Kilmallie hit Caberfeidh for six in convincing Balliemore Cup win
Balliemore Cup final
Kilmallie 6 Caberfeidh 0
KILMALLIE won the 2016 Balliemore Cup with a 6- 0 victory over Caberfeidh in the final at Blairbeg.
The Balliemore Cup was first played for as an intermediate championship in 1985 and Kilmallie had won it on two previous occasions – 1992 and 1993. Kilmallie’s last appearance in the final was in 2008 when they lost 3-1 to Skye Camanachd at Braeview Park.
Mark MacPherson’s side had only previously lost twice this season; both against Marine Harvest Premier Division sides – Skye Camanachd and Oban Camanachd – and both times by the odd goal in seven. They were also in great goal-scoring form going into the final, netting 26 goals in their last six matches.
Caberfeidh boss Lee Nicol knew that victory would make his side record Balliemore Cup winners; they were currently level with Bute at five victories apiece. The Caberfeidh triumphs came in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000. They made the final in 2011 when they lost 2-1 to Bute at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree. Cabers only trailed Kilmallie by a point in the Marine Harvest National Division.
Kilmallie and Caberfeidh had met twice before in the Balliemore Cup Final – in 1995 and 1997 – with Cabers winning on both occasions but this was to be Kilmallie’s day. Both teams took bus-loads of supporters to this year’s final.
Kilmallie’s Innes Blackhall was free to play but he will miss his team’s next match against Bute in the league as his booking against Oban Camanachd a week earlier takes him through the disciplinary points threshold. Bryan MacKay, who played his part in the run to the cup final, missed out as he was abroad.
Caberfeidh had a familiar-looking line-up, although they had to do without Ally MacLennan and Paddy Wilson.
Cabers made a bright start to the final and a Craig Morrison drive rose just the wrong side of Shane Gillies’ post early in the match.
It was Kilmallie who took the lead after five minutes. Cabers’ keeper Ewan Pilcher saved a Duncan Rodger shot and Mark Graham held off his marker to force the rebound home from inside the ‘D’.
Two goals late in the first half put Kilmallie in control. Michael Rodger made it 2- 0 on 42 minutes with a rocket-shot from 25 yards into the top corner of the net. A minute before the break, Mark Graham lofted the ball goalwards from the middle of the park and scored to make it 3- 0 at the break.
Kilmallie went on to dominate after the re-start and a Liam MacDonald hat-trick early in the second half put them out of sight. First, the Scotland forward crashed the ball high into the net from just past the penalty spot to make it 4- 0 on 50 minutes. Then, a minute later, MacDonald netted from just outside the ‘D’ before sending the ball home from close-in on the hour to make it 6- 0.
Caberfeidh never gave up, but they did have to thank goalie Ewan Pilcher for a number of good saves during the game.
Kilmallie emerged deserved winners and their captain Martin Stewart was presented with the trophy by Camanachd Association Chieftain Jock Turner, with president Jim Barr also in attendance.
Martin MacLean was the match referee.
Kilmallie manager Mark MacPherson was still on a high the day after the final.
He said: ‘I just can’t say how happy I am sitting here looking at the trophy.
‘However, this isn’t about me. This win is dedicated to everyone at the club: the board which runs the club, the supporters and all the great players we’ve had in the past who never got to experience an occasion like this. For example, our secretary Linda Campbell puts in a power of work at the club and there are others, too, behind the scenes.
‘I only have to pick up the phone and I get support from them all. We’re all working together for the benefit of the club and that’s the way it should be.
‘This victory has been a long time coming as we last won the Balliemore Cup in 1993. We want to use this win to help us get into the premiership and I have an eye on this Saturday’s league game against Bute already.
‘It’s really competitive in the National Division with five teams going for two promotion places.’
The Kilmallie squad made an emotional tribute to president and sponsor Ewen Bowman who passed away at the start of the season.
MacPherson said: ‘The players arranged to have the Ewen Bowman company logo emblazoned on the back of the team shirts.
‘It was a mark of respect to someone who was a hugely important figure at our club and the logo will be displayed on all Kilmallie tops from now on.’
The victorious Kilmallie team.
First of his hat-trick – Kilmallie’s Liam Macdonald turns away from a despairing Blair Morrison of Caberfeidh.
Kilmallie’s Mark Graham gets to the ball ahead of Cabers’ keeper Ewan Pilcher to score the first goal of the game.
Kilmallie captain Martin Stewart with the Balliemore Cup.