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The Newtonmore second team are Mowi North Division 1 champions for the fourth successive season following the shinty action on Saturday November 16.
Oban Camanachd P
The match between Oban Camanachd and Lochaber at Spean Bridge was postponed on Saturday morning because of a frozen pitch.
The sides will try again this Saturday for what is the final Mowi Premiership match of the season.
A win for Oban Camanachd would see them finish second in the league.
Oban Camanachd assistant manager Kenny Wotherspoon said: ‘It’s disappointing because we’d prepared for the game and we wanted to get the game played. Saturday’s match will be the last game in the league and if we win, we will finish second.
‘I think the Camanachd Association would like us to share the points, as Kyles did in their final two matches, but we feel that would be a disadvantage to us as it is a game we feel we can win.
‘You get nothing for finishing second in the league but winning the Celtic Society and being runners-up in the Scottish and Macaulay cups, coupled with second in the league, is something many would have bitten their hand off for at the start of the season, especially at a club under new management, so it would give us something solid to build on for next year.’
Kyles Athletic v
Kilmallie – points shared
Kyles Athletic and Kilmallie agreed to share the points ahead of their meeting at Tighnabruaich.
This was to be Kyles Athletic’s penultimate match of the season, whilst it was Kilmallie’s final game of 2019.
Kyles also still had to play Newtonmore at Tighnabruaich but the points have been shared in that game too.
A Kyles Athletic statement read: ‘After discussions between ourselves, the Camanachd Association, Kilmallie and Newtonmore, it has been agreed our two remaining matches of this season will no longer go ahead and the points will be shared.
‘After a long, drawn-out season, the players can now get some well-deserved time off before pre-season starts in January.’
The shared points mean Kyles Athletic, who have finished runners-up in shinty’s top flight for the previous three seasons, are currently third in the table but both they and second place Lovat will both drop a place if Oban Camanachd win their final match at Lochaber.
Having returned to shinty’s top flight at the start of this season, Kilmallie’s Premiership status was secured at the end of August, marking a successful first term in charge for new boss John Stewart.
Mowi North Division 1
Aberdeen University 0
The Newtonmore second team took the Mowi North Division 1 title for a fourth successive season after beating Aberdeen University 7-0 in their 1pm throw-up at the Eilan.
Newtonmore keeper Calum Grover was unwell so Cameron McNiven stood in between the sticks. But he was to have a quiet afternoon. There was no Fraser MacKintosh, but Drew MacDonald started and Glen MacKintosh took a place amongst five substitutes on the Newtonmore bench.
Aberdeen were missing Jamie Beaton, whilst Glengarry Ladies player Aoife Tangney started.
Craig Macleod gave Newtonmore the lead on nine minutes. Macleod’s initial effort from the left was blocked by Stuart Cameron but when the ball came back to him, Macleod’s low bouncing shot deceived keeper Scott Moffat and the ball ended up in the net.
Newtonmore were keen to add to their tally and boss Orsten Gardiner brought Glen MacKintosh on for Calum Stewart on 26 minutes, with Stewart re-introduced for Duncan Gorman on 37 minutes.
There was some relief for the home support when Glen MacKintosh made it 2-0 on 38 minutes. MacKintosh ran to the right of the ‘D’ to get on the end of Owen Fraser’s corner from the right. With Aberdeen University full back Graham Black in chase, MacKintosh blasted a high ball into the net, across the keeper from a tight angle on the right.
The hosts had the chance to add a third goal during first half stoppage time when referee Deek Cameron awarded them a penalty after spotting a ‘kick’ inside the ‘D’. Aberdeen keeper Scott Moffat saved well with his stick, however, to deny Glen MacKintosh and it remained 2-0 at the break.
The visitors lost defender Joe Folan with a nasty face injury during the first half, although he came back on, bandaged up, in the second half.
A third goal arrived on 50 minutes. Glen MacKintosh collected the ball wide on the right before flicking it inside, between his legs, and although Calum Stewart’s initial effort from the right of the ‘D’ was blocked, Stewart touched the ball back to Craig Macleod who evaded a challenge before shooting home on his back-hand to make it 3-0.
