Red and blacks pay the penalty as Kingussie win London Shield

Marine Harvest London Shield U17 Final, Kingussie v Oban Camanachd, played at The Dell, Kingussie.

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Caberfeidh were promoted to the Marine Harvest Premiership, Bute go third in Marine Harvest South Division 1 and Kingussie U17 lifted the London Shield following the shinty action on Saturday November 4,  2017.

London Shield final

Kingussie U17 4Oban Camanachd U17 4 (Kingussie won 1-0 on penalties after extra time) 

Kingussie U17 won the London Shield after eventually edging out Oban Camanachd U17 on penalties following their 4-4 draw in what was a thrilling encounter at The Dell.

The final was originally scheduled for Craigard, Invergarry, but it was ruled unplayable so, on the toss of a coin, the venue was switched to Kingussie’s The Dell rather than Oban Camanachd’s Mossfield.

Both teams were able to field players with Marine Harvest Premiership experience, with Ruaridh Anderson, Roddy Young and Alexander Michie in Kingussie colours, while Daniel MacCuish, Daniel Sloss, Lewis Buchanan and Craig Easton have all played for Oban Camanachd this season.

The Oban side were dealt a blow in the lead up to the final, with Craig MacMillan and Robbie Brown both unavailable. Ross Campbell and Blair MacFarlane were given starting roles in their place.  This was Oban Camanachd’s third successive London Shield final and they went into the game as holders having beaten Skye at The Eilan in 2016.

It was a final of fine margins and Oban Camanachd got off to a great start, opening up a two-goal advantage before the 10-minute mark.  Ross Campbell put them in front on five minutes with the 14-year-old forcing the ball low into the net from an acute angle.  Things got even better for the Oban side just four minutes later. Lennon Campbell’s shot was saved by Kingussie keeper George Taylor-Ramsay but Lewis Buchanan knocked the rebound home to make it 2-0.

The next goal was always going to be crucial. A third Oban Camanachd goal could have killed Kingussie off but instead it was Roddy Young who got his side back into the game. As the Kings went forward, Young and his marker collided, both falling to the ground. Young was quickly back on his feet and he beat another player before slotting the ball past keeper Cameron Sutherland and into the far post side-netting to make it 2-1.

Ruaridh Anderson drew Kingussie level on 46 minutes with the goal coming after a corner. Anderson touched the ball down through the Oban defence and into the D, and he ran on to flick the ball past the keeper into the corner of the net.

Kingussie took the lead for the first time on 67 minutes, with Young collecting a free-hit, chipped over the Oban defence towards him, and he turned back into three defenders, taking the ball through them before shooting into the bottom corner of the net to bag his second goal of the game.

However Oban Camanachd fought back and Lennon Campbell equalised on 76 minutes. This time Lewis Buchanan saw his shot saved, but Campbell got in ahead of a defender to make it 3-3.Both keepers – 12-year-old George Taylor-Ramsay for Kingussie and Scotland U17 goalie Cameron Sutherland for Oban Camanachd – made great saves during the match and were helpless for the goals.

At the end of an exciting 80 minutes, referee Deek Cameron took the final into extra-time. Kingussie made an explosive start to the extra-time period and Ruaridh Anderson put them back in front.

Joe Donald’s initial shot was saved by Cameron Sutherland but Anderson ran in and flicked the ball around the keeper and into the net for his second goal of the afternoon to make it 4-3.

With the clock counting down, Oban Camanachd pushed players forward and, with five minutes remaining, they were awarded a penalty after referee Cameron spotted a ‘kick’ inside the D.

Kingussie swapped keepers for the spot-hit with Alexander Michie replacing George Taylor-Ramsay between the sticks but it made no difference as Lewis Buchanan got his second, with his well-struck penalty going low and hard into the net to make it 4-4.

