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Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup – semi-final
Kyles Athletic 0
Oban Camanachd 3
Oban Camanachd are through to the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final following their 3-0 win over Kyles Athletic in their 4.05pm throw up at Mossfield.
Much of the pre-match discussion surrounded Strachurmore’s suitability as a semi-final venue for shinty’s blue riband event. Oban Camanachd put their displeasure on record whilst Kyles seemed content with the choice.
However, matters took a midweek twist as, following the early week rainfall, and weather warnings for the days to come, the Strachurmore committee judged that their pitch was unlikely to be playable.
The Camanachd Association explored alternative venues for the televised match. Their criteria included; a playable pitch, space and facilities to accommodate partners from BBC, MG ALBA and Nemeton, parking availability, distance of travel for both teams and supporters as well as the capacity to host a gate.
This ultimately left three options; to play the tie at Bught Park, Inverness or Mossfield, Oban or to postpone the match which would present numerable clashes and challenges for all involved.
Taking all these factors into account, it was agreed by all parties that the semi-final would go ahead at Mossfield.
It was a fine day in Oban and Donald Irvine and Grant Irvine both returned for Kyles whilst Neil MacVicar shrugged off an injury to start in defence. Callum Millar returned from injury to take a place on the bench where he was joined by captain Colin MacDonald, Innes Macdonald, Conor Kennedy and player/manager Dunky Kerr.
Scott MacMillan returned to the Oban Camanachd starting line up where he made up a midfield trio with Lorne Dickie and Keith MacMillan. Aidan MacIntyre, Gary McKerracher, Willie Neilson, Blair MacFarlane and Craig Easton were held in reserve.
The sides had met on four previous occasions this season with Oban Camanachd winning the last three clashes.
The red and blacks pinned Kyles back from the throw-up, forcing four early corners, but the closest they came in the opening 10 minutes was an Andrew MacCuish shot which went wide following a good, one-touch passing move.
Daniel Cameron had made a lively start and he swept the ball into the goal area from the right where John Whyte saved with his legs and Neil MacVicar cleared for a corner.
Kyles made some positional changes and they responded well, going on to enjoy a period of pressure and Malcolm Clark did well to sweep away a low ball into the D from Paul MacArthur before Thomas Whyte fired over from a wide angle and Rupert William’s strike from a MacArthur free-hit went a fraction outside the post.
With 10 first half minutes remaining, Scott Macdonald gathered a Thomas Whyte ball forward before going on a run to the left and his shot goalwards looped off Ross MacRae’s club and Cameron Sutherland in the Oban goal saw his first real action as he did really well, at full stretch, to turn the dropping ball away from just under his crossbar.
Cameron Sutherland turned away a fierce Thomas Whyte shot from the right before the Oban Camanachd custodian then had to look lively to clear Robbie MacLeod’s ball into the D, getting it away before Scott Macdonald could benefit.
As the first half moved into two minutes’ stoppage time, Rupert Williamson flicked Paul MacArthur’s chip forward into the D but Sutherland was again equal to it.
Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss made a change at half-time as Aidan MacIntyre came on at wing centre for Keith MacMillan and MacIntyre made an immediate impact as, from the restart, he played the ball into the goal area from the right. With Andrew MacCuish and Daniel Cameron getting touches, John Whyte cleared for a corner on the Oban left which was initially taken by Scott MacMillan and then cleared for a second corner.
This time Daniel Cameron ran across the D and, not for the first time this season, he showed the greater desire to dive forward and steer the ball home to give Camanachd the lead with only 77 second half seconds played.
Kyles needed a goal and Grant Irvine pulled a shot wide after Rupert Williamson fed Andrew King’s ball forward back to him.
Kyles were knocking on the door and when the ball broke to Scott Macdonald following a corner, he skewed his low shot wide of the keeper’s left post.
However, the Kyles goal had a scare on 61 minutes when Andrew MacCuish ghosted forward to take down a ball from Daniel MacCuish and his deft flick came off keeper Whyte before bouncing off the post.
Cameron Sutherland made good use of his hand to parry a dangerous high ball from Robbie MacLeod before getting the ball away for a corner.
