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Liberty British Aluminium has been confirmed as the new title sponsors of the Balliemore Cup.
Camanachd Association president Keith Loades was joined by Bryan King, Director of Lochaber Operations at Liberty British Aluminium and players and officials from local clubs to make the 2018 Balliemore Cup first round draw at the foot of Ben Nevis on Monday January 29.
Liberty British Aluminium was confirmed as sponsors of shinty’s intermediate competition for three years, increasing its investment and profile in shinty.
The agreement also sees Liberty British Aluminium move into its second year as members of the shinty business club.
Camanachd Association president Keith Loades said: ‘This is great news for shinty and represents great support for the sport.
‘The commitment shown by Liberty British Aluminium adds real value to the continued promotion and development of shinty. Shinty is an important part of Scotland’s sporting and cultural heritage and remains a key part of community life in many areas across the country. The Camanachd Association recognises shinty as Scotland’s most iconic team sport and the whole shinty community will be delighted that such a successful company has shown such faith in our great game.
‘Liberty British Aluminium has made it clear its contribution is intended to give something back to the communities in which it operates. Consequently, it has been flexible and supportive of what is best for shinty.’
Camanachd Association chief executive officer Derek Keir added: ‘The Camanachd Association is delighted to welcome Liberty British Aluminium as title sponsors for the Balliemore Cup. Liberty has been great to work with and we are delighted to sign a three-year deal with such an established Lochaber business.
‘We look forward to working with Liberty British Aluminium which shares our commitment and passion for developing opportunities in shinty.’
Brian King, managing director of Lochaber operations for Liberty British Aluminium said: ‘At this exciting time, when we are expanding at Fort William and consolidating our position as a major Highlands employer, we’re very pleased to reinforce our relationship with the sport of shinty, which is an integral part of community life in this part of Scotland. We look forward to developing this partnership over the next three years for the benefit of the whole community.’
Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, added: ‘It’s fantastic to see the beginning of a partnership between Liberty British Aluminium and the Camanachd Association to support the sport of shinty. This type of sponsorship is invaluable in Scottish sport.
‘Liberty British Aluminium has shown a real commitment to the Camanachd Association and the prestigious Balliemore Cup.
‘It will help the competition continue to thrive and allow the Camanachd Association to develop a strategic and sustainable approach to growing the game, from grassroots through to the national team.
‘I am sure this new agreement will see the sport continue to go from strength to strength.’
The Liberty British Aluminium Balliemore Cup first round draw was made by Tom Uppington, power and hydro director, and Rosie Flannigan, business services co-ordinator.
Liberty British Aluminium Balliemore Cup – first round, Saturday April 28:
Strathglass v Glasgow Mid
Kilmallie v Tayforth
Oban Celtic v Aberdour
Taynuilt v Inverness
Ballachulish v Col Glen
Aberdeen University v Beauly
Glengarry v Bute
Fort William v Inveraray
The tie of the round is the meeting between holders Fort William and Inveraray at An Aird whilst Oban Celtic have home advantage against Aberdour.
Kilmallie should be too strong for Tayforth and there will be an interesting tie at Craigard where Glengarry host Bute.
2018 shinty fixture list
A sure sign the new shinty season is just around the corner is the imminent release of the new fixture list.
Camanachd Association operations and events manager Astie Cameron has confirmed the 2018 fixture list is due for publication on Thursday February 1.
Wet and wintry weather wiped out the early pre-season friendly matches last Saturday.
Fort William P
Heavy rain left An Aird water-logged so the pre-season friendly between Fort William and Kinlochshiel was postponed.
Oban Celtic P
The meeting between Oban Celtic and Kilmory at Mossfield was called off when the visitors pulled out of the match.
Oban Celtic then arranged a match with Marine Harvest Premiership champions Kinlochshiel, but that also fell through.
Oban Celtic then set up a game against Fort William, but heavy overnight rain led to this 1pm throw-up being called off on Saturday morning.
Marine Harvest National Division side Strathglass were to host Glengarry, newly promoted to Marine harvest North Division 1, at Cannich.
However, snow on the pitch meant the field was unplayable. The teams tried to switch venue to the astro pitch at Drumnadrochit, but it was unavailable.
Skye Camanachd Ladies regain Johnstone Rosebowl
Skye Camanachd Ladies regained the Johnstone Rosebowl at the Invergarry Indoor Tournament at the Nevis Centre, Fort William, on Saturday January 27.
Skye won this competition in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before losing out 7-6 after extra-time to Badenoch & Strathspey in last year’s final.
After the group matches, Skye A finished ahead of holders Badenoch & Strathspey on goal difference with both teams going through to the semi-finals.
Skye B, captained by Emma Gordon, also topped their group and reached the last four along with Glengarry A.