George Taylor-Ramsay returned to goal, although he was replaced again just before the end of extra-time by half back Dylan Borthwick. The switch paid dividends as Borthwick saved all five Oban Camanachd penalties. The penalty that made the difference was the Kings’ fifth spot hit when Kieran MacPherson thumped the ball home to give Kingussie a 1-0 shoot-out win.

The pick of the players probably came in the middle of the park where the captains – Kingussie’s Ruaridh Anderson and Oban Camanachd’s Daniel MacCuish – were superb. Kingussie captain Ruaridh Anderson lifted the London Shield, rounding off what has been a successful youth season for the club.

After the game, Oban Camanachd youth coach David MacCuish said: ‘It was a cracking final and although we’re disappointed to lose, you have to recognise the talent on show, so credit to both clubs for that. Our big players like Craig Easton, Daniel Sloss and Daniel MacCuish did very well, but Kingussie are a strong team, with Ruaridh Anderson and Roddy Young particularly good.

‘What also impressed me was how well the players on both sides, who haven’t yet played much second team shinty, did in the final. They were all terrific.

‘The final was end to end and could have gone either way just as the scoring suggests. If we could have got a third goal at 2-0 up then it could well have been a different outcome but that’s just the way it goes. It’s a shame to lose out in a penalty shoot-out but the way the players have performed augers well for the future.’

David MacCuish continued: ‘One thing I would add is that I feel we should be playing the London Shield final a bit earlier in the season when more of the neutral venues for the final would be available. It’s been seven weeks since we played our semi-final, so an earlier final is something which should certainly be looked at.’

The next step for several of the Oban Camanachd youngsters will be to move into the Lochside Rovers side where a number of them already feature.

‘Gareth Evans is doing a fantastic job with Lochside,’ said MacCuish. ‘He has already introduced a lot of the younger players into the side and what he has achieved this season, considering he often loses players to the seniors, is quite remarkable.

‘We’ve seen Daniel MacCuish, Lewis Buchanan, Craig Easton and Daniel Sloss take another step up to play for Oban Camanachd in the Premiership this year, so the pathway is there.’ The final marks a last match in charge for Oban Camanachd youth coaches David MacCuish, Scott Buchanan and George Easton. They have coached the U17s for the last three seasons following spells with the U14s and Rockfield Primary School, winning many trophies along the way.

MacCuish added: ‘We’ve had a lot of good times and it’s been really enjoyable seeing promising youngsters develop into first team players. I certainly won’t be walking away altogether as I’ll always be on hand to help out, but it’s time to pass the baton on to someone else.’The club will meet soon to discuss their youth coaching arrangements for next season – David MacCuish, Scott Buchanan and George Easton will be hard acts to follow.

Marine Harvest Premiership

Kilmallie P Oban Camanachd P

The 11.30am throw-up between Kilmallie and Oban Camanachd at The Canal Parks was postponed on Friday evening as the pitch was unplayable.

With league positions unaffected, the sides agreed with the Camanachd Association that the points be shared so the match will not be scheduled.

Kilmallie manager Mark MacPherson would have been without suspended trio Michael Rodger, Martin Stewart and Craig MacIsaac for this game, but there is at least some good news as the points sharing arrangement means the game will count against each player’s suspension. Rodger and MacIsaac will still miss the first two games of next season, but Stewart will just miss the 2018 opening day match.

Kilmallie return to the Marine Harvest National Division next season after 12 months in shinty’s top flight. The Oban Camanachd squad end the season in a comfortable sixth position in the league. This match completes the 2017 Marine Harvest Premiership programme.

Marine Harvest National Division 

Fort William 2 Inveraray 0 

Fort William will play Marine Harvest National Division shinty again next season following their 2-0 win over Inveraray at An Aird. It would have taken a winning margin of 13 goals for the Fort to pip Caberfeidh to the division’s second promotion spot, but this always looked an unrealistic target.