Kyles continued in search of a leveller and it took a superb Daniel Sloss block to prevent Grant Irvine getting a shot on goal from the right of the D.
The next goal was going to be crucial and it came from another Oban Camanachd corner on the left. Aidan MacIntyre played the ball in and when it broke off Neil MacVicar’s stick, Daniel Cameron was again first to react as he swept the ball low into the net from inside the D to make it 2-0 with 71 minutes played.
Kyles immediately pushed Roddy Macdonald into attack with Callum Millar going to full back and Conor Kennedy got under a shot at goal but he sent the ball well over the top.
Oban Camanachd freshened things up as Willie Neilson was introduced for Daniel MacCuish just three minutes later.
Both sides were hit by injury as Scott Macdonald went off holding his arm and Willie Neilson’s stay was brief as he hobbled away with a knee injury after an accidental coming together with Andrew King.
Kyles continued to press and Grant Irvine fired wide from the left, Roddy Macdonald’s snap-shot, following Paul MacArthur’s hit-in from the right, went over and Paul MacArthur’s shot deflected wide through a crowded goal area.
The Kyles goal just wouldn’t come though and the only missing ingredient from an Oban Camanachd perspective was an Andrew MacCuish goal but it duly arrived a minute from time. MacCuish took the ball to his left side before driving low into the net with the effort deceiving keeper John Whyte.
It was Andrew MacCuish’s eighth goal in four matches against Kyles this season.
There was still time for Gary McKerracher to come on in stoppage time and Oban Camanachd skipper Daniel Cameron’s two goals and his overall contribution earned him the BBC ALBA man of the match accolade. Andy MacLean was the match referee and his final saw Oban Camanachd through to the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final where they will play Newtonmore at An Aird in a repeat of the 2016 final.
This is a third cup final of the season for Oban Camanachd and, speaking after the match, manager Stephen Sloss said: ‘We’ve played better but a win’s a win and it’s another final and we want to keep winning. We’ve shown that we’ve been the better team against Kyles over the course of this season and that’s important.
‘Kyles kept making changes in the game to try and make things happen but our defenders dealt with that. The back five did very well, especially Garry Lord who covers for everyone at the back when required.
‘Willie Neilson’s injury is a concern. We’ll monitor him this week but if he doesn’t make it, it will create an opportunity for one of the younger players to come into the squad.’
amanachd captain Daniel Cameron added: ‘We got our goals at vital times and we managed to kill their attacks. We are looking forward to the finals but we have been in this position before and it’s not a successful season until you win them. We are in the Camanachd Cup final and we are happy with that but we’ve got to go on and win it now.’
Next up for Oban Camanachd is the Artemis Macaulay Cup Final against Mowi league leaders Kingussie at Mossfield this Saturday.
Throw up is at 4pm and Archie Ritchie is the match referee.
Caberfeidh beat Kilmallie 2-1 on a sun-kissed afternoon at the Canal Parks to gather two hard-fought points.
Both teams knew they needed to take something from this one and Kilmallie almost took the lead when Daniel Stewart found space on the left but his shot went into the side-netting.
However, it was Cabers who took the lead on 11 minutes and it was a 27th goal of the season for Craig Morrison.
The goal came following a Jamie MacKintosh corner on the right and when the ball was only half-cleared to the in-form Morrison, he made no mistake, netting from 15 yards and scoring for the 16th match in a row.
Kilmallie thought they had pulled a goal back when a corner from the left found Craig MacIsaac in the D and he volleyed home only for referee John Angus Gillies to correctly award a free-hit to Cabers.
The game was opening up and Kilmallie keeper Shane Gillies pulled off a good save on 17 minutes, keeping out Kevin Bartlett’s 20-yard shot.
Kilmallie equalised on 20 minutes following a neat move. Martin Stewart played a good ball forward to Daniel Stewart, who cut by his marker before slamming the ball inside the keeper’s left-hand post to make it 1-1. Cabers keeper Ewan Pilcher had to look smart to save from Liam MacDonald as Kilmallie threatened to go in front.
Caberfeidh restored their lead following a corner on the right. Jamie MacKintosh played the ball perfectly across to the on-rushing Robbie Brindle and beat keeper Gillies, sending the ball inside the post.
