Shinty round up – Saturday October 2

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Skye Camanachd won the Alvance British Aluminium Balliemore Cup and Kinlochshiel reached the MacTavish Cup Final following the shinty action on Saturday October 2.

Alvance British Aluminium Balliemore Cup Final

Skye Camanachd 3 Beauly 1

Skye Camanachd lifted the Alvance British Aluminium Balliemore Cup for the third time following their 3-1 victory over Beauly at a wet An Aird, Fort William.

John Gillies returned for Skye after missing recent games with concussion. Boss Kenny MacLeod gave Iain MacLellan a vote of confidence at wing centre, with Sam Macphee dropping onto the bench.

Beauly co-managers Gregor McCormick and Niall MacLennan had a full squad to choose from and the return of former players David MacLean from Newtonmore and Ross Forbes and Ryan MacKay from Caberfeidh have boosted their options this season.

A good-sized crowd gathered for what was widely tipped to be a close encounter and, ahead of throw-up, the players were introduced to Jane MacDonald from sponsors Alvance, Camanachd Association Chieftain John MacKenzie, president Steven MacKenzie and director John Finlayson.

The rain eased ahead of throw-up and the An Aird pitch was in great condition, although the surface was on the greasy side.

The final was played at a good pace from the outset with Beauly forcing a couple of early corners whilst, at the other end, MacKay Murray saved to foil Ross Gordon.

Beauly took the lead on nine minutes with a goal from David MacLean’s set-piece on the left. MacLean sent the ball across the face of the goal where Ross Forbes ran to the right, losing his marker, and his sweet strike went by Skye keeper Ryan Morrison’s left knee at his post.

Skye switched John Gillies to buckshee back, picking up Euan McCormick, with William MacKinnon going to full back to mark David MacLean.

Ross Gordon’s shot from nothing forced a good MacKay Murray save at the expense of a corner as Skye responded to going behind.

Skye suffered a blow after 13 minutes when veteran Somhairle MacDonald had to limp off with a hamstring problem. He was replaced by the islander’s Under 17 skipper Taylor Matheson.

Ross Gordon pulled the ball out of the air but sent his strike wide of the keeper’s left post whilst, after good play from Robbie Brindle, Euan McCormick’s low, hard strike was well-saved with his feet by Ryan Morrison.

Skye drew level on 16 minutes. John Gillies sent the ball forward to Ross Gordon who took a touch before launching the ball down the Skye left. Angus Renwick looked to clear but James Pringle nipped in to win possession and cut in on goal before tucking the ball low by the keeper from point-blank range to make it 1-1.

Beauly’s then had to make an enforced change with David MacLean replaced by Jack MacDonald.

This was an action-packed phase in the final with Skye taking the lead on 19 minutes. John Gillies cleared the ball down the Skye right. Beauly’s Colin MacDonald looked to clear but was closed down by Jordan Murchison and the ball broke to Ross Gordon who quickly found James Pringle who sent a glorious 25-yard drive into the roof of the net.

Beauly fought back and Robbie Brindle hit the side-netting before Ross Forbes saw his shot saved with his feet by Ryan Morrison and, as the ball bounced up, the Skye keeper palmed it away for a corner.

Beauly re-introduced David MacLean for Jack MacDonald with seven first half minutes remaining, whilst Sam Macphee took over from Iain MacLellan in the islanders’ midfield three minutes later.

Skye’s James Morrison was booked by referee Alex MacVicar for bringing down Ross Forbes on 43 minutes as Beauly finished the half strongly.

Robbie Brindle went close to a leveller with his backhand strike going wide of Ryan’s Morrison’s left post and with the final moving into first half stoppage time, Beauly forced a corner which was taken by Conor Ross but, not for the first time in the final, Skye defended well to take a 2-1 lead into the break.

There was a bizarre moment just after the re-start as referee Alex MacVicar took an accidental blow to the leg with Skye medic Helen Gilpin administering treatment to a cut below the knee.

Ryan Morrison saved with his hand as Euan McCormick had the first effort on goal of the second half.

Skye took Iain MacLellan back on for Sam Macphee on 64 minutes, with Taylor Matheson sending a crisp strike just over the bar following a flowing Skye move moments after.

Martin MacDonald put in a good challenge to thwart Jordan Murchison following good lead-up play from William MacKinnon and Iain MacLellan.

Jack MacDonald, back on for Beauly, sent a shot high and wide as the rain came down once more.

Sam Macphee re-appeared, this time for Ally ‘Cleodi’ MacLeod, as both sides continued to make use of the rolling substitutes.

Ryan MacKay and Sam Macphee were spoken to by the referee after a flair-up as the final reached a crucial stage.