The wet weather in the lead up to the game led to a Saturday morning inspection when the pitch was ruled playable.  Fort William were without Bryan Simpson and Sean Cameron.Inveraray’s Allan MacDonald was suspended for this one as he started a five-match ban, which will stretch well into next season, although he did travel with the squad.

Ally Munro, Ally MacDonald, Grant Griffin, Garry MacPherson and youngster Ruaraidh Graham were also missing for the visitors but Nicholas Crawford, starting at full centre, was back in the side after injury. Douglas Dando also started.

There was a minute’s silence ahead of throw up following the sad passing of former Lochaber U14 player Kyle Bruce. Fort William knew they had to go for goals and the game was only 15 seconds old when Inveraray keeper Scott MacLachlan saved first with his stick and then with his feet.   Fort William took the lead after eight minutes when Alexander MacMillan’s shot took a slight deflection off John Kennedy’s stick and ended up in the back of the net.

Another good Fort William move saw an effort hit the side-netting on 11 minutes.

Allan Cameron hit Inveraray’s only effort at goal during the early exchanges. Arran MacPhee and Calum Shepherd were dominant in the Fort William midfield and Alexander MacMillan had the ball in the net on 23 minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside by referee Archie Ritchie.

Indeed it was one of three efforts Fort William had disallowed for offside. Had it not been for some great goalkeeping from Inveraray’s Scott MacLachlan, and for some over-elaborate forward play, it could well have been a more interesting second half with Fort William targeting a big win.As it was, the second half fell flat although Calum Shepherd, pushed forward after starting at wing centre, added a second, sending the ball low into the bottom corner of the net just 30 seconds after the restart.

The heavy pitch didn’t suit Fort William and there was no further scoring.Lachie Shaw really impressed for the Fort who were better than the 2-0 win suggests and their young side may well benefit from another season in shinty’s second tier in the long run. The match completes the 2017 Marine Harvest National Division league programme and Caberfeidh, along with champions Skye Camanachd, will be promoted to the Marine Harvest Premiership.

Inverness end the season bottom of the table. However it is unlikely that there will be promotion hopefuls from either North one or South one, so the Highland Capital side should have the option of continuing to play in shinty’s second tier.

Marine Harvest North Division 1Fort William PAberdeen University P The clash between the Fort William second team and Aberdeen University was called off on Friday afternoon as An Aird could not take two games and the Marine Harvest National Division meeting between Fort William and Inveraray took precedent.

The sides shared the points.Aberdeen University finish the season in second position, while the Fort William colts complete their league campaign in fifth spot. Marine Harvest South Division 1Bute 2 Aberdour 0 Bute go third in Marine Harvest South Division 1 following their 2-0 home victory over second placed Aberdour.

A late player call-off meant Aberdour had to play the whole match with just 11 players. Bute started with a cold wind in their favour and, after an even opening spell; they took the lead through a very good Robert Walker goal on 35 minutes although visiting keeper Kevin Latimer did get his hand to Walker’s shot.  The Aberdour players put in a great shift but and it took some stout defending to restrict Bute to a single goal interval lead with Aberdour restricted to just a few chances.

The second half continued in the same vein and Ian McDonald made it 2-0 on 59 minutes. It was a last appearance for Aberdour marksman Roddy McColl. The former Kyles player has only missed one game in the last two seasons and that was when his son Murdo was born. His contribution, especially his goals, will be difficult to replace next season.  This was Aberdour’s final match of the season and they are currently in a creditable second place in the division. Bute could overtake them on goal difference if they beat Kilmory at MacRae Park this Saturday. However Kilmory themselves, with three matches remaining, can still snatch a second place finish.

Kyles Athletic P Tayforth P 

With Tighnabruaich still unplayable, the clash between the Kyles Athletic seconds and Tayforth was switched to Yoker with a 3pm throw up.However the game was called off on Saturday morning following a bereavement.
Taynuilt PCol Glen PThe meeting between Taynuilt and Col Glen was called off when the Taynuilt sports field failed a pitch inspection.The teams agreed to share the points.

