Shinty round-up

The victorious Skye team. Badenoch v Skye in the Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup Final, played at The Dell, Kingussie.

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Skye Camanachd and Lovat were the big winners at the Mowi Women’s Cup Finals Day, while the North U21s won the Caol Cup following the shinty action on Saturday September 7.

Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup Final

Skye Camanachd 8 Badenoch 6

2017 winners Skye Camanachd won back the Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup with an 8-6 victory over holders Badenoch at a sunny Dell.

This was a repeat of the 2018 final, at the same venue, which Badenoch won 4-1.

There was an early chance for Badenoch’s Zoe Reid before Caitlin MacLean won possession and found Lorna MacRae who weaved through the defence to give Skye the lead on three minutes.

Kirsty Deans equalised on seven minutes when she got away from her marker on the left before shooting across the keeper into the net from the edge of the ‘D’.

Rhona MacIntyre put Badenoch ahead on 12 minutes. MacIntyre took down Mairi Stewart’s ball from the right before scoring from the front of the box.

Skye drew level on 32 minutes when Holly MacLean’s corner from the right evaded Jeanette MacGregor and Lorna MacRae, on her back-hand, fired the ball across the keeper from a tight angle to the left of the ‘D’.

It was Skye who would take a two-goal cushion into the interval, scoring twice in a couple of minutes. First, on 37 minutes, Lorna MacRae took a pass from Caitlin MacLean before running at the defence. With two defenders drawn to MacRae, Abby MacLean was left unmarked at the front of the ‘D’ and she had time to take a touch before picking her spot.

Elizabeth MacGregor turned away Lorna MacRae’s drive from the left before Abby MacLean ran onto Sarah Corrigall’s bouncing ball forward and she thundered the ball into the net, on her back-hand, from the left of the ‘D’ and Skye led 4-2 at half-time.

With the tireless Rhianna Kirk urging Skye forward from the middle of the park, Lorna MacRae completed her hat-trick a couple of minutes after the re-start when Badenoch failed to clear Caitlin MacLean’s ball into the danger area and MacRae hammered the ball home.

Abby MacLean completed her hat-trick on 48 minutes, scoring low into the net after exchanging passes with Lorna MacRae. Skye led 6-2 and Badenoch now had a mountain to climb.

Badenoch grabbed a lifeline on 50 minutes when Rhona MacIntyre scored from inside the ‘D’ following a corner.

Kirsty Deans got her second goal of the game on 57 minutes when she scrambled the ball home to make it 6-4.

Megan Ralph passed up a great chance when Kirsty Deans found her in space in front of goal and Lorna MacRae made Badenoch pay on 66 minutes when she gathered the ball in midfield before running at the defence, scoring from inside the ‘D’.

Kirsty Deans hit the post from the left before scoring on her back-hand to complete her hat-trick on 71 minutes, with Ruth Forbes and Megan Ralph involved in the build-up, to make it 7-5.

Skye restored their three-goal cushion on 74 minutes. Lorna MacRae picked up a stray clearance before again running at the defence. Keeper MacGregor saved with her left foot from MacRae but Abby MacLean sent the rebound high into the net on her back-hand to make it 8-5.

There was still time for Ruth Forbes to make it 8-6, slotting the ball low to the keeper’s left with a minute remaining following a fine Zoe Reid run from the left.

Skye’s Lorna MacRae was the choice of sponsor Peter Gow as player of the match and few would argue with his selection.

Skye Camanachd captain Ilana Paterson stepped forward to be presented with the Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup by Jayne MacKay from sponsors Mowi, with Women’s Camanachd Association president Lisa MacColl in attendance.

Eight goals between them: Abbie MacLean, left, and Lorna Macrae of Skye. Photograph: Neil Paterson.
Mowi Challenge Cup Final

Inverness 1 Lovat 7

Lovat are Mowi Challenge Cup winners, after defeating Inverness 7-1 in their 1.45pm throw-up at the Dell.

Lovat were favourites going into the final, having beaten Inverness twice in the league and they took early control with Fiona Urquhart getting the opener and Scottish international Laura Gallacher adding a hat-trick to make it 4-0.

Aisling Healy pulled a goal back for Inverness to make it 4-1, but Fiona Urquhart added two more Lovat goals to complete her hat-trick and a fourth from Lovat captain Laura Gallacher rounded off the scoring to make it 7-1.

Scotland women’s squad announced

New Scotland women’s head coach James Gallacher has named his squad for the shinty/camogie international against Irish opposition in Waterford on Saturday October 5.

The squad, all aged 18 or over, and with eight clubs represented, was selected following trial sessions. Badenoch have the most players with seven included in the final 18 player pool, while four come from Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup winners Skye.

