Inveraray Shinty Club
|Full name||Inveraray Shinty Club Camanachd Inbhir Aora|
|Nickname||The Aray Boys, The Royal Burgh Side|
|Ground||Winterton Park, Inveraray|
|League||National Division One|
|League||South Division One|
Inveraray Shinty Club (Camanachd Inbhir Aora) is a shinty club from Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland. After relegation from the Premier Division in 2015, they will play in the National Division One in 2016. There is also a reserve team.
The club was formed after a public meeting in 1877. The club's first fixture was a 4–1 defeat by Vale of Leven in Govan.
The club reached the Camanachd Cup final in the first season in which they competed in the tournament in 1898 but were beaten 2–0 by Beauly.The final was reached again in 1903 but Inveraray refused to travel to Inverness to face Kingussie after the first match at Perth was drawn, and the cup was awarded to Kingussie.
The Camanachd Cup was finally won in 1925 however and Inveraray made a successful defence of the tournament the following year. In 1930 the Camanachd Cup was won for a third time.
After the Second World War the number of players in the district was greatly reduced and the club joined with rivals Furnace Shinty Club to become Loch Fyne-side. The combined side twice reached the Camanachd Cup Final but were beaten on both occasions. In 1957, Inveraray was reformed but fell into abeyance in 1979. It was then restarted in 1982 and has continued to this day.
The club worked its way back to the top of the game and were founder members of the new National Premier League in 1994. The Glasgow Celtic Society Cup was won three times in this decade, in 1995, 1996 and 1999.
Although Inveraray were relegated from the Premier League in 2000 they bounced back immediately the following year and with perhaps their greatest generation of players went on to enjoy their most successful era.
The team reached the Camanachd Cup Final in 2002 after a 35-year gap but were beaten 3–2 by Kingussie. Two years later in 2004 however the team won the Camanachd Cup Final with a 1–0 win over Fort William, the greatest day in Inveraray's recent history. This bridged a 74-year gap since the club's previous Camanachd Cup success. Inveraray went on to lose 3–1 to Fort William in the centenary Camanachd Cup Final in 2007.
The team has enjoyed great success in the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup since the millennium, winning the trophy 9 times out of 10 between 2001 and 2010.
The MacAulay Cup was won for the first time in 2001. In 2008 Inveraray defeated Newtonmore 3–0 to win the MacAulay Cup for the second time. In 2009 the Cup was successfully defended as Inveraray came from 3–1 down against fancied Kingussie to win 4–3.
At the end of 2009, despite a successful season in the cups, where they won the Celtic Society and the MacAulay Cup, Davie MacPherson retired from his position as manager to be replaced by John Smylie. MacPherson is the most successful manager in the history of the club.
Smylie's first success as manager was the 2010 Glasgow Celtic Society Cup in which Inveraray overturned a two-goal deficit to defeat Kyles Athletic 3–2. This was Inveraray's fifth successive Celtic Society Cup triumph and also saw Gary and Graeme MacPherson collect their twelfth winners medal each, a new record for the competition. This was Inveraray's 20th victory in the competition.
Inveraray lost their grip on the Celtic Society Cup in 2011 with Kyles Athletic winning the trophy. Inveraray were for much of the season in danger of losing their Premier League status. A late season rally saw 'Aray survive on goal difference at the expense of Oban Camanachd. The club did make an impact in the Camanachd Cup by defeating Kyles 4–1 then holding eventual winners Newtonmore to 2–2 over 90 minutes in the semi-final. Despite having a man sent off Newtonmore proved too strong in the extra period and triumphed 5–2.
Inveraray regained the Celtic Society Cup in 2012. Kyles were defeated 1–0 in the quarter-final and Inverary then secured a place in the final with a 6–3 win over Bute. Inveraray proceeded to win the final against Taynuilt by a record margin of 14–0. The match marked Taynuilt's first appearance in a senior final.
Inveraray progressed to the Camanachd Cup final for the first time since 2007 and faced rivals Kyles Athletic in only the second all south final in the history of the tournament. Inveraray led 4–2 at half-time and were 5–3 ahead in the second half before Kyles embarked on a famous fightback to win an epic match by 6–5. Inveraray captain Scott Robertson retired after the match and manager John Smylie stood down at the end of the season, with many seeing the match as the last stand of the current Inveraray team.
2013 saw brothers Graeme and Garry MacPherson take over as joint player managers. With some promising younger players making an impact, Inveraray did better than many expected in the Premier League, finishing in 3rd position. There was frustration in the cup tournaments however as old rivals Kyles Athletic won 3 narrow encounters. Kyles defeated Inveraray 1–0 in the Camanachd Cup, followed by a win on penalties in the Celtic Society Cup final following a 0–0 draw. In the Macaulay Cup Kyles prevailed 4–2 in extra time.
The 2014 season saw the senior team retain their place in the Premier League, and reach the final of the Celtic Cup, where they were beaten 6-2 by Kyles. The junior team were champions in the South Division 2, and also reached the Bullough Cup final. There was also a MacQuiston Cup final win for the U-17's to become South champions.
Inveraray began 2015 with a landmark 1-0 home win over Premier League champions Newtonmore. The team didn't win another league match until the end of the season when their relegation had already been confirmed. The team again saved their best for the cups. Aray reached the Camanachd Cup semi-final but an injury ravaged team eventually lost in extra-time to eventual winners Lovat. Inveraray also reached the Macaulay Cup where they were outclassed 3-1 by Newtonmore. This game marked the end of an era as goalkeeper Graeme MacMacPherson stood down from the first team.
2016 saw Ruaraidh Graham took over as first team manager with several young players who had played under him in the junior team stepping up to the top team. Although Aray didn't win promotion, they advanced to the finals of both the Celtic Society and Macaulay Cup finals. Late goals in both games secured wins for Kyles and Kinlochshiel, but Inveraray's young players impressed and brought great hope for the future.
Camanachd Cup Winners 1925, 1926, 1930, 2004.
Celtic Society Cup Winners 1887, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1934, 1935, 1949*, 1953* (*as Lochfyneside), 1968, 1974, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012.
MacAulay Cup Winners 2001, 2008, 2009.
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