Marine Harvest North Division 2

Kilmallie P Inverness P 

The match between the Kilmallie seconds and the Inverness seconds was postponed when it became clear the Canal Parks could not take two games.

The match has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday.
Strathspey Camanachd 2Caberfeidh 1 Strathspey Camanachd beat the Caberfeidh second team 2-1 in their 1.30pm throw up at Grantown Grammar School.

The match was rescheduled from Sunday October 5.Arron MacBean gave Strathspey the lead on just five minutes, while Struan Ross made it 2-0 on 25 minutes. Ruaridh McCreadie pulled a goal back five minutes from time but Strathspey stayed in front to take the points.

WCA Round Up

The Women’s Camanachd Association season is reaching a conclusion.

Marine Harvest National Division 1

Skye Camanachd P Lochaber P 

The crucial league match between Skye Camanachd and Lochaber at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree has been rescheduled for Saturday (November 11).The match was originally scheduled for Saturday November 4, but Lochaber requested a postponement so their squad could attend the funeral of former Lochaber U14 player Kyle Bruce in Fort William that same day.

Fort William P Lochaber P

The 3pm throw up between Fort William and Lochaber on Sunday November 5 was postponed as An Aird was unplayable.

Marine Harvest North Division 2

Lochaber 1 Glenurquhart 2

The Lochaber second team knew that a win over Glenurquhart in their noon throw up at Spean Bridge on Sunday November 5 would give them the Marine Harvest North Division Two title.

However it proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the home side as the Glen ran out 2-1 winners.

Caitlin MacDonald got the Lochaber goal but strikes from Jenny Service and Hazel Hunter gave Glenurquhart victory and they finish third.There will now be a play-off between Lochaber and Strathspey, with the date yet to be confirmed, to decide the title destination.

Marine Harvest South Division 2

Cowal & Bute 2 Glasgow Mid Argyll 0

A Fay Robertson double gave Cowal and Bute a 2-0 win over the Glasgow Mid Argyll second team.

Kingussie win Wade Cup Kingussie High School lifted the 2017 Wade Cup, beating Lochaber High School 9-4 at The Dell on Thursday November 2.

On a day bathed in sparkling sunshine, Lochaber went into the match as holders of this senior school trophy having beaten Kingussie 1-0 in the 2016 final courtesy of a Lewis Clark goal. Both teams were able to include players with Marine Harvest Premiership experience and it was Kingussie who made the best possible start to this year’s contest when Liam Borthwick’s back-hand strike gave them an opening minute lead.

Kingussie forwards Liam Borthwick, Roddy Young and Bradley Harvie combined to set up a chance for Ruaridh Anderson and he made no mistake, netting to make it 2-0 with 10 minutes on the clock. Lochaber were finding it difficult playing into the bright sun and Roddy Young made it 3-0 shortly after.

Victor Smith looked to be Lochaber’s best chance of a counter and he pulled a goal back to make it 3-1. Lochaber were finding it difficult to contain Roddy Young and he scored three more times in a devastating spell to make it 6-1 at half-time. Lachie Shaw was playing well in the Lochaber centre line although Kingussie duo Kieran MacPherson and Alexander Michie were dominating the middle of the park.  The second half was only four minutes old when Liam Borthwick got his second to give Kingussie what looked like an unassailable 7-1 advantage.

However Lochaber pulled a goal back when Victor Smith notched his second. Lachie Shaw continued the fight-back before Victor Smith completed his hat-trick to make it 7-4 with Lochaber now very much in the game. However Kingussie captain Alexander Michie blasted the ball home from the penalty spot on 54 minutes to put the Kings back in control before good wing play from Jordan Reid and substitute Joe Donald set up a chance for Roddy Young who needed no second invitation to knock home his fifth goal of the afternoon.

Match referee Roald Ross blew for time and Kingussie’s overall performance made them deserved 9-4 winners.

