Skye Camanachd

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Skye
Skye-camanachd-logo.png
Full name Skye Camanachd
Gaelic name Comann Camanachd an Eilein
Nickname Na Sgitheanaich
Founded 1892
Ground Pairc nan Laoch
Manager Willie Cowie/Peter Gordon
League National Division One
2016 Premier Division, 9th
Reserve Manager Kenny MacLeod
League North Division One
2016 5th
Home colours
Away colours
Skye Ladies
Full name Skye Camanachd Ladies
Gaelic name Comann Camanachd an Eilein
Nickname Na Ban-Sgitheanaich
Founded 2010
Ground Pairc nan Laoch
Manager Robbie Gordon
League National Division One
2016 1st
Home colours
Away colours

Skye Camanachd is a shinty team from the Isle of Skye, Highland, Scotland. It plays in the Premier Division and has a reserve team in North Division One, as well as a Ladies team in the WCA National Division One and a Ladies reserve team in the WCA Development League. The club is based at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.

Early history[edit]

Skye had a strong tradition of playing shinty on the Old Celtic New Year, and there were a Portree Club and a Bernisdale Club in existence in the 1880s. However, Skye Camanachd in its present form came into being in 1892, winning the first ever MacTavish Cup. The club was a founding member of the Camanachd Association and entered the Camanachd Cup despite mainland clubs trying to force them to play on the mainland. The club had to wait almost 100 years to win the Camanachd Cup. The club endured a turbulent 1960s, and after a few years without entering competition was reformed in 1969.[1]

Re-establishment[edit]

On 2 September 1969 the club was reconstituted with Colonel Jock MacDonald as president and Duncan MacIntyre, a shinty enthusiast and local police inspector at the time, as chairman, and immediately set about fund-raising for the forthcoming season.[2]

Instrumental in the re-establishment of the club was Donald R. MacDonald, known as "DR", who was a Scottish Gaelic teacher at Portree High School. The coaching of shinty which he started in the High School sowed the seeds of Skye's greatest success, the Camanachd Cup win of 1990.[3] DR managed the first team in the early 2000s and his sons, Somhairle, Aonghas and Gilleasbuig, all went on to play for the club. Aonghas also managed the club between 2009 and 2010. DR died in March 2010 on the first day of that year's shinty season, and Skye's matches were cancelled that day.[4]

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Skye Camanachd won several Sutherland Cup finals and this was to build up to their greatest triumph, the Camanachd Cup in 1990.

Camanachd Cup 1990[edit]

Skye won the Camanachd Cup for the first time in 1990 against Newtonmore in Fort William. Inspirational in this victory was player Willie Cowie and his brother, manager Ross Cowie. The BBC program "Home", directed by Douglas Mackinnon, filmed behind the scenes on the day as well as the triumphant homecoming to Portree where they were met by a crowd of 5000 people, almost half the island's population. The expensive trophy was lost and then found in the street at 6 a.m. the next day: the local legend was that everybody thought that someone else was looking after it.[5] In addition to winning the Cup, the Albert Smith Medal, an award presented to the Man of the Match in the final of the Camanachd Cup every year since 1972, was presented to Willie Macrae from Skye Camanachd in 1990. Skye remains the only team from an island to have won the Cup.[6] The club toured Nova Scotia in 1991 in the afterglow of the success alongside Kingussie.

Recent times[edit]

Portree Camanachd Ground and Clubhouse - geograph.org.uk - 266456

Skye have never again won the Camanachd Cup, but they achieved Premier Division status in the early 2000s under the management of Angus Murchison before being relegated. The club has shown a flair for another sort of promotion however, securing lucrative sponsorship deals with Danish firms Carlsberg and Hummel. The club also benefited in early 2008 from an anonymous loan of £50,000 from a local individual, with repayments based on future success.[7] Much of this went to pay off some of the loan which had been invested in the development of the Pairc nan Laoch stadium after the move from the council-owned King George V Park.

In July 2008, the first team won the Balliemore Cup for the first time, defeating Kilmallie 3–1 at Braeview Park, Beauly. Gilleasbuig Macdonald was the captain.[8] The club reappointed Angus Murchison to succeed Alasdair Morrison as manager in 2009. Aonghas MacDonald became manager halfway through the season and steered Skye to 3rd place, impressing enough to be given the full-time position in 2010. Ross Cowie, now Chairman of the club, demanded an improvement from the club's reserve side in 2010, after two poor seasons which had seen the reserve team, although historically successful, finish in the bottom half of the North Division Two and suffer humiliating defeats to lower league opposition.[9]

In June 2009, Skye won the Plate competition of the Marine Harvest Clash of the Camans at An Aird, defeating Lochside Rovers and Fort William 2nds.[10] The club also undertook the first ever tour of the United States by a Scottish shinty club, visiting California in September 2009.

The club had an underwhelming 2010 season. Aonghas MacDonald stepped down at the end of the season,[11] but was reappointed to the role for the 2011 season before stepping down again at the end of the year. Davie MacVicar also stepped down as reserve manager at the end of the season, to be replaced by Murdo Morrison. Willie MacRae was appointed as the eleventh manager of Skye Camanachd in early 2012.[12] He had a successful season at the wheel, with the club's young squad reaching second in the league. MacRae was at the helm for a disappointing season in 2013 which saw Skye miss out on the new National Division One. John 'Spod' MacLeod was appointed to the manager's role in 2014.

