From Kara Hanlon’s starring role for the Western Isles team at the Islands Games to Skye Camanachd Ladies’ Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup success in shinty, we look back at some of the most memorable sporting moments of the last 12 months.
Back in September, in what was their first cup final appearance for more than 30 years, Glenelg defeated Gairloch/Aultbea United 2-1 to lift the Clan Donald Cup.
In early August Back captured the Eilean Fhraoich Cup for the first time in 16 years after a 2-0 win against Broadbay rivals Point. Point lifted the Co-op Cup while the Jock Stein Cup was won by Aths.
In August the Lewis and Harris Women’s Football Club ended a wonderful season on a high as they recorded a 7-0 victory over Clachnacuddin to win the Highlands and Islands Women’s League Cup Final at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. The islanders won all 10 league and cup matches they had played, but unfortunately the final brought to a close their involvement in the Highlands and Islands women’s league set-up for the time being.
Lochalsh’s under-15 football team secured a local league and cup double and bade farewell to long-serving coach Nick Flanagan.
At the Isle of Skye Open, Scott Ewing from Elderslie Golf Club shot 69 to edge out home player Iain Douglas by virtue of the better inward half. Iain had the consolation of winning the category one handicap section.
A total of 34 Hebridean athletes flew the flag for the Western Isles at the NatWest International Island Games. Hebrideans were represented in five sports — athletics, swimming, shooting, cycling and badminton. Aside from multi-medal-winning Kara Hanlon, swimmer Isla Budge won bronze in the 400 metres freestyle event, while in the triple jump final Mary Macleod won silver and Heather MacKinnon (pictured) took bronze.
Western Isles swimmer Kara Hanlon enjoyed a golden week at the NatWest International Island Games in Gibraltar in July. Hanlon won four gold and a silver at the week-long showpiece. She has now won 12 Island Games medals – eight of them gold.
In September Lochcarron secured the Mowi North Division Two title, and promotion, with victory over closest rivals Strathspey after a thrilling match at the Battery Park ended 7-5 in favour of the Wester Ross team.
For the second season in a row. Mallaig lifted the Skye and Lochalsh League championship, clinching the title with a 5-2 win in the last-day decider against Sleat and Strath.
For the first time in its 123-year history, shinty’s showpiece occasion, the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final, was abandoned after dreadful weather enveloped Fort William. Seven days later, when the rescheduled final was played in glorious sunshine, Newtonmore got the better of Oban Camanachd 4-1 to lift the famous trophy for the 34th time.
It was a brilliant 2019 for teenage football goalkeeper Rachael Johnstone from Balallan in Lewis. The Sir E Scott pupil was signed by Celtic and called up for the Scotland under-16 squad.
Iochdar Saints were crowned Uist and Barra League champions after a 2-1 win over Barra in the deciding match. Victory in the play-off clinched a double for Saints, who had picked up the Billy McNeill Cup the previous week.
Kinlochshiel swept aside Oban Camanachd to lift shinty’s most sought-after prize for under-14 players – the Ken MacMaster Cup. Archie MacRae, who in 2019 was also named as the national under-14 player of the year, scored five times during the 7-1 victory.
Skye Camanachd’s primary school team became the first winners of the new Camanachd Association Challenge Trophy with victory over Newtonmore.
The Skye Ladies triumphed after an epic battle with Badenoch in September’s Valerie Fraser Cup Final in Kingussie. Abby MacLean and player of the match Lorna MacRae each scored four times in an 8-6 victory. Revenge came for the Speysiders later in the season when they hammered the islanders in a play-off to win the league title.
In November the curtain on the shinty season came down when Skye’s under-17 side retained the London Shield by beating Newtonmore 4-0 in Portree. Skye skipper Murphy Henderson is pictured receiving the trophy from John Angus Gillies of sponsors Mowi.
Shinty referee Steven MacLachlan endured a painful afternoon when taking charge of a match between Skye and Aberdeen University in July. The match was held up for more than 15 minutes after the unfortunate whistler was caught — entirely accidentally — by a flailing caman after the throw-up.
Skye took their promotion bid to the last day of the season, but their hopes were dashed when they lost 3-1 against a Glasgow Mid Argyll side who deservedly booked their slot in next season’s Premiership.
Sleat and Strath missed out on the Skye and Lochalsh football league title, but DL Mackinnon’s side did get their hands on three cups – winning the Ross, GF MacRae and Ewen MacRae trophies – during a successful season in which they also reached the last eight of the Highland Amateur Cup.
In June Southend won the Uist and Barra Summer Cup, beating Barra 2-0.
The Lewis and Harris League championship wasn’t settled until October when Westside eventually ran out 2-1 winners over Point to lift the title for a second time. Westside enjoyed a treble success in 2019 — they also won the winning the Acres Boys’ Club Cup and the Moldova Lewis Cup.