After the match, Kingussie captain Alexander Michie stepped up to receive the Wade Cup.

This Saturday’s shinty action

As the 2017 shinty season draws to a close, there are some fixtures scheduled for this coming weekend.

The Kinlochshiel and Beauly second teams are scheduled to meet at Kirkton in the final Marine Harvest North Division 1 fixture of the season.

There is also a Marine Harvest South Division 1 encounter between fourth placed Kilmory and third placed Bute at MacRae Park.

The Kilmallie and Inverness second teams try again this Saturday as their Marine Harvest North Division 2 encounter, which was postponed last Saturday, has been rescheduled.

The big match in the Women’s Camanachd Association National Division 1 is the league decider between Skye Camanachd and Lochaber at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.

This will be the third time the sides have met this season with Skye winning the league encounter at Spean Bridge 5-0 as well as coming out on top 6-1 when the sides met in the Marine Harvest Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup.

Reigning champions Skye currently lead Lochaber by two points so Lochaber need to win to force a title play-off.

Shinty referee Ross ready to hit the heights 

Shinty referee Ross Brown will later this month undertake a challenging endurance trek to Everest Base Camp to raise funds for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

The former Lochcarron player and manager was named Marine Harvest Camanachd Association Emerging Referee of the Year in 2016.

It was an eventful year as Ross and his partner Anna also became parents to Harris in June 2016.  However, after picking up a virus later that year, Harris was found to have issues regulating his blood sugar levels, and was admitted to hospital.  What followed was an eight- month stay in the Glasgow Children’s Hospital where endless tests were carried out, with no definitive diagnosis, and finally, to allow them to go home, an operation took place to allow Harris to be fed via a tube into his stomach.

Ross and Anna will take Harris to Manchester in January 2018 where he will undergo further tests.

Ross, a technician with the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: ‘During his time on Ward 3A of the hospital, Harris received the most fantastic care and attention from the dedicated nursing and play assistants. He was fortunate to have access to a play room, sensory room, cinema and to have one-to-one sessions for body painting and other activities, all of which is funded by the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.’

To help enable the charity to continue to offer these fantastic opportunities and experiences to sick children while in hospital, Ross decided to undertake the challenge of trekking to Everest Base Camp and an altitude of 5,664 meters when climbing to the top of the nearby Kala Patthar.

The trek takes place from next Thursday (November 16) and Sunday December 3.

Ross added: ‘I’m very much looking forward to the challenge but it will be hard being away from home for over two weeks. Friends, family and colleagues have been amazing in helping me reach over £4,000 in fundraising so far.’

All donations are gratefully received for this undoubtedly worthy cause. Please follow the link below if you would like to donate:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ross-brown14

As an added bonus, a £5 donation will secure entry into a raffle for Runrig’s farewell concert in Stirling. Anyone wishing to enter the raffle should leave their name and email address when making a donation to the just giving site.

Iomain Cholmcille

XIomain Cholmcille X took place in Fort William recently. The day’s matches were originally scheduled for An Aird but the rain on Friday, with more forecast, led to a switch of venue to the Lochaber High School astro pitch.The International Shinty / Hurling Festival for Gaelic speakers marked 10 years with its biggest event yet at Mòd Lochaber.

With the game taking place on the smaller astro pitch, the rules were changed to make a really intense spectacle with shinty goals and smaller sides meaning there were no points over the bar.

Fans were treated to a great but heated hurling playoff between Cumann Micheál Breathnach and Fir Uladh in the morning. Fir Uladh won through to the final 4-3 with goals from Naoise O Caireallain agus Frankie O Ceallaidh cancelling out the goals by Maidhc and Breandan O Conghaile.Then it was the youths turn, with Alba Òg taking on Gaelcholaiste Dhoire for the Cupa Bhòrd na Gàidhlig. This was an entertaining game 3-1 to the young Scottish Gaels who were managed by GMA and Uist’s Angus MacInnes.