Craig Macleod completed his hat-trick on 59 minutes to make it 4-0. Scott Chisholm’s lofted ball into the goal area from wide on the right of midfield wasn’t dealt with by the Aberdeen defence and Craig Macleod ran in behind them where he lashed the ball past a helpless keeper.
Newtonmore still needed another goal for the title and it duly arrived with 20 minutes remaining. Substitute Sorley Thomson diverted a high ball forward into the path of Craig Macleod who ran in from the left and he controlled the ball before tucking it past the keeper on his left side.
Two late goals put gloss on the win. First, on 80 minutes, Glen MacKintosh ran onto a ball from wide on the right and steadied himself before steering a low shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.
Five minutes later, Glen MacKintosh completed his hat-trick to make it 7-0. Substitute Neil Stewart crossed from the right, finding Craig Macleod at the back post. Macleod touched the ball inside to Glen MacKintosh who found space at the front of the ‘D’ and turned the ball low into the net on his back-hand.
Keeper Scott Moffat was excellent for Aberdeen, making a number of fine saves including parrying an Owen Fraser drive from right of centre in the second half. Owen Fraser had a good game for Newtonmore, constantly driving the side forward from his full centre position.
The win means that, after a titanic battle, the Newtonmore second team pip Glengarry, who put up a fantastic challenge, to take the league title by just three goals. After the match, the splendid Mowi North Division 1 trophy was presented to Newtonmore captain Craig Macleod by Camanachd Association president Keith Loades.
The outcome also means Mowi South 1 winners Aberdour will step up to the Mowi National Division next season as the Newtonmore colts are not eligible to take part in the play-off match.
Oban Camanachd youths win
Oban Camanachd 4
Strachurmore shinty field was the setting for the South Under 14 league play-off between Oban Camanachd and Bute Shinty Club on Sunday November 17.
The standard of play and excitement in the game made it well worth it for the spectators on a cold but bright wintery day.
Within five minutes Oban opened the scoring through Innes Jackson, but before everyone could catch their breath Rory MacDonald levelled for Bute. The game started at a fast pace and it was Ewan Campbell who then put Oban ahead in the tenth minute, then again on the 21st minute.
Oban had made the better of their chances as both keepers had to produce stops to keep the teams in touch.
Oban went in ahead by the same score line at half-time.
Within five minutes of the second half, Bute’s Ronnie McMillan had them within one goal.
The game was keenly contested by both teams with some intriguing battles on the pitch, in particular between Cammy McMillan and Logan Black in the centre.
Although both teams kept playing with attacking intent, it was Bute who got themselves level through Rory MacDonald with five minutes to go. It appeared they were the team that would go onto win it, however, as so often happens Oban scored almost immediately after through Louis MacFarlane.
This was how the scoring ended and it was Oban who won back the South U14 league trophy.
Both clubs should be extremely proud of the players and the game they served up to the far journied parents and spectators and will now look forward to a rest over the winter.
Thanks go to the Strachurmore playing field volunteers who made the pitch available for the game.
London Shield Final preview
Skye Camanachd U17 and Newtonmore U17 will meet in the London Shield Final at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree, on Saturday November 23.
With no neutral pitches available, the venue was decided by the toss of a coin.
The sides met at Castle Leod in the MacTavish Juvenile Cup semi-finals when Newtonmore won 4-2 after extra time.
Taylor Matheson scored both Skye goals but Aaron MacBean, Declan Brannan, Struan Ross and Xander Ross gave Newtonmore the victory.
Skye are the current London Shield holders having beaten their Fort William counterparts 2-1 in last year’s final.
This year’s final throws-up at 1.30pm and Calum Girvan is the match referee for what is sure to be an entertaining encounter.
Garry Reid reflects on another triumph
Scotland head coach Garry Reid took time to reflect on another international success following his squad’s emphatic 26-4 victory over Ireland at the GAA National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin.
As he swapped Dublin for a work-related trip to Stornoway, a satisfied Garry Reid said: ‘What pleased me most is that we really put on a performance. Although we won last year, I didn’t feel we played as well as we could but this year was first class.
‘Our 20 metre passing was excellent this year and we put some great moves together. We spoke before the match about showing composure and making ourselves available and Steven Macdonald typified that. He constantly put his body on the ball during the game. He also put in a fantastic effort to get himself fit for the game, especially as he hadn’t played since the Camanachd Cup Final.’