The selection process was a tough one for James Gallacher who said: ‘It was difficult, more difficult than I expected, but we are more than happy with the final squad. All 36 players invited to the selection trials turned up and did very well. I don’t know if they went all-out to impress the new management team, but they were certainly all keen.

‘The bonus is we have good players in reserve if they are needed and we have a squad that ranges from experienced players to four new caps.

‘The experience comes from the likes of Betty MacGregor in goals and Jeanette MacGregor at full back. They give us a solid basis to build on.

‘The four new caps are Ishbel Barr from Glenurquhart, Glengarry pair Isla MacKay and Aoife Tangney and Zoe Smith from Fort William and they all have what it takes to go on to have long Scotland careers.

‘We have some great attacking options with the likes of Kirsty Deans in the middle going forward, flanked by Lorna MacRae and Laura Gallacher.

‘We are looking forward to the game against what will be tough opposition and momentum is building.’

James Gallacher brings a wealth of experience to the Scotland ladies head coach role. He previously co-managed the Lovat first team with John MacRitchie and is currently leading the Lovat Ladies who won the Mowi Challenge Cup at the weekend.

James will be assisted by current Lovat second team player/manager Jamie Matheson and Glengarry stalwart Laura MacKay, while personal trainer Andrew Morris looks after fitness.

As well as the usual training sessions, the squad will play a practice match against Kingussie U17s later this month.

Scotland women’s squad from: Ishbel Barr, Glenurquhart; Sarah Corrigall, Skye Camanachd; Kirsty Deans, Badenoch; Niamh Donnelly, Aberdour; Mairi Duncan, Lochaber; Laura Gallacher, Lovat; Rhianna Kirk, Skye Camanachd; Rhona McIntyre, Badenoch; Isla Mackay, Glengarry; Caitlin MacLean, Skye Camanachd; Lorna MacRae, Skye Camanachd; Elizabeth McGregor, Badenoch; Jeanette McGregor, Badenoch; Zoe Reid, Badenoch; Zoe Smith, Fort William; Mairi Stewart, Badenoch; Rona Stewart, Badenoch and Aoife Tangney, Glengarry.

Caol Cup success for the North

South U21s 0 North U21s 3

All the goals came in the first half as the North U21s beat the South U21s 3-0 in the annual Caol Cup clash at the Jubilee, Ballachulish, on Saturday September 7.

The match was originally scheduled for Taynuilt Sports Field but an unplayable pitch lead to a switch to Ballachulish.

Kenny Wotherspoon led the south and was missing Glasgow Mid Argyll’s Calum McLay so Inveraray’s Hamish MacLellan was a late call-up.

The north, managed by Kilmallie’s Mark MacPherson, went into the match without Kilmallie’s Innes Blackhall and Lochaber’s Findlay MacDonald who were both taking part in the Ben Nevis Race. Skye’s John Gillies and Newtonmore pair Iain Robinson and Craig Ritchie were also unavailable.

The north took the lead on 12 minutes when Duncan Matheson turned home a re-bound off the keeper and it was Matheson again who scored the north’s second on 25 minutes, this time with a rocket-shot on the angle from the left.

Roddy Young showed great composure to add a third on the stroke of half-time when he took on the full back before thumping the ball high into the net.

The south dominated the second half and it took great goalkeeping from Stuart Disher, and good defending from Lachie Smith, Danny Kelly, Cameron MacIntosh and Calum Grant, to keep them out.

Steven MacKenzie and Euan McMurdo were on hand as north captain Calum Grant was presented with the Caol Cup.

Mark MacPherson said: ‘The boys played well and although the goals came in the first half, our defence and keeper had to play their part in the second half when our backs were against the wall.

‘We scored some good goals and defender Lachie Smith is a hardy boy. Calum Grant was vocal and organised everyone, while Danny Kelly is as strong as an ox. Calum MacDougall also had a great game. He was outstanding and as for Ruaridh Anderson, what a season he is having. A special mention must go to our keeper Stuart Disher who made three fantastic saves. If he wasn’t a Fort William player, I’d have made him man of the match,’ laughed the Kilmallie stalwart.

‘It was an absolute pleasure to take these boys and they showed a great attitude and were a credit to their clubs.’

The match is part of the selection process ahead of November’s shinty/hurling international between Scotland U21s and Ireland U21s at Abbotstown. Scotland U21 head coach Alan MacRae was in attendance and has plenty to think about before finalising his squad.