There were no goals in the second half although Kilmallie tested the Caberfeidh back-five on a number of occasions.
Evan Menzies scored four times as Newtonmore go third in shinty’s top flight after beating Lochaber 5-1 in their 3pm throw up at the Eilan.
Ewen Fraser got the other for ’More with Findlay MacDonald countering for Lochaber.
Inveraray moved off the bottom of the table after drawing 2-2 with Lovat at the Winterton. Garry MacPherson and Connor Howe twice had Inveraray ahead but Greg Matheson pegged them back both times.
The match between Kingussie and Kinlochshiel at the Dell was postponed because of the adverse weather conditions.
Mowi National Division
Fort William 7
Fort William clinched the Mowi National Division title, and promotion to shinty’s top flight, in emphatic style after they beat second placed Glenurquhart 7-1 in their 3pm throw up at An Aird.
The Fort set their intentions out early on, taking a six-minute lead. Lachie Shaw found space from a well-worked free-hit and he struck a bouncing ball really well, sending it into the bottom corner of the goal from about 20 yards range.
Alexander MacMillan made it 2-0 on 22 minutes. Arran MacPhee was fouled by Lachie Smith on the penalty spot and from the free-hit, the ball was played to MacMillan at the edge of the box and he turned and hit the ball home.
Lewis Morrison made it 3-0 just three minutes later. The ball was played in to Morrison but he left it for Calum Shepherd, who shot goalwards. Stuart MacKintosh made the save but Morrison was quickly in to pounce on the rebound to score.
Alexander MacMillan got his second a couple of minutes before the interval. Arran MacPhee’s shot was saved by Stuart MacKintosh but MacMillan produced a great finish from a tight angle.
When the ball dropped for Arran MacPhee from a corner on 57 minutes, he hit it low into the net from the edge of the D to make it 5-0.
John Barr pulled a goal back for the Glen a minute later but Victor Smith got the sixth Fort goal on 66 minutes when he turned his man really well before striking the ball perfectly into the bottom corner.
Arran MacPhee got his second on 71 minutes to round off the scoring. Jack Fraser shyed the ball and it came in just outside the penalty area where MacPhee hit it on the half-volley and it went bouncing into the net.
Glen’s Andrew Corrigan was sent off by referee Des McNulty following a display of dissent late in the match.
It was a 12th straight league win for Fort William and they are worthy champions with second place Glenurquhart the best of the rest, a massive 10 points behind.
Glasgow Mid Argyll 4
Oban Celtic 0
Glasgow Mid Argyll kept their promotion push going by beating Oban Celtic 4-0 at Yoker.
The early exchanges were even with Oban Celtic creating the first clear opening when Ross MacMillan turned his marker and attempted a lob goalwards but GMA keeper Robert Dunnings was quickly off his line to keep the ball out.
However it was GMA who made the most of their first chance on nine minutes when Oliver MacRae launched the ball forward and Jamie McFadyen stole in to score with his effort sneaking past the keeper.
Play switched to the other end and Robert Dunnings made a brilliant save with his stick to keep out Lennon Campbell’s drive from around the penalty spot.
It was GMA who were proving the more clinical in front of goal and they doubled their lead on 13 minutes. The visitors didn’t clear their line properly and Oliver MacRae was again the provider as he played a perfect pass to Jamie McFadyen, who blasted the ball on the run past Iain MacFarlane in the Oban Celtic goal.
It took another terrific Dunnings save to keep out Lennon Campbell’s high shot on the turn, deflecting the ball by the post.
GMA added a third goal on 22 minutes with Oliver MacRae driving the ball low into the bottom corner of the net.
It remained 3-0 until a minute before the break but they had a great chance to pull a goal back when Ross MacMillan was brought down after bursting into the D and referee Ross Brown pointed to the spot. MacMillan dusted himself down before taking responsibility from the penalty spot but he sent his effort the wrong side of the post.
The host’s 3-0 interval cushion was harsh on Oban Celtic and worse was to follow as GMA added a fourth a minute after the restart when Calum McLay shot, through a crowded goal area from the penalty spot, deflected off Lewis Mcphee’s stick and wrong-footed the keeper with the ball going inside the post.
