|Full name||Kinlochshiel Shinty Club|
|Gaelic name||Comann Camanachd Cheann Loch Seile|
|League||Marine Harvest Premiership|
|Reserve Manager||Willie MacRae|
|League||North Division One|
Kinlochshiel Shinty Club is a shinty club based in Balmacara, near Kyle of Lochalsh, Lochalsh, Scotland. The club has two sides, a senior team which competes in the Marine Harvest Premiership and a reserve team in North Division One.
Kinlochshiel won their first ever senior national trophy winning the 2016 MacAulay Cup. In 2017 they won their inaugural Premiership becoming only the fourth team to do so and the second not based in Badenoch.
The club won its first trophy in the form of the Sutherland Cup in 1962 and the Strathdearn in 1975. Whilst the club have been successful over the years, a troublesome patch in the 1990s led to Kinlochshiel dropping down to the lowest division in the North and working their way back up the leagues and re-establishing a reserve team. This has reaped long term benefits and the club are now considered one of the best teams outside the top flight. The club boasts international players Finlay MacRae and Keith MacRae in their ranks.
In 2006, the club was joined by the wider shinty community in mourning for Johnny "Ach" Macrae, referee co-ordinator for the Camanachd Association and former North Player of the Year who died at the age of 50. His funeral was attended by over 3000 people.
The Modern Era 2006
2007 was a very successful year for the club as they won North Division Three and the Balliemore Cup. The club won the Balliemore Cup on 1 September 2007 against Glenurquhart in a rearranged match at Newtonmore after the first game was rained out on 17 August 2007 in Oban. The first team also missed out on promotion to the Premier Division, coming second in North Division One. In 2009, the club reached the Balliemore Cup Final for the fifth time, losing 5–1 to Strathglass. Again, the club reached the Balliemore Final in 2010 and defeated Lochaber Camanachd on penalties after a late comeback which so them go 4–3 down in injury-time then force extra-time with the last hit of the ball. The final save in the penalty shoot out gained internet notoriety as it was accidentally saved by keeper Graham Kennedy with his head – technically a foul which should have resulted in a retake – and also an unwise decision to make regarding personal safety.
After the successful 2011 season, which saw Shiel become the only team to ever win the league with a 100% record, the 2012 season has seen them reach the Camanachd Cup semi-final, which they lost to Inveraray, and consolidate strongly in the Premiership with wins against Kingussie, Newtonmore and Kyles.
The club have consolidated their position within the Premiership since 2012, but they did not vanquish relegation worries in 2013 until the last few weeks of the season. Relegation was also a worry towards the end of the season, and it took until Lochaber Camanachd's very last game to cement Shiel's position in the Premiership for the following 2015 season. As the start of the season draws ever closer, the 1st Team will remain under Colin "Beaver" Fraser, whilst the second's will also stay under Willie "DoonceMoth" MacRae.
Work started on the new pitch at Reraig, Balmacara in September 2014. The project, which is hoped to be ready for playing towards the end of the 2015 season, has been funded by sportscotland and Highland Council, as well as very generous donations from the late John Clamp and Leslie Rush. It was initially made possible by the generosity of Mrs Katherine Grant, whose late husband was president of the club for many years. The next development phase will be a multi-purpose building with changing rooms, training/meeting room, kitchen and spectator facilities.
Kinlochshiel also has a bright future ahead, with young stars such as Nathan Whear, Jonnie MacAskill and Fergus Dobson. The Boys from Kyle, Glenelg and Dornie respectively, are all regular starters in Shiel's second team and are looking forward to a promising season ahead under the wing of Willie "DoonceMoth" MacRae.
2016 saw the club push for the top of the Premiership, aided by the signing from Beauly of Scotland international Conor Cormack. The club were too easily defeated in the Camanachd Cup semi-final in August 2016 by Newtonmore but the club made history in September 2016 when they defeated Inveraray 5–3 in the MacAulay Cup final. This was their first senior national trophy. The game was broadcast live on BBC Two.
In 2017, the club had its most successful season ever when it secured for the first time the Premier Division title. They were pursued all season long by Kyles Athletic, but a 4–0 win at Kirkton gave Kyles the edge going towards a final day game at Oban. With Kyles' game cancelled due to wet weather, Shiel overcame Oban Camanachd 2–0 to spark scenes of celebration. Shiel were the only club outside of Badenoch, other than Fort William to ever win the Premier title.
Clash of the Ash
"Tell me who's gonna mark the Kinlochshiel Bear He's hard as nails, quick as a flash He comes down from the caves For the clash of the ash"
– Clash of the Ash, C&R MacDonald, 2007
- "A managerial meltdown, footballers going (Lady) Gaga and a painful save". The Guardian. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Shinty keeper saves. BBC Alba. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Shinty: Keith Loades' workload ends term at Kinlochshiel". The Scotsman. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Innes, Gary (23 August 2011). "Newtonmore pipped at the post". BBC Sport.
- "Shinty: Record-breaking Kinlochshiel out to make another piece of history". The Herald. Glasgow. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2016.