Goals from Jamie MacLeod and Hamish Shaw were the difference. It is hope this fixture will lead to a touring Alba Òg side. Jamie Gillies of Skye Camanachd was captain, and Calum Gillies and William Sutherland also played important roles.

Alba Head Coach, Doneil MacLeod was delighted when his men got off to a good start with a comprehensive 5-1 warm up win against Micheal Breathnach. Local Fort William boys Jack Fraser, Mark Fraser and Lachie Shaw were joined on the score sheet by Skye’s Ally MacDonald.

The Alba women were beaten 4-0 but not disgraced against Cois Fharraige, who won the Corn Sgáthaich trophy for the second year running. Sorcha Ni Fhrighil had the pick of the four goals and also won the player of the day, Lochaber’s Claire Delaney was awarded Alba’s player of the day. Caitlin MacLean was also excellent, playing alongside Skye team-mates Kathryn Dibble, Sara Jane Ferguson and Izzy Law.

The men’s Corn Cholmcille match was a fantastic spectacle in which Fir Uladh defended stoutly, but also where Alba, in particular young superstar Shaw, was denied by the posts on several occasions. However, Alba’s player of the day and winner of “Sàr-chluicheadair an Latha” Jack Fraser broke the deadlock, then his brother Mark made it three and then Uist and Beauly’s Ewen Campbell added a fourth. Sean MacLeod finished the game on the park, one of only three Alba players to have played at the first Iomain Cholmcille in 2007 and the 10th anniversary tournament.

Alba’s captain Graham Black, from North Uist, currently playing for Aberdeen University, lifted the trophy, presented by Allan Campbell, President of An Comunn Gàidhealach. Allan was also joined in the very entertained crowd, by Shona MacLennan of Bòrd na Gàidhlig who presented Corn Sgàthaich agus Cupa Bhòrd na Gàidhlig. They both talked of how encouraged they were by the work that Iomain Cholmcille has done over the last decade to encourage Gaelic speaking in sport and to hear the young men and women using it all day as they played.

Eòghan Stiùbhart, co-ordinator of Iomain Cholmcille for the last ten years said: ‘We are very thankful to An Comunn for allowing us to hold Iomain Cholmcille as part of Mòd Loch Abar in our special 10th year and we’d also like to thank Colmcille for their support every year. It was an incredible day and we were very happy to show how team sports should be at the heart of developing Gaelic.’

Results from Iomain Cholmcille – Gaelic Shinty / Hurling InternationalsHurling Play-off – Fir Uladh 4, Micheál Breathnach 3. Cupa Bhòrd na Gàidhlig – Alba Òg 3 Gaelcholaiste Dhoire 1. Shinty / Hurling exhibition – Alba 5 Micheál Breathnach 1. Corn Sgáthaich – Shinty / Camogie – Cois Fharraige 4 Alba 0. Corn Cholmcille,  Alba 4 Fir Uladh 0.

Kilmallie annual dinner dance and awards night

Kilmallie’s annual dinner dance and awards night takes place at The Moorings Hotel, Banavie on Saturday November 18.

The club’s annual player of the year winners will be announced and there will be music from the Ballochmyle Band. It is a 7pm for a 7.30pm start and tickets are £25, with £15 for juveniles. Tickets can be purchased from Cath MacKay, Ann MacDougall, Linda Campbell, Mark MacPherson and Ryan Stewart.

Craig Morrison six-a-sides

Glenurquhart won the 2017 Craig Morrison Memorial Sixes in Stornoway on Saturday October 14. Five teams competed in this year’s event – three Lewis sides along with Glenurquhart and “Stromeferry – No Ferry”.

Glenurquhart, who included James MacPherson, Stuart Reid and David Smart in a strong squad, were convincing winners and after the round-robin event, they beat the Lewis Blacks 8-0 in the final. Craig Morrison passed away tragically in 2009, aged only 20 and he is fondly remembered by all at Lewis Camanachd.