Scotland U17 completed another successful Ireland tour, sponsored by Sitekit, recording wins against both Kildare U17 and Dublin U17 on their annual visit to the Emerald Isle.
The seventeen-player squad, accompanied by Camanachd Association Youth Director Willie MacDonald, Ronald Ross and Alasdair Bruce, set off on a four-day tour on Sunday 28th July 2019.
After travelling from both Glasgow and Inverness Airports, the squad were again based at the impressive Dublin City University where they were well looked after and able to take advantage of the excellent training facilities.
One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Croke Park to watch both the minor All-Ireland Hurling semi-final between Wexford and Clare and the senior All-Ireland Hurling semi-final between Wexford and Tipperary which was a fantastic experience.
After a Monday morning training session, in which the squad were put through their paces on the shinty / hurling composite rules and the skills, there was a light session at the magnificent facilities at the GAA National Games Development Centre at Abbotstown before the hour-long journey to play Kildare U17 at St Conleth’s Park, a 6,200 capacity ground which is the home of County Kildare GAA.
The Scots were ensured a noisy support with many family members making the trip to cheer on the team.
This match was closer than the scoreline suggests but Scotland U17 eventually powered to a (5-3-5) 26-7 (0-0-7) win over Kildare U17.
Lachie Shaw grabbed a hat-trick whilst Liam Borthwick and Conor Kennedy also found the net. Lachie Shaw took his tally to eleven points with a two-pointer whilst Ross Gordon and Calum Grover also converted two-points. Conor Kennedy totalled four points with an effort over the bar. Lewis Clark, Kieran MacPherson and two singles from Duncan Matheson completed the Scotland scoring.
Kildare showed great hospitality afterwards, providing an excellent meal for both sets of players and the coaching staff.
Next up was the annual meeting with Dublin U17 at Parnell Park the following day and Scotland U17 made it two wins out of two, winning (10-3-3) 39-6 (0-0-6).
The Scots were again cheered on from the stands by an impressive support and the large Dublin panel put up a strong fight throughout.
Ross Gordon grabbed a hat-trick whilst Duncan Matheson and Lachie Shaw both scored twice. Martin Pringle and Kieran MacPherson and Liam Borthwick scored the other Scotland goals.
Lachie Shaw converted three two pointers taking his tally over the two matches to 23 points.
There were single point efforts from Martin Pringle, Ross Gordon, Cam Clark and Liam Borthwick.
The Dubs took much from the composite rules game with James O’Brien and Davie Keogh amongst their scorers.
As usual, the goalscorers grabbed the headlines but there were other fine performances throughout the squad with Daniel Sloss, William MacKinnon and Jamie Gillies worthy of special mention.
It was a good end to the tour for the Scots who showed improvement from the previous night’s game and they were tested by physical but fair Dublin opponents who demonstrated plenty skill.
Afterwards, the Scotland squad headed back to the Goblet for another superb after-match meal, again provided by the Dublin County Board.
Family members and other shinty followers were once again kept up-to-date throughout the trip by Facebook and website posts and photographs throughout the trip in the form of “The Dublin Diaries”. There were many interactions and family members made complimentary comments as to the value of such updates.
As ever, Ronald Ross was keen that his troops were left inspired by the Irish experience and, to a man, the young Scots rose to the occasion. Communication and concentration were key words in the pre-match talk and the players showed that they could follow instruction as they played the ball on the ground and they used the width of the pitch to great effect. They all return to their clubs the better for the experience and the new friendships forged will last long into the future.
The travelling Scots, as always, are indebted to main sponsors Sitekit, Gilmour Sports, Seamus Curtis, Kildare GAA and the Dublin County Board for their assistance and support before and throughout the tour.
Scotland U17 from: Calum Grover (Newtonmore), Jamie Gillies (Skye Camanachd), Daniel Sloss (Oban Camanachd), Cameron MacIntosh (Glenurquhart), Ryan Boyle (Fort William), Ryan Craig (Bute), William MacKinnon (Skye Camanachd), Kieran MacPherson (Kingussie), Cam Clark (Kilmallie), Lachie Shaw (Fort William), Conor Kennedy (Kyles Athletic), Duncan Matheson (Kinlochshiel), Liam Borthwick (Kingussie), Ross Gordon (Skye Camanachd), Martin Pringle (Skye Camanachd), Alistair MacRae (Fort William), Lewis Clark (Fort William).