Tayforth Camanachd

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Tayforth camanachd.png
Full name Tayforth Camanachd
Nickname The Sweeney
Founded 1973
Ground Levenhall Links
Manager Derry Barton
League South Division 2
2011 2nd
Home colours
Away colours

Tayforth Camanachd is a shinty team originally from Perth, Scotland, but now playing at Levenhall Links, Musselburgh. Whilst historically being based in Perth, the team has always drawn players from all over the Tayside and Lothian area. The club currently plays in South Division 2.


Formed in Perth in 1973 by Barry Nesbitt, Tim Neville, John-Joe Moran and Father Eugene O'Sullivan (aka the shinty priest) the club drew upon the number of Highlanders living in the Central Belt as well as the Irish community in Perth.

Over the years the team has had a second team, run successfully by Roy Whitehead (Rector,Perth High School) who would invariably kid, cajole and extol the virtues of shinty compared with less manly sports to his pupils. However, with Roys retirement the second team consisted mainly of veterans, newcomers and veteran newcomers.

A great figure in the history of the club was the late Willie Dowds, whose son Cahal would play and more often than not end up in A&E for Tayforth. Willie was also responsible for helping form teams in Dundee and Glenrothes. A visionary, he once nearly caused a riot at the Camanachd Associations AGM by suggesting not only summer shinty but Sunday shinty. Without doubt a character and a great man.

Fr. Eugene famously appeared on the front page of the Daily Star in 1982, having been sent-off for punching his opponent. It was only a Kyles athletic player and the Kyles player was lucky that John-Joe Moran was restrained by Sam "the vet" Mansley from doing further damage.

Without doubt, that team of the late 1970s and early 1980s was littered with characters, none more so than Hugh O'Kane who along with Fr. Eugene would lead the team over to Kilkenny, Ireland to participate in "The Faire Cities Cup". Stories of missed ferries, flights and lost players would make that era legendary. One player from that era, Bill Adams was last seen entering the Guinness distillery @ St James Gate, Dublin in 1989 and never seen again!! The legend that is Hugh O'Kane was responsible for landing a sea-king helicopter on the South Inch, Perth, 10 minutes from the end of a Frews Cup match. Last known sightings of Hugh were in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he is stationed with UN.

However, following the retirement of stalwarts Hugh Macmaster, Terry "Butcher" Wade, truly one of Tayforths dirtiest & meanest players and John-Joe Moran a period of decline began. Only for a new breed of players to emerge, none more so than Donald Kinnear whose dominant displays in midfield would herald the start of a new era. The club reached the Camanachd Cup semi-final in 1988 and won the national Aviemore sixes in 1990.

The club ran the annual shinty competition at the Blairgowrie Highland Games. The club has links with Linlithgow Shinty Club at Junior level.

The club narrowly missed out on promotion to South Division One in 2011 after a winner-takes-all game with Strachur. Due to the poor state of the pitch at the North Inch during season 2011, many games were played at Edinburgh East Lothian's old park, Levenhall Links. Tayforth made a move to Levenhall on a more continuous basis for season 2012.[1]

Tayforth have continued into their 40th year and will be marking this with a series of events towards the end of 2013 culminating in a dinner at The Caves, in Edinburgh’s Cowgate, with guest speaker Hugh Dan MacLennan and music from The Occasionals. Prior to the dinner the deep heat will be in plentiful supply as Tayforth players past and present turn out for a match in celebration of the Club’s 40th Anniversary. Unfortunately Terry Wade is unable to play due him still serving a suspension. The match, which takes place at Levenhall Links, Musselburgh – throw up 1pm – will feature Badenoch stars Stuart Ferrier and Rory Fraser (really), as well as Father and Son combo Derry and Calum Barton. Staying true to the Irish roots of Tayforth, Brendan Duggan, the latest in a long line of Hurlers turned Shinty players, will also take to the field.

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