David MacLean needed treatment after colliding with one of his teammates, but was able to continue.

With the rain now teeming down again, Taylor Matheson turned and fired wide of the keeper’s left post as the final moved into the closing stages.

Skye were enjoying a good spell and clinched victory with a couple of minutes remaining. James Pringle’s corner from the right went out to the far side where Taylor Matheson touched a clever ball inside, picking out Sam Macphee’s run. And his superb shot on the run went low into the corner of the goal, beating the keeper on his right side to make it 3-1.

Beauly’s Sean Stewart and Skye’s Jamie Gillies made late appearances from the bench.

Ross Gordon hit the side-netting following a stoppage time corner with what was the last chance of the game but it didn’t matter as Skye took the Balliemore Cup across the bridge for the third time.

Skye captain Jordan Murchison stepped forward to raise the Alvance British Aluminium Balliemore Cup in front of a delighted but soaked Skye support.

Skye manager Kenny MacLeod said: ‘I thought the team were excellent to a man. We absorbed a lot of pressure but defensively we are a good side and we are at our best when we stretch teams and we won the game on the break.

‘This could definitely be a springboard for the boys. They could go on and defend the Balliemore next year and get into the Premier League and then be in the mix for major honours.’ MacTavish Cup – semi-final

Caberfeidh 1 Kinlochshiel 2

Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup winners Kinlochshiel reached the MacTavish Cup Final, defeating Caberfeidh 2-1 at Castle Leod.

Caberfeidh’s Connor MacGregor was suspended whilst Kinlochshiel were missing Conor Cormack and Jordan Fraser. Ali Nixon, who has been troubled by a hamstring problem, was an unused substitute.

Kinlochshiel’s John MacRae played the match at half forward and capitalised on a poor clearance out of the home defence on 28 minutes, hitting a 20-yard shot on the angle into the net.

John MacRae got his and Kinlochshiel’s second four minutes into the second half. The goal came following a corner which Blair Morrison tried to clear. MacRae stole in, taking a touch before finishing with a half swing.

Kinlochshiel lost Duncan Matheson and Duncan ‘WD’ MacRae through injury for the final quarter of the match and Caberfeidh put the west coasters under a lot of pressure towards the end of the contest.

Kevin Bartlett pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining but it wasn’t enough so Kinlochshiel are through to the MacTavish Cup Final – a trophy they have never won – where they will play Fort William or Kingussie with their semi-final scheduled for An Aird this Saturday.

Mowi Senior League A

Kilmallie 3 Lochaber 2

Kilmallie had to work hard to finally see off Lochaber 3-2 in their 3pm throw-up at Canal Parks.

Kilmallie boss Martin Stewart kept faith with the side which won on Skye the previous week. Shane Gillies, Lewis Birrell, Andrew Mcalister and Craig MacIsaac all returned to take a place on a strong bench, with defender Stephen Mcalister coming in for Under 14 player Shaun O’Rua the only change. This allowed Michael Rodger to play up front and that switch made immediate dividends when Rodger slotted the ball home to open the scoring on seven minutes.

Ben Delaney found space to level on 15 minutes, before a good finish from Conor Sweeny put Lochaber in front on 56 minutes.

There was a flashpoint on 64 minutes as Stuart Callison went through on goal with Barry MacDonald challenging. Referee Willie MacDonald blew for a Kilmallie free-hit but the players had late swings at each other and were both sent off, with Lochaber keeper Callum MacDonald booked.

With the sides now playing 11 versus 11, there was more space and Michael Rodger took advantage to make it 2-2 on 71 minutes.

Then, with six minutes remaining, Daniel Stewart’s ball forward found Michael Rodger around the penalty spot and he passed the ball home to complete his hat-trick and win the game.

The sides also contested the BSW Cup, meaning Kilmallie skipper Robbie MacFadyen lifted a trophy for the second successive Saturday having taken the Thomas Ferguson memorial Cup in Portree the previous Saturday.

Kilmallie boss Martin Stewart said: ‘It was a fair battle, a good clean game and a really good local derby. It got very wet during the last 30 minutes which made it difficult for the players.

‘Michael [Rodger] made a great contribution. He almost makes the game stand still as he always seems to have so much time on the ball. His goals were all expertly taken. He more or less passed the ball into the net each time.’

Mowi Senior League B

Strathglass 0 Kingussie 7

Kingussie were too strong for Strathglass, winning 7-0 in their noon throw-up at Cannich.

Strathglass were without suspended skipper Josh Fraser as well as Innes Hood, Ruairidh Strachan, Neil Hope and Scott Douglas.