The goal effectively ended the match as a contest although Oban Celtic tried hard with Robert Dunnings twice denying Lennon Campbell with low saves.
It says a lot about Oban Celtic’s efforts throughout that GMA keeper Robert Dunnings was the man of the match.
With Fort William taking the first promotion spot as champions, GMA are now just one point behind second placed Glenurquhart with two games in hand.
Sixth placed Oban Celtic remain a point behind Beauly with a game fewer played.
Skye Camanachd 2
Skye Camanachd came from behind to beat Beauly 2-1 at Braeview Park.
Fort William 7
The Fort William seconds beat the Kilmallie seconds 7-0 in their noon throw up at An Aird to reach the Strathdearn Cup final.
Greig Kelly gave the Fort a 24-minute lead and Scott Knox added a second on the strike of half-time.
Scott Knox got his second on 65 minutes with Greig Kelly doing like-wise just three minutes later.
Dean Williamson made it 5-0 on 71 minutes with Scott Knox completing his hat-trick on 82 minutes.
Donald Walker completed the scoring a minute from time as Fort William proved too strong for their lower league opponents.
The Fort William and Newtonmore second teams will meet in the final on Saturday 31 August 2019 after ’More edged out the Glenurquhart seconds 2-1 in their semi-final.
Mowi North Division 1
Skye Camanachd 0
League leaders Glengarry stay four points clear at the top of the table after beating the Skye Camanachd reserves 2-0 in their 2.30pm throw up at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
Glengarry played with the wind in the first half and it took a superb Murphy Henderson save, tipping a Raymond Robertson piledriver over the bar with his caman, to prevent ’Garry going in front.
However, Robertson was not to be denied and he gathered a Steven Cameron pass in a central position on 18 minutes before turning and shooting low into the net.
Finlay Nicolson, who started at wing centre before being pushed up front, made it 2-0 on 34 minutes. Finlay Fraser flicked the ball inside from the left and Nicolson lifted the ball past the keeper to score.
Skye came more into it in the second half and, on 62 minutes, substitute Caitlin MacLean found David MacInnes who played in Daniel Morrison but ’Garry keeper Gordon MacDonald made a good save with his hand.
The visitors were forced to make changes through injury which affected their rhythm and MacDonald saved again from Daniel Morrison as well as from Sam MacPhee twice, either side of using his chest to block Caitlin MacLean’s shot.
Elsewhere in the division, the Lovat second team scored twice in the final 10 minutes to finally see off the Caberfeidh second team 4-2 at Balgate, Kevin Thain grabbed a hat-trick as the Kingussie colts beat the Kinlochshiel colts 3-1 at Reraig and Inverness were 4-0 victors against Aberdeen University at the Bught Park.
Mowi South Division 1
Lochside Rovers 4
Lochside Rovers leapfrog Ballachulish to go second in the division after beating the Jubilee Park side 4-0 at Ganavan.
Jamie MacGillivray gave Lochside a 23-minute lead when he ran down the left and sent a low shot past the keeper from 20 yards.
And it was MacGillivray again on 27 minutes with an effort that deceived the keeper to make it 2-0.
Two fine strikes from Lewis Buchanan on 61 and 75 minutes completed the 4-0 victory.
The only downside for Lochside was a nasty knock above the eye which is likely to sideline the influential Michael MacQueen.
Elsewhere in the division, league leaders Aberdour beat Col Glen 2-0 at Silversands and the Inveraray second team came from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Tayforth at Peffermill.
Mowi North Division 2
The crucial North Division 2 title clash between league leaders Lochcarron and second placed Strathspey Camanachd at Battery Park was postponed as there was no available referee.
Mowi South Division 2
Glenorchy were too strong for the Bute seconds, winning 10-0 at Mart Park.
Conor Sartain and Murray MacKay grabbed hat-tricks; Kieran McKay scored twice and Robbie Brown and Toby McFarlane-Barrow got the others.
Kilmory stay in the title hunt after winning 8-0 at Ardnamurchan.
Hal Jones was their top scorer with four goals whilst Alex Cunningham scored twice and Nairn Jackson and Euan Gilmour got the other.