The match was played at the €12 million GAA National Games Development Centre, a venue shinty can only dream of.
Garry said: ‘The pitch was in brilliant condition with the ball just skidding off the surface. It really suited us, although the rain and the cold made it difficult for both sides. The boys were struggling to hold their sticks at times and they were holding them under the driers at half-time to dry them out.’
There was much post-match discussion surrounding Ireland’s disappointing decision not to select any top tier players but it’s not something Garry dwells too much on.
‘All we can do is beat the side that was put before us,’ he said. ‘Ireland were decent for the first 10 to 15 minutes but we bossed the game after that and they lost heart. You could see the difference the two exceptional players made for Ireland’s U21s but we didn’t give Ireland any time and won the game with a bit to spare. I’ve never seen such a comprehensive win in this fixture.
‘I thought our half back line was terrific with Finlay MacRae showing all his experience and Blair Morrison showing great strength.’
There was also a special mention for Daniel Cameron and Andrew MacCuish.
‘The Oban pair were great. They did exactly what we asked of them. Daniel got the scoring started. His job was to win the ball and get it to the forwards and he did that so well.
‘Papa [Andrew MacCuish] gave us a different dimension. He came on and scored again. The shinty/hurling fixture really suits his style of play. This fixture is about all 20 players and it was so important to be able to bring on players of the quality of Papa and Savio [Genini] to give the likes of Roddy MacDonald and Kevin Bartlett a break.’
Lovat keeper Stuart MacDonald captained the Scots for the first time.
‘Stuart has been involved for eight years and brings consistency. He goes about his business professionally and he’s one of three or four leaders within the squad. Sometimes keepers get overlooked when it comes to being selected as skipper, but Stuart deserved it.
‘The boys were very kind afterwards and said we’d created a club spirit within the group. That’s not easy over just six weeks.’
In terms of the fixture itself, Garry said: ‘It’s healthy to review the rules every year and look at what has worked well and what hasn’t from the perspective of the game but also from the perspective of the spectacle. We don’t really do that. For example, should we allow ‘kicks’ to let the game flow? It’s a two-point opportunity for us if an Irish player kicks the ball and that’s a big advantage.’
Having being involved with the Scotland U17s for a number of years, Garry Reid went on to assist Ronald Ross to Scotland U21 victory before winning one and losing one as U21 boss in his own right after Ronald moved up to the senior side. He has followed that up with two wins in his two senior internationals. So what happens next?
‘I’m undecided. I’ll take time to think about it along with Kenny [Ross] and Robert [Geddes)] who have been great throughout as has our physio Alison Thompson.
‘There are other factors too. I’d like to hear what the Camanachd Association and the GAA want from the fixture in the future. It could well be a last season in charge for the Irish for co-managers Maher and Conor Phelan so it will be interesting to see what approach the Irish take after that.
‘At the moment, we don’t even know where next year’s game will take place. It would also be good to hear what the fixture means to the Scots. Are we proud of it?
‘In Scotland, we have a great pathway to the senior shinty / hurling fixture with the U17s, who have a tremendous trip to Ireland each year, and the U21s, who are always given a stiff test, so the players all have experience by the time they get to the seniors. However, in comparison, only eight of their 20 hurlers had played shinty/hurling before.
‘I’m also a great believer that if a player has a good shinty season then he should have the opportunity to play for Scotland. Craig Morrison is a great example. He had a good case for being involved last year and was disappointed when I left him out. However he never took the huff and what a season he has had this year. He’s national player of the year and with two goals on his debut, he certainly proved his worth.’
Garry Reid has also proved his worth in this cross-codes game but it remains to be seen if the fixture itself can continue to demonstrate its worth as a key part of the shinty calendar.
Hear from Scotland U21 Boss Alan MacRae in next week’s Oban Times.
2020 Artemis Macaulay Cup draw
Now that the 2019 shinty season is coming to a close, we know which teams will participate in the 2020 Artemis Macaulay Cup competition and they won’t have to wait too long to find out their opponents.