Savio Genini returned for Kingussie but they were without Calum Grant, Fraser Munro and Ryan Borthwick, whilst Lee Bain was with the second team. Keeper Rory MacGregor was a late-call off, so Dylan Borthwick replaced him in goals although Liam Borthwick took over after half an hour.

A turn and shot from Roddy Young on three minutes got Kingussie off to a great start whilst James Falconer burst forward from wing centre to add a second five minutes later, netting following a Barrie Dallas corner.

Savio Genini sent a backhand strike high into the net to add a third on 10 minutes, whilst Ruairidh Anderson ran onto James Hutchison’s ball forward to make it 4-0 on 17 minutes.

Roddy Young got his second a couple of minutes after the re-start, scoring at the back post, whilst Barrie Dallas on 68 minutes and Dylan Borthwick on 82 minutes rounded off the win.

Newtonmore P Lovat P

The clash between Newtonmore and Lovat at the Eilan was postponed as Lovat were unable to raise a team.

Mowi Senior League C

Oban Camanachd P Oban Celtic P

The Oban derby between Oban Camanachd and Oban Celtic at Mossfield was called off 24 hours ahead of throw-up due to covid restrictions.

Oban Camanachd play Kyles Athletic in the Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final at Taynuilt Sports Field this Saturday.

Oban Celtic were due to host Aberdour in the league but Aberdour are unable to field a team.

Kyles Athletic P Inveraray P

Kyles Athletic’s meeting with Inveraray at the Playing Fields, Tighnabruaich, was postponed as the visitors were unable to field a team.

Strathdearn Cup – semi-final

Lovat 2 Kingussie 0

The Lovat seconds are through to the Strathdearn Cup Final, scoring twice in the second half to beat the Kingussie seconds 2-0 at Balgate.

Lovat hit the front on 62 minutes. Iain Nicolson collected a goal hit in the half forward position and played the ball wide to Jamie Matheson who ran out before cutting the ball back across goal finding Fraser Gallacher at the back post who tapped the ball past keeper Craig Dawson.

Iain Nicolson clinched the final spot with a couple of minutes remaining. A good defensive clearance found Jamie Matheson on the left, near the centre line. Iain Nicolson ran in behind the defence, allowing Matheson to play a ball over the top. Nicolson took the ball down and took a touch to the right, past the keeper who was rushing off his line and found the net from a tight angle, sending the ball into the top corner of the net.

Lovat now face their Newtonmore counterparts in the final this Saturday. The final venue was decided by the toss of a coin with Lovat winning home advantage.

Bullough Cup – semi-final

Lochside Rovers P Oban Celtic P

The Bullough Cup semi-final between Lochside Rovers and the Oban Celtic second team at Ganavan has been rescheduled because of covid restrictions.

The tie is now due to take place on Saturday October 16, with the winners playing the Kyles Athletic second team in the final.

Mowi North League A

Kinlochshiel P Lochcarron P

The west coast derby between the Kinlochshiel reserves and Lochcarron at Rèaraig was postponed as Lochcarron were unable to field a team.

Mowi North League B

Newtonmore P Caberfeidh P

The noon throw-up between the Newtonmore seconds and the Caberfeidh seconds at the Eilan was postponed as Caberfeidh couldn’t raise a team.

Mowi North League C

Inverness 8 Lewis Camanachd 0

The Inverness colts were comfortable 8-0 winners against Lewis Camanachd in their 12.30pm throw-up at the Bught Park.

Steven Bellshaw scored on 24 and 42 minutes, either side of Ruaraidh Hughes’ 34 minute strike which saw the hosts 3-0 ahead at the break.

Steven Bellshaw completed his hat-trick a minute into the second half and added his fourth a couple of minutes later.

Skye MacIntosh made it 6-0 on the hour, with Euan Campbell adding two more on 68 and 85 minutes to make the final score 8-0.

Strathspey Camanachd P Strathglass P

The Strathglass second team were unable to raise a team for their encounter with Strathspey Camanachd at Grantown Grammar School.

Mowi South League A

Col Glen 2 Bute 0

Col Glen scored a goal in each half to beat Bute 2-0 at Glendaruel.

Andrew MacVicar got the opener on 25 minutes with Christopher Blair adding a second on 65 minutes.

The sides also competed for this year’s Carmichael Cup.

Ballachulish P Taynuilt P

Taynuilt were unable to raise a team for their clash with Ballachulish at Jubilee Park.

Mowi South League B

Bute P Aberdour P

The Aberdour colts were unable to raise a team for their 2pm throw-up against the Bute colts at the Meadows.

Kyles Athletic P Tayforth P

The noon start between the Kyles Athletic second team and Tayforth at the Playing Fields, Tighnabruaich, was postponed as Tayforth were unable to raise a team.