In July 2014, the club won the Balliemore Cup again with a hard-earned victory over Ballachulish at Taynuilt. Having twice led with goals from Johnathan “Shockie” MacLennan and Danny Morrison, the latter in extra-time, it took a Jordan Murchison goal three minutes from the end of extra time to secure the cup 3–2 for Skye. As in the 2008 triumph, Skye were captained by Gilleasbuig MacDonald.[13] The club also won the Marine Harvest North Division 1 title in 2014 undefeated.

Skye Camanachd win North Division One in 2014

In 2015 Skye again went undefeated and this was more than enough to see them return to the Premier Division after winning National Division One.

The club provides the bulk of the Alba, the Scottish Gaelic representative team.

Skye Camanachd Ladies[edit]

The club started a ladies' shinty team in 2011. Previously, players such as Sarah Corrigall would play for Glengarry, but now the opportunity for players in Skye and Lochalsh would be available. The club entered North Division Two in 2011 with Lorna MacRae winning the division's player of the year award. The team finished 3rd in 2012. They were also successful in securing the right to play home games on a Saturday. (Sunday play deemed to not be possible due to local religious sensibilities).

The team won the North Division Two in 2013 with Skye's Helen Lamond winning the league's Player of the Year award jointly with Hazel Hunter of Strathglass. The Ladies then proceeded to be runners up in both the WCA National Division One and Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup in 2014. Sarah Corrigall was named player of the match in the cup final despite Skye going down 3-2 to Glasgow Mid Argyll. Player/manager Corrigall started the match in goals and finished in midfield. Caitlin MacLean and Lorna MacRae were the goal scorers for the Skye team captained by Rosalind Lamond.

In 2015, they finished third in the league and reached the semi-final of the Camanachd Cup. Whilst a very young club, Skye has already provided a significant number of internationalists.

Skye Camanachd Ladies enjoyed a successful 2016 season under manager Robbie Gordon and clinched their first Marine Harvest National Division One title with a 0-9 victory over Aberdour at Silversands in Fife. The new champions of Scotland have also qualified for the final of the Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup in Fort William but were beaten 4-2 by Lochaber Ladies. Skye Camanachd Ladies also currently sit third in the new Women's Camanachd Association Development League with what it essentially their reserve team.

Skye Camanachd Youth[edit]

The Skye Camanachd U17 team of 2011 won the Co-operative MacTavish Juvenile Cup after an emphatic 4-0 victory over Lochaber in a very wet Inverness.[14] Jordan Murchison opened the scoring. In 2015 the Skye Camanachd U17 team lost the RBS MacTavish Juvenile Cup Final 2-0 to Beauly.

Skye Camanachd U17 won the 2016 RBS MacTavish Juvenile Cup at the Bught Park, Inverness on Saturday 11 June 2016 beating Fort William 2-1.[15] Coached by Davie Pringle the goals came from captain James Pringle and Ross Gordon. Skye full centre John Gillies was awarded the Sandy MacKay Medal as man of the match, becoming the third Skye player to win the honour. The other previous Skye winners of the Sandy MacKay Medal were Ryan Morrison (2015) and Jordan Murchison (2011).

Honours[edit]

Camanachd Cup Winners: 1990

Balliemore Cup Winners: 2008, 2014, Runners-Up: 1999, 2003

MacTavish Cup Winners: 1898

MacTavish Junior Cup Winners: 1976, 1977, 1982, 1983

MacTavish Plate Runners-Up: 2014

National Mod Cup Winners: 1982, 1989, 1998, 2016, Runners-Up: 1979

North League Division One (Trophy – MacGillivray Senior Cup) Winners 2014, Runners-Up: 2009, 2012

North League Division Two (Trophy – MacGillivary Junior Cup) Winners: 1981–82

North League Division Three (Trophy – John MacRae Cup) Winners: 1976–77

Sir William Sutherland Cup Winners: 1979, 1981, 1985, 1988, Runners-Up: 1958, 1971

Strathdearn Cup Winners: 1986, 2000, Runners Up: 2014

W. J. Cameron Trophy Winners: 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983

Valerie Fraser Trophy Runners Up: 2014, 2016

WCA National Division One Winners: 2016, Runners-Up: 2014

WCA North Division Two Winners: 2013

MacTavish Juvenile Cup (U17) Winner: 2011, 2016, Runners-Up: 2015

London Shield (U17) Winners: 2009, Runners-Up: 2010, 2016 [16]

Strathdearn Juvenile Six-A-Side Cup Winners: 1976

Pride of the Summer[edit]

Skye Camanachd are referenced in the song "Pride of the Summer" by Runrig, with a mention of the distinctive White strips that the club wears. The track is the fourth one on the band's The Cutter and the Clan album.

I still see the blood on the knees
The camans swing without warning
The lads in white
At the speed of light
It's good to be young and daring

Skye also get a mention in Fergie MacDonald's amusing ditty "The Shinty Referee".

References[edit]

External links[edit]