The 2020 Artemis Macaulay Cup draw will be made live on Oban FM’s Sports Show on Saturday November 30. The South and North sections will be drawn up to the semi-final stage. The Sports Show programme starts at 6pm.
The Macaulay Cup, first presented in 1947 by then Oban Times editor Flora Macaulay, is the only cup format in senior shinty to be played on a regional basis so guaranteeing a final between a south and north side.
Eligibility is mainly based on the previous year’s league placing and there is just one change from the south teams who competed last season as Ballachulish return to the competition after a year out, replacing Col Glen.
There are three south teams from last season’s Mowi Premiership – Kyles Athletic, Inveraray and Oban Camanachd – as well as Bute, Glasgow Mid Argyll and Oban Celtic from the Mowi National Division. Mowi South 1 champions Aberdour and runners-up Ballachulish make up the group.
There is also just one change in the north half of the draw with Mowi National Division champions Fort William replacing Skye Camanachd.
The north will be represented by Caberfeidh, Fort William, Kilmallie, Kingussie, Kinlochshiel, Lochaber, Lovat and Newtonmore.
The Artemis Macaulay Cup Final at Mossfield is usually televised live. Kingussie are the current holders, having beaten Oban Camanachd 3-2 in last season’s final.
Matheson and MacRae take over at Lovat
Mowi National Premiership side Lovat have announced Jamie Matheson and Alan MacRae will be their co-managers for the 2020 season.
Jamie Matheson managed the Lovat second team to a fourth place finish in Mowi North Division 1 last season following their promotion from North 2 the previous season.
Alan MacRae is the current Scotland U21 head coach and has previous managerial experience with the Kingussie and Lovat second teams and the Lovat and Beauly senior sides. Jamie Matheson is replaced as Lovat second team manager by Raymond Rennie who will be assisted by James Gallacher.
Rennie is the Lovat second team’s top scorer and he will continue playing, whilst James Gallacher remains in charge of the Lovat Ladies team who won WCA Mowi North 2 this season.
Lovat thank former boss Fraser Gallacher for his work in charge of the Lovat first team and James White and Jamie Matheson for their roles with the second team.
Young Coach of the Year
Lochaber Ladies player Kirsty Delaney has been named Highlife Highland young coach of the year.
This is a well-deserved award for the work Kirsty puts in, not just with shinty but also with other sports including football, gymnastics and multisport.
Ballachulish, who finished second in Mowi South Division 1 this year, held their annual prizegiving on Friday November 15.
The Ballachulish player of the season award was won by Ally Banks.
Referees at Ballachulish’s games this season were asked to pick their player of the game and this prize was won by Jack Dignan.
Dougie Rankin and Lorne Brown were the club’s joint top scorers and U18 player of the season accolade went to David Wilson.
‘Glen’ look to boost managerial team
Following their annual general meeting, Glenurquhart have confirmed Eddie Tembo and Stuart MacKintosh will continue as first team player/managers for next season.
The Mowi National Division side are looking to introduce a third co-manager to have a lead role during matches.Anyone interested should contact Glenurquhart chairman Garry MacKintosh at Power@hisltd.co.uk
New pitch support group formed
The Camanachd Association hopes to build on a successful Mowi Camanachd Association conference and awards event by forming a facilities and pitch support group.
The facilities and ground maintenance workshop at the shinty surviving and thriving conference, led by Iain Hay, Fraser Inglis and Michael Clark, and Sarah Robertson from sportscotland, proved popular and the new group will share information and experiences whilst also collaborating on working practices and resource pooling.
They may also explore specific topics to help solve some of the issues that plague many grounds throughout the country. To give everyone the chance to be part of this group, as well as for communications to be correctly circulated, the Camanachd Association will generate a database detailing those who lead on facilities and pitch maintenance within each club.
To help organise this initiative, a steering group is also being formed and anyone interested should contact National Development Manager Graham Cormack at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Camanachd Association on 01463 715931.
Venue confirmed for Oban Camanachd AGM
Oban Camanachd’s annual general meeting will take place at the Rockfield School Huts on Wednesday December 4 at 6.30pm.
After such a successful season, the club hopes to increase the number of people on their committee.
Some key positions need to be filled, including the Lochside Rovers management role.