Last gasp goal wins London Shield for Oban Camanachd under 17s
WITH the 2016 shinty season drawing to a close, Oban Camanachd U17 came out on top as Scotland’s top two youth sides met to contest the Marine Harvest London Shield in Newtonmore.
2016 London Shield Final Skye Camanachd U17 2 Oban Camanachd U17 3
A last-gasp Daniel MacVicar goal gave Oban Camanachd U17 a dramatic 3-2 victory over Skye Camanachd U17 to win the Marine Harvest London Shield at the Eilan on Saturday November 5.
Wet weather in Badenoch the previous day forced an 8am Saturday morning pitch inspection.
However, with Lovat’s Balgate ground on standby, the Eilan was ruled playable so both sets of squads and supporters made their way to youth shinty’s national showpiece.
Both teams went into the final after winning their respective area trophies – Skye the MacTavish Juvenile Cup and Oban Camanachd the MacQuiston Cup.
Skye reached the final after finishing runners-up to Beauly in the North League section. They went on to defeat Fort William in the semi-final.
Oban Camanachd’s route to the final saw them finish second to Fort William in the South League. They beat Beauly in their semi-final at Canal Parks a week earlier.
Skye Camanachd youth coach Davie Pringle was without the injured Angus MacDonald, who had a broken thumb, although MacDonald travelled with the squad. They had Scotland U21 player John Gillies in their side, as well as fellow firstteam player James Pringle.
Oban Camanachd youth coaches David MacCuish, Scott Buchanan and George Easton had a full squad to choose from and they also had a Scotland U21 cap in their ranks as Daniel MacVicar started up front.
There was also a place for firstteam squad player Ross MacMillan, while Lewis Buchanan had already proved to be a goal threat in this competition.
It was a perishing day in Newtonmore and Oban Camanachd played with a strong wind in their favour in the first half.
Oban Camanachd took the lead on 10 minutes when Lewis Buchanan got onto the ball on the edge of the ‘D’ and sent a strike on his left side into the top corner of the net to make it 1- 0.
Ruaraidh MacLeod drew Skye level on 17 minutes. The ball was played through to the edge of the ‘D’ where MacLeod gathered possession and finished well on his back-hand, sending the ball past on-rushing keeper Brian Logan to make it 1-1.
The Oban side went back in front on 22 minutes when Daniel MacCuish won possession and ran down the left wing down before tucking a low shot past Skye keeper Murphy Henderson to make it 2-1.
With just seconds of the first 40 minutes remaining, Skye drew level for a second time. Great work from Ross Gordon set up a chance for Ruaraidh MacLeod and, from 15 yards out, he fired the ball into the top corner of the net, giving the keeper no chance, to make it 2-2 at the interval.
Oban Camanachd had perhaps edged a fairly even first half, but Skye now had the elements in their favour.
Oban Camanachd made a change at the break, introducing Daniel Sloss, who still plays with their U14s.
Skye started the second period well with forward Ross Gordon seeing a shot saved by Brian Logan. At the other end, Daniel MacVicar, who was policed throughout by John Gillies, had a couple of chances to put his side in front for a third time but was unable to take them.
Indeed, MacVicar was given a chance from the penalty spot midway through the second half when referee Deek Cameron penalised Skye goalie Murphy Henderson for a kick inside the ‘D’ but the Oban full forward sent the spot-hit wide.
The next goal was going to be crucial and Oban keeper Brian Logan made a magnificent save with 10 minutes remaining, tipping a Stewart Taylor shot over the bar to keep his team on level terms.
With extra time looming, and just seconds of the regulation 80 minutes remaining, Oban Camanachd conjured up a dramatic winner.
Daniel MacVicar took the ball in a central position and, from just behind penalty spot, his looping effort dropped into the top corner of the net to spark the Oban celebrations with barely enough time to restart the game.
It just wasn’t Skye’s day and, following a bruising encounter, defender James Morrison and forward Ruairidh MacLeod required hospital visits for hand injuries with Morrison later confirmed to have suffered a hairline fracture. Calum Robertson was also in the wars and needed stitches after taking a blow to the shin.
Oban Camanachd captain Ross MacMillan climbed the steps at the Newtonmore clubhouse to be presented with the London Shield by John Angus Gillies from sponsors Marine Harvest, who is also a Camanachd Association grade one referee.
Reflecting on the win, Oban Camanachd youth coach David MacCuish said: ‘It was a tough end to end game
‘At 2-2, you felt the next goal was going to be the winner and the eventual outcome could have gone either way. It was keenly contested throughout and, in the end, the break of the ball went our way. It’s a shame someone had to lose.’
MacCuish reflected on how often the same Oban and Skye youngsters have faced each other in recent years.
He said: ‘The same boys have been playing against each other for a few years now. They’ve battled it out in a couple of MacMaster cup finals while they were at U14 level and it’s really good to see so many now coming through the ranks at U17 level. Both sets of players were again a credit to the game and to their own clubs during the final on Saturday.’
When asked about his own players, MacCuish said: ‘ We’ve been coaching these young boys for several years now. It’s been a pleasure to work with them. They are at training every week and that’s good to see.’
MacCuish is optimistic about the future. ‘ We want to have a conveyor belt of talent at Oban Camanachd,’ he said.
‘Steven Sloss is doing a great job with the U14s and there are good players coming through from there to the U17s.
‘ We will lose five players at the end of this year as they will be too old for next year’s U17 squad but what we hope for with all the players is that they keep at it and progress to play for Gareth Evans at Lochside and then, hopefully, for the Oban Camanachd first team.
‘ We’ve already seen Daniel MacVicar and Ross MacMillan get their chance in the senior side.
‘Other younger players see that so it’s great encouragement for them all and our first-team manager Iain Hay will give the youngsters a chance if they show they are good enough.
‘ With the first team doing so well in the league and getting to the Camanachd Cup final, things are on the up and it’s all about keeping the momentum going throughout the club.’
Skye Camanachd U17 from: Murphy Henderson, Ross Nicolson, Jamie Gillies, Jack Henderson, Connor Gilpin, Sam MacPhee, John Gillies, Martin Pringle, James Pringle, Mark MacQueen, Ross Gordon, Ruaraidh MacLeod, Stewart Taylor, Calum Robertson, Ryan Macaskill, James Morrison, Angus MacDonald
Oban Camanachd U17 from: Brian Logan, Craig Kirkpatrick, Craig Easton, Ross MacMillan, Lewis MacPhee, Ruaraidh Horne, Euan MacLellan, Scott Robertson, Daniel MacVicar, Craig MacMillan, Daniel MacCuish, Lewis Buchannan, Daniel Sloss, Euan Logan, Cammy MacMillan
Match referee: Deek Cameron.
The victorious Oban Camanachd under 17 team celebrate their London Shield success.
Mark MacQueen, Skye, and Ross MacMillan, Oban.
Oban captain Ross MacMillan receives the London Shield from John Angus Gillies of Marine Harvest.
Oban’s Daniel MacVicar with John Gillies, Skye.