Beauly boys can make it to the top of shinty
BEAULY Shinty Club coach Niall Maclennan believes the success of their champion under-14 squad could one day make them a force in the top flight of shinty.
Beauly celebrated becoming Under-14 North Division champions with a 4–1 win against Kinlochshiel at Bught Park in Inverness on Sunday.
After winning their regional group, Beauly defeated Kinlochshiel along with Kingussie and Fort William during the final group stage to take the title.
Maclennan says it was a huge achievement to come out on top against clubs from the traditional heartland areas where the game is stronger.
“It was a successful season for us which went from strength to strength.
“We have put a place a fantastic youth structure from primary school age to the under-14 and under-17 teams. We are now competing at the top level against stronger shinty areas.
“We are up there and will be up there for the forseeable future.
“We want to be competing against the best and winning more things.”
Beauly’s senior team struggled in the National Division, which is shinty’s second tier. The club, who play at Braeview Park finished in sixth place in the eight-team division this season.
However Maclennan is confident their youngsters are giving Beauly a brighter future.
He said if they can hold on to them, he believes they can get the club promoted to the Premiership.
He added: “Looking at various youth teams Beauly have had in the past, for whatever reason, a lot of guys have dropped away. We aim to hold on to as many of these guys as we can.
“A lot of the boys in the under-14 squad who have won the league will be turning out for the under-17’s next year.
“At under-17 level we now have 26 players in our pool.
“We will be looking for that same success to be replicated at that age group. “Then to replicate that success into the second team and first team. We want to hold on to those players for National Division.
“Then hopefully they will play for us in the Premiership.”
In the play-off final, Beauly took an early lead through Scott Cameron, with Bailey Dacker equalising for Kinlochsiel.
After the break, Beauly upped the pace and goals from Finlay Maclennan, Marcus MacRae and a second from Cameron brought the league title back to Braeview Park.