Mowi Central League

Kilmallie P Ardnamurchan P

The noon throw-up between the Kilmallie reserves and Ardnamurchan at the Canal Parks was postponed because of covid restrictions.

Glenorchy P Kilmory P

Kilmory were unable to field a team for their trip to Mart Park to play Glenorchy.

Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final – preview

Kyles Athletic and Oban Camanachd meet in the 116th Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final at Taynuilt Sports Field on Saturday October 9.

This knock-out competition is open to all south senior sides playing in shinty’s top three tiers and Glasgow Cowal were inaugural winners in 1879.

Current holders Oban Camanachd are looking to record what would be their 21st Glasgow Celtic Society success.

Oban Camanachd manager Stephen Sloss is without the injured Craig Easton, but his squad has been boosted by Andrew MacCuish’s scoring return against Inveraray a fortnight ago. MacCuish has a good recent record against Kyles.

Oban Camanachd have been in convincing form in this competition this season, first beating Ballachulish 10-0, then Inveraray 4-0 to reach the final.

Kyles Athletic have lifted the famous trophy a record 34 times, with their last triumph in 2017.

Kyles Athletic manager Robert Baxter has injury concerns over Thomas White, Scott MacDonald and George Thomson. Robbie MacLeod plays after missing last year’s final through suspension.

On their way to the final, Kyles accounted for Aberdour 8-0 and Glasgow Mid Argyll 5-0.

The sides have met only once this season, when Robbie MacLeod’s goal gave Kyles a 1-0 victory in the Artemis Macaulay Cup semi-finals at the end of July.

Iain Kennedy from Fort William is the match referee and will receive the Jack Asher Memorial Whistle which was first presented in 2016. Jack Asher was a director of the Glasgow Celtic Society for 50 years and refereed the final on three occasions.

The Donald J MacNiven Memorial Medal will be awarded to the man of the match. Kyles Athletic’s Dunky Kerr was the 2017 recipient, Oban Camanachd’s Daniel Sloss was given the accolade in 2018 and Scott MacMillan took the honour a year later.

The Glasgow Celtic Society will again honour the winning team from 50 years ago when Glasgow Mid Argyll lifted the trophy, beating Inveraray 8-4 after extra-time in the 1971 final. They will also recognise the Kyles Athletic team who beat Strachur 3-1 in the 1970 final. They would normally have attended last year’s event, but the final didn’t take place due to covid. All the surviving veterans from both sides who are able to make the final will be introduced to the crowd.

Throw-up in Taynuilt is at 2pm and admission, including a match programme, is £10 for adults, £5 concessions whilst under 16s go free. It is pay at the gate and parking is free.

The South Under 14 Development Final takes place in the morning.

End of shinty season in sight

The Camanachd Association Board of Directors has confirmed the 2021 shinty season will end on Saturday October 30.

It is hoped all senior cup competitions will be completed by then and Mowi League matches will continue to be scheduled until the end of the month.

The primary aim for this covid-interrupted season was to complete all league and cup fixtures and the Camanachd Association said it was testament to the efforts of all clubs and associations that so many matches have been played despite the continuing disruption arising from the pandemic.

Many clubs prioritised cup ties, whilst using league games to introduce new players and build up their squads for the 2022 season.

The remaining cup finals are presently scheduled as follows:

Saturday October 9 – Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final – Kyles Athletic v Oban Camanachd at Mossfield.

Saturday October 9 – Strathdearn Cup Final – Lovat v Newtonmore at Balgate.

Saturday October 16 – HIS Sutherland Cup Final – Lovat v Newtonmore at Blairbeg.

Saturday October 23 – MacTavish Cup Final – Kinlochshiel v Fort William/Kingussie at Bught Park.

Bullough Cup Final – Kyles Athletic v Lochside Rovers/Oban Celtic – date and venue to be confirmed.

The Camanachd Association praised clubs and communities for creating a sporting sense of normality for their participants and members as well as the many supporters who have enjoyed the game’s return. They also acknowledged the incredible efforts of the many organisers within clubs in trying to fulfil the fixture list and keep shinty going throughout this period.

The October cut-off allows all clubs and their volunteers an appropriate off-season to recover and regroup after such a busy time ahead of preparations for the 2022 shinty season.

Clubs have been encouraged to continue to play scheduled matches as far as possible. League tables will continue to be kept up-to-date with league winners recognised where possible. It is also accepted that not all leagues will be played to a conclusion due to the current circumstances and the short number of weeks still available.

Sponsors have been crucial throughout this period with MOWI’s unwavering support particularly important as shinty was re-started in 2021.