South U21s from: Cameron Sutherland, Oban Camanachd; Daniel Sloss, Oban Camanachd; Craig Easton, Oban Camanachd; Lewis MacPhee, Oban Celtic; Hamish MacLellan, Inveraray; Ryan Craig, Bute; Daniel MacVicar, Oban Camanachd; Jonny MacAskill, Glasgow Mid Argyll, captain; Ross MacMillan, Oban Celtic; Fraser Watt, Inveraray; Conor Kennedy, Kyles Athletic; Daniel MacCuish, Oban Camanachd; Scott MacLachlan, Inveraray; Blair MacFarlane, Oban Camanachd; Michael MacKinnon, Oban Celtic; Ruaraidh Graham, Kyles Athletic, and Scott MacDonald, Kyles Athletic.

Manager: Kenny Wotherspoon. Coaches: Daniel Cameron and Calum Fox.

North U21s from: Stuart Disher, Fort William; Lachlan Smith, Glenurquhart; Cameron MacIntosh, Glenurquhart; Calum Grant, Kingussie, captain; Danny Kelly, Lovat; William MacKinnon, Skye Camanachd; Calum MacDougall, Kilmallie; Kieran MacPherson, Kingussie; Ruaridh Anderson, Kingussie; Lachie Shaw, Fort William; Roddy Young, Kingussie; Duncan Matheson, Kinlochshiel; Oliver Black, Glenurquhart; Ryan Boyle, Fort William; Martin Pringle, Skye Camanachd, and Alexander Michie, Kingussie.

Manager: Mark MacPherson. Assistants: John Wallace and Davie Anderson.

Match referee: Des McNulty.

Mowi North Division 1

Newtonmore P Aberdeen University P

The meeting between the Newtonmore second team and Aberdeen University was postponed as the students were unable to raise a team.

The postponement prevented Newtonmore giving valuable game time to Michael Russell and Glen MacKintosh ahead of this weekend’s Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final against Oban Camanachd at An Aird.

This Saturday

While the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final is the main event this Saturday, there are also three re-arranged fixtures scheduled.

Mowi Premiership

Lochaber v Kyles Athletic

Relegation-threatened Lochaber have two matches left to save their season starting with an 11.30am throw-up against Kyles Athletic at Spean Bridge.

Lochaber’s final fixture at home to Oban Camanachd is set for Saturday October 19.

Kingussie v Caberfeidh

Kingussie and Caberfeidh meet in an 11am throw-up at the Dell.

Kingussie know a win will take them level on points with Lovat at the top of the table.

Mowi National Division

Glasgow Mid Argyll v Strathglass

Promotion hopefuls Glasgow Mid Argyll meet Strathglass in a noon throw-up at Yoker.

GMA, who are without suspended South U21 captain Jonny MacAskill, will go two points clear of third-placed Skye with a game in hand if they win.

Youth shinty

Mowi London Shield Semi-Finals

Skye Camanachd U17s will play either Newtonmore U17s or Oban Camanachd U17s in this year’s Mowi London Shield Final.

This year’s semi-finals were played home and away.

Beauly visited Skye in their first leg with the islanders winning 6-1. Taylor Matheson scored four times, with Angus Gilpin and Ross MacKinnon getting the others. Duncan Anderson netted for Beauly.

Skye won 6-2 at Braeview Park a week later, with Taylor Matheson again the star of the show, scoring all six visiting goals. Finlay MacLennan and Duncan Anderson countered for the hosts.

Newtonmore had to beat Kingussie in a play-off to reach the last four where they encountered Oban Camanachd. Newtonmore were 2-1 winners in the first leg at the Eilan, as goals from Sorley Thomson and Struan Ross cancelled out Ross Campbell’s effort for the Oban side.

The second leg at Ganavan was called off because of a waterlogged pitch and has to be re-scheduled.

Mowi MacMaster Cup Final preview

Oban Camanachd U14s and Kinlochshiel U14s meet at An Aird to contest the coveted MacMaster Cup ahead of Saturday’s Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final.

MacMaster Cup semi-finals

Kinlochshiel U14s 4 Beauly U14s 2

Kinlochshiel U14s reached the MacMaster Cup Final with a 4-2 victory over Beauly U14s at Blairbeg on Friday August 30.

Archie MacRae gave Kinlochshiel the lead on 11 minutes but Marcus MacRae on 21 minutes and Finlay MacLennan three minutes later turned the semi-final Beauly’s way.

Archie MacRae was becoming a key player in this tie, however, and he made it 2-2 at the interval with a goal on 31 minutes.

Archie MacRae completed his hat-trick with a strike on 36 minutes and took his tally to four goals on 66 minutes.

