Fort William Shinty Club

Fort William Shinty Club

Infobox shinty club
clubname = Fort William


fullname = Fort William Shinty Club
gaelicname = Comann Camanachd A' Ghearasdain
nickname = The Fort
founded = 1893
ground = An Aird, Inverlochy, Fort William
manager = Drew McNeil
league = Premier League
season = 2007
position = 2nd
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Fort William Shinty Club is a shinty club from Fort William, Lochaber, Scotland. The first team are the present champions of the Camanachd Cup having beaten Inveraray in Inverness. The club also has a second team and a vibrant youth system. The manager for 2008 is club stalwart Drew McNeil.

History

Fort William was officially constituted in 1893 but the club slowly emerged into the sport and only entered the Camanachd Cup in 1912. The club folded on occasion in the 1900s and 1920s and had very little success except a Camanachd Cup semi final in 1937 against Oban Celtic and a sprinkling of junior cups.

Unfortunately for the club, the rise of Fort William as a force in shinty coincided with the 20 year dominance of Kingussie. However, the club heralded its arrival as a major force by winning the Macaulay Cup in 1991 and reaching the semi final of the Camanachd the same year then finally joining the ranks of clubs who have won the blue riband event in 1992, beating Kingussie 1-0 in Glasgow.

Fort continued to perform well and reached the final in 1994 where they lost to Kyles Athletic. The new millennium saw Fort William habitually come in second behind the unstoppable Kingussie team and began to be seen as the team most likely to break the Badenoch dominance.

The Fort reappeared in the Camanachd Cup Final in 2003 but was defeated by Kingussie 6-0 on home soil. The next in 2004 then saw the Fort go down to an unfancied Inveraray side 1-0 in Oban. When the side again reached the final in 2005 against local rivals, Kilmallie, it was seen by the wider community as case of now or never. The game, held between the two Fort William teams in the town itself, is widely regarded as the most exciting final of recent times, Fort winning with a last gasp goal to win 3-2.

Further glory was to follow the next year in 2006, when Fort William finally broke Kingussie's dominance of the league title (a World record in any sport) after a consistent level of performance throughout the year meant that Newtonmore were pipped to the title. Kingussie did regain a modicum of revenge by defeating the Fort comprehensively in both the MacTavish Cup (The North Senior Trophy) and the final of the Camanachd Cup in Dunoon.

Fort again won the Camanachd Cup in 2007 by defeating Inveraray 3-1 in Inverness. The club got off to a shaky start in the 2008 season but won the Camanachd Cup yet again 2008, teh first time that they had retained the trophy. The club created history by playing the first ever top-flight fixture on a Sunday against Lochaber Camanachd on the 22nd of June 2008. [http://www.lochaber-news.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2655/Sunday_shinty_comes_to_town.html] The club's reserve team also won the Strathdearn Cup in 2008 for the first time.

Fort William and local rivals, Kilmallie, have succeeded in making shinty the main sport of the town and their success is in comparison to the distinct lack of success enjoyed by local Highland League team, Fort William F.C.. [http://www.lochaber-news.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/1889/Football_club's_shinty_hurdle.html]

Despite the club's profile in the town, efforts are afoot to evict the club from its ground, An Aird, in order to build a supermarket. The local authority, Highland Council, have come under fire for their care of the park, especially after the playing surface was stripped bare by rabbits. The company behind the planned development were unequivocal in stating in April 2007 that there would be no development upon the An Aird pitch. [http://www.lochaber-news.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/1022/Surprise_bid_to_block_Waterfront_deal.html] . In March 2008, Highland Council again came under fire for their negligence of the An Aird surface, which may result in the loss of An Aird's prestigious status as a Camanachd Cup Final host stadium. [http://www.lochaber-news.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2276/Final_whistle_shock_at_An_Aird_.html]

The club provides the large bulk of the international side. Wing centre Gary Innes is a renowned accordionist. [http://www.garyinnes.com/]

External links

* [http://www.shinty.com/fortwilliam/Default.htm Fort @ Shinty.com]
* [http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/fortwilliamjuniors Fort William Official Site]
* [http://www.garyinnes.com/ Gary Innes Website]


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