Skye A defeated Glengarry A in the semi-finals with Badenoch & Strathspey edging out Skye B.
This set up a repeat of the 2017 final and a Rhianna Kirk double and goals from Jenna Beaton and Lorna MacRae sealed a 4-2 win for Skye. Skye captain Lorna MacRae was presented with the Johnstone Rosebowl, whilst Skye’s Caitlin Maclean was named player of the tournament.
Skye Camanachd A from: Sarah-Jane Ferguson, Caitlin MacLean, Ilana Paterson, Rhianna Kirk, Jenna Beaton and Lorna MacRae, captain.
The Johnstone Rosebowl was donated to Glengarry Girls Shinty Club in 1998 – a year after the team was formed – by Mrs Ailsa Johnstone of DA Johnstone & Son Contractors, Invergarry, who have been loyal sponsors since.
Edinburgh and Aberdour come out on top
Teams from Caithness to Cornwall took part in the Three Sisters shinty sixes tournament at Levenhall Links, Musselburgh, on Saturday January 27.
Edinburgh University hosted the event and, after an exciting day’s shinty, the Edinburgh mens’ team and Aberdour Ladies were the winners.
The teams retreated to The Three Sisters in Edinburgh afterwards for a post tournament ceilidh.
MacVicar takes charge at Col Glen
Ronnie MacVicar has taken over as Col Glen team manager.
Ronnie replaces Peter Kennedy and Brian McNaughton who led the side to a ninth place finish in Marine South Division 1 last season.
Col Glen have three pre-season matches lined up for February. The squad travel to Taynuilt Sports Field to play Taynuilt on Saturday February 10. A week later, they face Bute at Otter Ferry and their final pre-season friendly is against Aberdour at Silversands on Saturday February 24.
Newtonmore name MacKintosh as captain
Andy MacKintosh will captain Newtonmore for the 2018 shinty season.
Scottish international MacKintosh was awarded the Albert Smith Medal as man of the match when Newtonmore won the 2016 Camanachd Cup and is a key part of their defence.
Paul John MacKintosh continues as Newtonmore first team manager. Orsten Gardiner takes over from Cammy MacDonald in charge of the Newtonmore seconds.
Paul MacRae to captain Kinlochshiel
Marine Harvest Premiership champions Kinlochshiel have confirmed Paul MacRae will be their captain this season.
The experienced full back takes the armband from keeper Scott Kennedy who led Kinlochshiel to their historic first top flight title win in 2017.
Kinlochshiel were to open their pre-season programme last weekend but wet weather foiled their plans.
Kinlochshiel follow up their friendly against Newtonmore at The Eilan this Saturday with games against Inveraray at The Winterton and Kingussie at the Dell before travelling to The Bught Park to play Inverness at the end of February.
Tawse is Lovat skipper
Lewis Tawse will captain 2017 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup finalists Lovat for the 2018 shinty season.
Tawse will lead Lovat in a friendly meeting with Fort William at An Aird on Saturday 10 February 10 whilst Glasgow Mid Argyll visit Balgate a week later.
Family commitments mean Ryan Ferguson won’t start the season in the Lovat senior side, although he may help out with the club’s second team.
Youngsters Scott MacKenzie and Marc Kelly, who missed large chunks of last season through injury, should be back in the fold.
Caberfeidh start without Symonds
Caberfeidh’s Ryan Symonds will miss the pre-season and start of the shinty season as he will be in Australia.
Jodi Gorski’s Caberfeidh side will want to make a good start to life in the Marine Harvest Premiership so Symonds’ absence is a blow.
Kingussie name assistant manager
Barrie Dallas has been confirmed as the Kingussie first team assistant manager.
Dallas will help newly-appointed boss John Gibson and their pre-season plans start with the inter-club Liz Young sixes at Dalfaber on Saturday.
Kingussie play newly- promoted Marine Harvest Premiership side Caberfeidh at the Dell on Saturday February 10, before hosting Marine Harvest Premiership champions Kinlochshiel at the Dell a week later.
A trip to Yoker to take on Glasgow Mid Argyll on Saturday February 24 completes Kingussie’s pre-season programme.
Ally MacLeod has stepped down as Kingussie second team manager.
The club will have a coalition of coaches looking after the side throughout the season.
Davie Anderson takes charge of the side from pre-season until the end of March. Iain Borthwick in April and Ronald Ross in May are followed by Ally MacLeod in June and July.
Russell Jones will round off the season, leading the squad in August and September.
The Kingussie colts have arranged pre-season matches against the Newtonmore colts at The Eilan on Saturday February 10 and Caberfeidh colts at The Dell a fortnight later.
Glasgow Mid Argyll have announced their pre-season programme.
GMA finished bottom of the Marine Harvest Premiership last season and they will be keen to hit the ground running in the National Division.