Fort William U14s 3 Oban Camanachd U14s 4

Fort William U14s and Oban Camanachd U14s were to meet at the Jubilee Park on Friday August 30 but the tie was re-scheduled to Wednesday September 4 because of an unplayable field.

Gabriel Tidser put Oban Camanachd ahead, but Fort William levelled quickly and it remained 1-1 until the break.

Fort William took the lead, only for Joe MacVicar to equalise.

Fort William went ahead for the second time but an own goal made it 3-3 with 10 minutes remaining.

Matthew Sloss was the Oban Camanachd hero, scoring a late winner to send Oban Camanachd through to the MacMaster Cup Final on Tulloch Camanachd Cup Final day at An Aird where they will play Kinlochshiel U14s. Throw-up is at 11am.

Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final – the final say

The countdown is well under way ahead of the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final between Newtonmore and Oban Camanachd Newtonmore at An Aird on Saturday September 14.

Both sides are making their final preparations ahead of shinty’s ‘Big Day Out’.

Newtonmore are going for a fourth consecutive Scottish success, a feat they achieved in 1910, but as their reserve team match against Aberdeen University was postponed at the weekend, manager Paul John MacKintosh missed the opportunity to give Michael Russell and Glen MacKintosh valuable game time as they work their way back from injury.

Oban Camanachd, who last lifted the trophy in 1996, will miss the suspended Scott MacMillan, while Aidan MacIntyre is injured but, otherwise, manager Stephen Sloss has a clean bill of health.

Whilst the Camanachd Cup means everything to the players, it is also sought after by their respective communities.

Newtonmore captain Evan Menzies said: ‘To do four-in-a-row would be huge for the club and the village. It’s been a long time since that has been achieved and, within a village like Newtonmore, it’s almost expected we have the trophies in the Balavil Hotel cabinet with the history behind us so it comes with a certain amount of pressure but it’s what drives us all on, to try and emulate the great teams of the past.’

Oban Camanachd captain Daniel Cameron also recognises what victory would mean to the red and black side of the Oban community. ‘It would be massive,’ he said. ‘It would really mean something to shake off the 1996 tag and the boys who played that day agree it’s about time Oban Camanachd lifted the Camanachd Cup again and they would love to see the current team do so. It would be the icing on the cake for this season.’

Neither captain seems burdened with the additional responsibility that wearing the armband brings.

Evan Menzies said: ‘I don’t feel being captain is a bigger responsibility. We all play for each other regardless of who the captain is and, being a Scottish Cup Final, no-one needs to be pushed or reminded of what’s at stake.’

Daniel Cameron agreed: ‘I’m vocal on the pitch anyway so it doesn’t make any difference to me. I like to play that role. It’s a side I enjoy. I’ve been fortunate in that our last three of four managers have asked me to skipper the side, but we have other leaders on the pitch, be in no doubt about that.’

Evan Menzies added: ‘We will need to be at our very best to beat Oban Camanachd as they have shown to be a huge force in the game this season, making all three finals.’

Daniel Cameron concluded: ‘We have been training hard and we have our minds firmly on the game. We know what we need to do and we intend to go for it.’

Holders Newtonmore have already claimed the cottages.com MacTavish Cup this season. Their second team is in the Strathdearn Cup Final, while their U17s are battling it out with Oban Camanachd’s U17s for a place in the Mowi London Shield Final.

Oban Camanachd, as a club, are certainly riding high at present with their U14 side in the MacMaster Final, an 11am throw up at An Aird on Saturday, whilst the U17s have a Mowi London Shield semi-final second leg against Newtonmore U17 to look forward to. Lochside Rovers have already claimed the Bullough Cup and HIS Sutherland Cup, while the Oban Camanachd senior team’s haul so far includes the Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup and they were beaten finalists in the Artemis Macaulay Cup Final.

Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss has the final say: ‘It’s a huge opportunity for the players but they have to make the most of it. I was a 17 year old when Oban Camanachd lifted the trophy in 1996 and we went on to reach four finals in six years. I thought we would always get to the final more often than not but Oban Camanachd didn’t reach another final until 2016. So these opportunities don’t come along all that often and some great players have never featured in a Camanachd Cup Final.

‘We didn’t do ourselves justice in the 2016 Camanachd Cup Final and we’re certainly a much better side than we showed in this year’s Macaulay Final. What an opportunity we have on Saturday to make up for that and I think our older players deserve to win it.’

The 2019 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final between Newtonmore and Oban Camanachd takes place at An Aird on Saturday September 14. Throw- up is at 2.15pm and Robert Baxter is the match referee. The match is live on the new BBC Scotland channel from 2pm.

There will be full coverage from the final in next week’s Oban Times.