Brian MacCallum is new Lochside Rovers manager

Lovat Captain Greg Matheson holds the Lovat Cup aloft. Lovat Cup Match - Lovat v Beauly. Game played at Braeview, Beauly as Balgate was unplayable.

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Brian MacCallum has been confirmed as the new Lochside Rovers manager.

He takes over at the Marine Harvest South Division 1 team from Gareth Evans who will be a tough act to follow having led the side to Marine Harvest South Division 1 success as well as lifting the Sutherland Cup and Bullough Cup during his four years in charge.

Brian will be assisted by George Easton who was previously part of a successful Oban Camanachd U14s coaching team.

Brian MacCallum has previously stood in to take charge of Lochside when Gareth Evans was unavailable and he will meet with new Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss to select their respective squads for the new season.

Oban Camanachd and Lochside Rovers pre-season friendlies

Oban Camanachd and Lochside Rovers’ pre-season plans are almost complete.

Oban Camanachd and Lochside Rovers will take on the Glasgow Mid Argyll first and second teams at Mossfield on Saturday February 9.

Lochside Rovers and the Kilmallie second team will meet a week later on Saturday February 16. The match is currently scheduled for Ganavan but the venue could change. Oban Camanachd have yet to secure a friendly match for that date and have put out an open invitation to potential opponents for a fixture, either home or away.

The Oban Camanachd squad travel to the Eilan on Saturday February 23 to face treble winners Newtonmore. Lochside Rovers play neighbours Taynuilt at Mossfield the same day for the J C Trophy as the sides remember John Cameron.

The new competitive shinty season starts on Saturday March 2.

Oban Camanachd training schedule

Oban Camanachd and Lochside Rovers started their pre-season training at Oban High School on Monday January 7.

With new boss Stephen Sloss putting his side through their paces, training on Mondays will be in the games hall between 8pm and 9pm, whilst Wednesday training will be on the astro pitch between 7pm and 8.30pm.

Celtic youngsters win Boxing Day bragging rights

The Oban Celtic young boys (under 30s) side were 4-3 winners against an Oban Celtic old boys (over 30s) side in their annual Boxing Day clash at Mossfield.

The veterans were penalty shoot-out winners a year earlier but the young boys came out on top this year with Ross MacMillan, Daniel MacMillan, Andy MacDonald and Dylan Cooke getting the goals.

The match was keenly contested as ever. Kenny Wotherspoon scored twice for the seniors and also saw a penalty saved by young boys’ keeper Iain MacFarlane. Scott Burnett got the other veterans’ goal.

Young boys skipper Andy MacDonald was presented with the trophy at the club’s annual player of the year awards evening which took place at Oban Masonic Lodge afterwards.

Ross MacMillan is Oban Celtic Player of the Year

Ross MacMillan has been named 2018 Oban Celtic senior player of the year.

Scotland U21 cap Ross was the choice of outgoing Oban Celtic manager Kenny Wotherspoon who said: ‘Ross is a great guy to work with. The boy will do a job no matter what position you play him in. I think most people thought of Ross as a defender rather than a forward when he joined us. When I first played him up front, he finished that season joint top scorer in the National Division along with Fraser Watt and Calum McLay. Ross is a good player and he can play in both positions and did well for the Scotland U21s in defence in their win over Ireland U21.’

Scott Mossman won the Oban Celtic second team player of the year accolade as a reward for his fine performances during the season.

The Carnie and Pearson families presented the prizes on the night.

The Oban Celtic players took the chance to bid a final farewell and offer their thanks to Kenny Wotherspoon for his three successful years as first team manager.

Lovat retain Lovat Cup

Lovat lifted the Lovat Cup for the fourth consecutive year after beating Beauly 3-1 at Braeview Park on Wednesday January 2.

Beauly, who last won the trophy in 2015, were without Liam Girvan, Robbie Brindle and Ryan Tillman for this 1pm throw-up.