The Glasgow side will play four pre-season friendly matches. They host Tayforth at Yoker on Saturday February 3, whilst Newtonmore are their visitors a week later.
GMA’s only pre-season away match is against Lovat at Balgate on Saturday February 17, with Kingussie travelling to Yoker on Saturday February 24.
Glenurquhart Player of the Year awards
The 2017 Glenurquhart player of the year awards were announced at the club’s annual dinner dance at the Clansman on Saturday January 27.
First team player of the year was former Ross County and Motherwell footballer Michael Fraser on his return to shinty. Fraser was followed by stand-in keeper Garry MacKintosh in second place with James MacPherson third.
Second team player of the year prize was Fergus Robertson.
Finlay Robertson was the club’s young player of the year, whilst Hazel Hunter was again named Glenurquhart Ladies player of the year.
This weekend’s fixtures
There are a number of pre-season friendly matches arranged for Saturday February 3.
Oban Camanachd are due to take the field for the first time this season. Ian Hay’s side play host to Inveraray at Mossfield. Throw-up is at 1pm, although the pitch at Oban High School has been booked as a back-up. If there is a venue switch, the throw-up at the 3G pitch will be at noon.
Oban Celtic’s first team squad travel to Taynuilt Sports Field to play Taynuilt with a 2pm throw-up.
Amongst the other warm up games, Marine Harvest Premiership champions Kinlochshiel travel to the Eilan to face 2016 winners Newtonmore.
The Fort William second team has lined up a meeting with Ballachulish at An Aird.
Glenurquhart and Inverness see their first action of the new term when they meet at Blairbeg, whilst Glasgow Mid Argyll have set up a clash with Tayforth at Yoker.
Both Skye and Kingussie have inter-club matches. North Skye and South Skye contest the Ewen Morrison Memorial Cup at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree, whilst Kingussie play the Liz Young Sixes at Dalfaber with a 12.30pm start.
Sin bin decision expected soon
A number of clubs and associations have given feedback on The Camanachd Association’s new sin bin proposal.
The change would see a player sin binned for 10 minutes and given three points for a bookable offence rather than the current five points. The Camanachd Association board will consider all views ahead of making a final announcement.
National First Shinty tournaments re-scheduled
The National P5 (and under) and P7 (and under) First Shinty Festivals have been rescheduled for Saturday March 3.
The event, one of youth shinty’s biggest days, was initially confirmed for Saturday February 24 but a double booking meant the shinty tournaments have been moved.
Event organisers gave consideration to Saturday February 17 as an alternative date but this was ruled out as it fell within mid-term school holidays.
The new Saturday March 3 date clashes with the first day of the new senior shinty season so it is not ideal but it was the best compromise available.
The P5 (and under) tournament takes place at Lochaber High School, whilst the P7 (and under) competition will be held at the Nevis Centre.
Lochaber First Shinty qualifiers
On Sunday January 28, almost 100 children battled it out for a place in the final of the First Shinty Festival at the Lochaber area qualifiers.
Held at the Nevis Centre, there were two tournaments, the P4/5’s in the morning and the P6/7’s in the afternoon.
In the morning, there were teams from Ardnamurchan, Invergarry, Lochaber, Caol, Inverlochy and Balluchulish.
There was brilliant play from this young group, with great skill on show. Returning winners Inverlochy triumphed again and won their spot in the finals.
In the afternoon session, a record number of nine teams entered.
These were Invergarry, Ardnamurchan, Mallaig, Ballachulish, Caol, Lochaber, Inverlochy, Lundavra and BSGLA.
The shinty was faster in this session, with more ‘big’ hits, but with no less skill on show.
With such big numbers, two pools were created. In the semi-finals Inverlochy beat Ardnamurchan and Caol beat BSGLA. The final was a hard fought game between the two Fort William schools, but it was Inverlochy who came out on top, completing the double and winning their place in the finals.
West coast shinty mourns
There was a huge turnout at the funeral of former Skye Camanachd Chieftain, Flora MacLean, Torvaig, who died on Friday January 19.
Flora was a much-loved and hugely respected member of Skye Camanachd.
Her late husband Ewen MacLean played for the island club, whilst eldest son Caley Maclean was captain when Skye Camanachd won the Camanachd Cup in 1990.
Former Kinlochshiel shinty player Colin Campbell, or Collie as he was known, died peacefully on Saturday January 20 after a short illness.
When Kinlochshiel was formed in 1960, from the district teams of Kintail, Lochalsh and Glenshiel, Collie was amongst the first players to play for the new club.
They had immediate success, winning the Strathdearn Cup in 1961, the Sutherland Cup in 1962 and the Strathdearn Cup again in 1966.
Skye Camanachd exhibition
An exhibition at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre celebrates 125 Years of Skye Camanachd. The exhibition is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays until the end of March.