday 27 January 2017.
It’s a big year for the Caol Parks side as Mark MacPherson’s senior squad returns to top division shinty.
The AGM starts at 7pm and all are welcome.
Rory Kennedy Is New Newtonmore Captain
Rory Kennedy will captain Newtonmore for the 2017 shinty season.
Kennedy takes the armband from fellow defender and fellow Scottish internationalist Steven MacDonald who lifted all major honours open to the club last season with the exception of the Artemis Macaulay Cup.
Rory Kennedy has put a time on the sidelines with a serious hand injury behind him and he was a key player in a solid Newtonmore defence which only lost 23 goals in 28 competitive games in 2016.
He is also a main-stay in Ronald Ross’ Scotland squad.
Dallas Young Appoints Kingussie Assistant
New Kingussie first team manager Dallas Young has wasted no time in appointing his assistant manager for the 2017 shinty season.
Barrie Dallas, a first team regular for many years, will assist Young in his new role.
Ally MacLeod and Ronald Ross will continue to lead the Kingussie second team.
Doe MacRae To Assist Johnston Gill At ‘Shiel
Doe MacRae will assist new Kinlochshiel manager Johnston Gill this coming season.
Doe MacRae is a well-known figure in shinty circles and Gill has nominated him as his right hand man as the new management team look to build on the successes of 2016 under former boss Colin Fraser, who was voted out of the managerial hot-seat at the end of last year after leading the team to Artemis Macaulay Cup success and a fourth place finish in the Marine Harvest Premiership – their highest finish ever.
Johnston Gill previously managed the side for a three year period, leading them to the Marine Harvest North Division 1 title and Balliemore Cup success.
Gill will without John Don MacKenzie and Duncan “Ach” MacRae this season as both have joined Glasgow Mid Argyll.
Aberdour Prepare For New Season
Marine Harvest South Division 1 side Aberdour will prepare for the new shinty season with four warm up matches.
Lisa MacColl’s Aberdour squad open with a match against Fort William at Silver Sands on Saturday 28 January 2017.
They then host Marine Harvest Premiership new-boys Glasgow Mid Argyll at the same venue a week later.
After a two week gap, the Aberdour seconds and the Kyles Athletic seconds meet at Silver Sands on Saturday 18 February 2017. Throw up for this one is at 1.30pm.
Then, just seven days ahead of the new shinty season, Aberdour head for the Dell to face the Kingussie second team on Saturday 25 February 2017.
Beauly Put Preseason Programme In Place
Beauly have put their preseason plans in place as new boss Alan MacRae looks to hit the ground running as new boss of the Braeview Park side.
Beauly lost 5-2 to Lovat in the Lovat Cup on Monday 2 January 2017 but they showed enough in the second half of that match to demonstrate that they will be able to build on the progress made last season.
There’s an early start for the Greens as a mixed Beauly first and second team side host Aberdeen University at Braeview Park on Saturday 28 January 2017.
There will be no on the field action on Saturday 4 February 2017 as the club hold their fund raising sale of work at the Phipps Hall.
However Beauly will be tested over the next three Saturdays as they play top flight opposition. On Saturday 11 February 2017, Beauly make the short journey to Blairbeg to take on Glenurquhart.
They are on the road again on Saturday 18 February 2017 as they face Kingussie at the Dell.
Beauly end the month with a third match against Marine Harvest Premiership opposition as they play newly promoted Kilmallie at the Canal Parks.