Lovat were missing Drew Howie, who has gone travelling for a year, and Greg Matheson, so influential in this match in recent years, who damaged his knee a few days before the match.

The usual good crowd from throughout the shinty world gathered for the game.

Favourites Lovat got off to a great start with Graeme MacMillan giving them the lead within 30 seconds of the throw-up. Marc MacLachlan, back in the side after suffering a serious knee injury in the Camanachd Cup Final, won possession on the Lovat right and his low ball into the middle found Graeme MacMillan unmarked in acres of space. Graeme had time to take a touch before steadying himself and rifling a shot into the back of the net.

Beauly equalised on 29 minutes. Daniel Lamont won possession on the left of midfield and surged forward before finding Sean Stewart. Stewart held off a couple of challenges before playing the ball into the danger area. Lovat defender Martin Mainland looked sure to clear but missed his hit and Jack MacDonald nipped in to win the ball and thump a superb shoulder-high shot past goalie Stuart MacDonald to make it 1-1. The sides remained on level terms until the break.

Lovat regained the lead seven minutes into the second half. Callum Cruden sent forward a free-hit from just inside his own half. Marc MacLachlan battled for possession and Graeme MacMillan swept the ball forward to the edge of the ‘D’ where Duncan Davidson ran in from the right and took a touch to take the ball away from the keeper before slipping a shot into the net from the left of the ‘D’.

Former Glenurquhart and Inverness player Fraser Heath came off the bench to make his Lovat debut, replacing Bailey MacKay with 25 minutes remaining.

Chris Johnston and Thomas Fraser took over from Duncan Davidson and Graeme MacMillan shortly after.

Marc MacLachlan sealed the win with eight minutes remaining. Thomas Fraser chipped a corner from the right into the ‘D’ and former Beauly player MacLachlan stretched to take a touch before flicking the ball past helpless keeper MacKay Murray to make it 3-1.

Lovat captain Lewis Tawse was presented with the Lovat Cup by Kim Fraser from the Lovat family and the celebrations carried forward into the club’s annual dance that evening. Deek Cameron was referee.

Ballachulish bring in the New Year

Ballachulish brought in the New Year with their annual club match on Wednesday January 2.

2018 captain Duncan MacDonald and 2019 skipper Cian MacPhee led the teams with MacDonald’s side eventually winning 5-1.

The teams finished with a penalty shoot-out which MacDonald’s side also won, 3-2.

Ballachulish started their training ahead of the new season on Monday January 7.

2018 John MacKinnon Sixes

Crossal & Co retained the John MacKinnon Memorial Sixes at the Portree High School astro pitch on Saturday December 29.

The tournament takes place each year in memory of Skye Camanachd vice president John MacKinnon who died in December 2011 as the result of a tragic accident at work.

Five teams took part in a round-robin set of fixtures before Crossal & Co and Morrison & Co finished in the top two positions to win through to the final.

A turn and shot into the top corner of the net from Christina MacDonald gave Morrison & Co an early lead. However, Jordan Murchison, who looked back to his best after an injury-hit 2018 shinty season, thumped the ball through a crowded goal area to make it 1-1.

Murchison got his second to seal the win, striking a low, hard shot into the corner of the net.

The teams then made their way to the Skye Camanachd clubhouse for the trophy presentations.

Tournament winners Crossal & Co were again to the fore when the individual awards were handed out as William MacKinnon (overall player), John MacLean (over 40s) and Caitlin MacLean (ladies) took the honours whilst Connor Gilpin (The Magnificent 7) and James Morrison (Morrison & Co) shared the U17 prize.

Camanachd Leòdhais and Kinlochshiel remember Iolaire disaster
Camanachd Leòdhais and Kinlochshiel met at Bayhead, Stornoway, on Tuesday January 1 to commemorate the Iolaire disaster 100 years earlier.
Representatives from both clubs attended a remembrance service at the Iolaire Memorial before the match with thoughts turning back to the early hours of Wednesday January 1 1919 when 201 men, returning home following the end of World War 1, perished after the HMY Iolaire sank just yards from the Stornoway coastline.

Shinty historian Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan explained how appropriate the match was. ‘The significance of Kyle of Lochalsh as a key part of the chain which has historically linked the Western Isles and the mainland will forever be overshadowed by the tragic events which began to unfold when the Iolaire set sail for Stornoway. There was, no doubt, an overwhelming sense of relief that the war and its traumas were being set aside; the impending celebration of a New Year and all that this entailed, with local shinty matches still fresh in the memory.

The Iolaire changed the Western Isles forever. It is singularly appropriate, however, that the sportsmen of the west coast and Lewis, and in particular the shinty players, come together to play their own distinctive part in marking the events 100 years ago. Shinty withered on the Western Isles with the passage of time and the cataclysmic events of World War 1. The home-coming of men with their football and changed habits, along with other changes in community life saw to that. But now, with the fullness of time, the caman is again at the heart of the community, a symbol of the strength of its people, their resilience and a pride in its past.’

The all-weather pitch on Smith Avenue was on stand-by in case the Bayhead field failed an inspection but the weather was kind and the match was able to go ahead as scheduled although the surface was difficult for both sides.

Camanachd Leòdhais included a number of their youth players as well as the more experienced Donald Lamont, Stuart Campbell and Daniel Gallagher.

Kinlochshiel bosses Johnstone Gill and Duncan MacLeod included skipper Paul MacRae, David Falconer, Jordan Fraser, Oliver MacRae, Ali Nixon and Duncan ‘DA’ MacRae from the squad which won the 2018 Artemis Macaulay Cup. They also introduced a number of their youths including Duncan MacMillan, who had a good game, Martin MacRae, Archie MacRae, Shaun MacLean and Cam Jones. Former Lewis player Eoghan Stewart also guested for the Balmacara side, whilst veteran Neilie ‘Ach’ MacRae played in goal.
Referee Henry MacInnes signalled the start of a two-minute silence ahead of this 1.30pm throw-up. A special strike from Kinlochshiel’s Oliver MacRae was the only goal of the first half. MacRae gathered the ball from far out before sending a rocket into the top corner of the net past helpless Lewis keeper Kieran Murray. Ali Nixon made it 2-0 when he touched the ball home with one hand on his caman on the angle.

Youngster Archie MacRae made the most of his opportunity when he added a third shortly after. MacRae hammered the ball home on the half volley from close range. Oliver MacRae got his second late in the match, again from close in, to round off the 4-0 victory.

Schools Camanachd changes

After an extensive consultation process surrounding all primary and secondary school-based shinty competitions, the Camanachd Association has decided to rename the current Camanachd Association Youth Working Group the Camanachd Association Youth and Schools Development Group.

The new group will oversee shinty played at primary and secondary schools as well as club youth, U14 and U17 and will include representation from all four shinty regions.

The changes, which will be reviewed annually, will take effect from the start of the 2019 shinty season and have been introduced with the intention of extending playing opportunities for youngsters participating in school and club-based shinty.

There will be the introduction of a new 10-a-side club competition, mirroring the MacKay Cup, for club primary teams with the Camanachd Association Trophy at stake. The format will involve individual regional matches followed by district matches, culminating in a national final.

The first shinty indoor winter festivals for individual schools will continue with amalgamated schools within the 150 rule able to compete with the specific permission of the Camanachd Association Development Team.
The current format for secondary schools competitions will remain the same for 2019 with additional regional festivals being run.

The Tulloch Cup format will be extended with the introduction of area groups of six teams each who will host/organise a nine-a-side tournament. The winners from each area will move forward to a regional tournament and then to a national finals tournament. The 150 amalgamation rule will still apply.

The MacKay Cup competition will begin with regional ties followed by district matches leading to a national final. However, the tournament will be 10-a-side to help enable players to have more time on the ball and to allow teams to take part without being too reliant on introducing younger players to make up the numbers. The 150 amalgamation rule will again still apply. Entry forms will be circulated this month.