Fort William win Balliemore Cup after penalty shoot-out drama
Summer weather causes a number of postponements
Balliemore Cup Final Caberfeidh 4 Fort William 4
(After extra-time – Fort William won 5- 4 on penalties) Fort William won the Balliemore Cup following a penalty shoot- out win over Caberfeidh after their thrilling Balliemore Cup Final at Blairbeg ended 4- 4 after extra-time.
There was disappointment for Caberfeidh defender Ryan MacKay who missed out as he served the final match of a three-game ban. Defender Ryan Symonds was on holiday.
Fort William suffered a blow as Bryan Simpson was sidelined after picking up a knock in the league win over Beauly the previous weekend. Alexander MacMillan remained out with a hand injury.
Caberfeidh went into the final as five-time Balliemore Cup winners - a record they share with Bute - whilst Fort William were bidding to win the trophy for the first time. Although having spent most recent years in the top flight, they rarely played in the tournament.
It was first blood to Fort William when Jack Fraser scored a great goal after five minutes. Seamus Gall played the ball in from the right and Fraser did well to win possession and control the ball as he ran across the penalty spot and drifted the ball from the left over defender Blair Morrison before it dropped into the net to make it 1- 0.
Caberfeidh had the ball in the net on 17 minutes when Kevin Bartlett did well to keep the ball in play and his cut-back found Craig Morrison who ran in to score. However, goal judge Russell Ross flagged as Martin MacDonald was inside the ‘D’ before the ball so the effort was ruled offside.
There was plenty of endeavour from both sets of players during the first half but the game never really hit the heights. That all changed when referee Andy MacLean got what was to prove to be a thrilling second half under way.
Craig Morrison equalised on 50 minutes when he had time to control a low cross from the right before moving the ball onto his left side and beating keeper Paul MacKay with a swerving shot to make it 1-1.
Caberfeidh took the lead for the first time in the final on 54 minutes and it was captain Craig Morrison again who made the difference. Caberfeidh once more worked the ball out onto their right flank and when Kevin Bartlett drove the ball into the danger-area, Morrison stopped the ball and struck it into the net to make it 2-1.
The final was now flowing from end-to- end and Jack Fraser got his second on 64 minutes to make it 2-2. Caberfeidh had a chance to clear the danger but, when they didn’t, Jack Fraser was quickly in to win the ball and slipped it past the on-rushing Caberfeidh keeper Ewan Pilcher.
Kevin Bartlett finished off a Caberfeidh move on 75 minutes. However, as the players celebrated, referee Andy MacLean brought play back as goal judge Billy MacLeod had flagged for a Fort William ‘kick’ inside the ‘D’ so the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Kevin Bartlett kept his nerve to send his spothit low into the net, beating the keeper on his left side, to put Caberfeidh 3-2 in front.
Fort William fought back though and Lewis Clark made it 3-3 on 82 minutes. A Jack Fraser free-hit asked questions of the Caberfeidh defence and Graham Campbell’s shot was deflected into the path of Lewis Clark on the Fort left. Shepherd’s initial effort was blocked but he calmly steered the rebound low into the net to the delight of the Fort William support.
With no further scoring, referee Andy MacLean, who gave a great display throughout, took the tie into extra-time.
Fort William took the lead for the second time in the match on 93 minutes. Calum Shepherd took a brilliant touch to take a ball forward onto his right side before steadying himself and sending a glorious shot past the keeper to make it 4-3.
With five minutes of extra-time remaining, Craig Morrison made it 4- 4. Morrison’s hat-trick goal came following a Caberfeidh shy on the left and, when Kevin Bartlett found Craig Morrison, he showed good control before blasting the ball past the keeper to level the contest once more.
The full-time whistle signalled a penalty shoot- out and the drama continued.
Caberfeidh’s hat-trick hero Craig Morrison stepped up first and confidently fired the ball home.
Jack Fraser took Fort William’s first penalty and smashed the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
Kevin Bartlett and Arran MacPhee both finished well to make it 2-2.
The defining moment came next when Ally MacLennan’s spot-hit came off Paul MacKay’s right post and rebounded to safety.
As Bobby MacMillan strode forward, he knew he could give his side a vital advantage and he sent the ball high into the net to make it 3-2 in Fort William’s favour.
The standard of penalties was top notch and Caberfeidh’s Blair Morrison and Fort William’s Sean Cruickshank both converted to make it 4-3.
Caberfeidh’s Gavin Mclachlan had to score - and he did - so Fort William full back Mark Grant had the chance to take the trophy to An Aird. Grant barely broke stride as he marched forward, placed the ball on the spot and thumped it into the roof of the net to win the shoot- out by five goals to four.
There were a number of good performances, notably Fort William Mark Grant, who played very well against Kevin Bartlett, and his team mates Sean Cruickshank and Calum Shepherd.
Blair Morrison, a tower of strength at buckshee back, and three-goal Craig Morrison were best for Caberfeidh.
Fort William did enough to deserve the win and the trophy win is an important achievement as Victor Smith and Adam Robertson look to build a squad to take Fort William back into shinty’s top flight.
Fort William captain James Tangney stepped forward to be presented with the Balliemore Cup by Camanachd Association president- elect Keith Loades.
Caberfeidh still have plenty to play for this season and the sides meet again this Saturday, this time in the Marine Harvest National Division at Castle Leod.
Strathdearn Cup - semi finals Skye Camanachd 2 Kingussie 4
A strong first half performance helped the Kingussie colts reach the Strathdearn Cup Final as they beat the Skye Camanachd colts 4-2 at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.
Skye suffered a blow on the morning of the game when experienced defender Allan MacLeod was forced to call off as he was unwell. Connor Gilpin dropped back into defence, with Shockie MacLennan, back after injury, replacing him in the forward line.
Kingussie had John Gibson, Rory Fraser and Kevin Thain providing the experience in what was an otherwise youthful side.
Conditions were difficult in the lead-up to the game with a swirling wind and heavy rain showers. The pitch was playable though and referee Iain Kennedy had no hesitation in calling the game on.
Kingussie were held up in a queue of traffic following a road accident on the mainland so throw-up was delayed by 20 minutes.
Kingussie attacked from the start and took the lead on 21 minutes when James Falconer finished off a fantastic flowing move up the away side’s right wing.
Dylan Borthwick added a second on 30 minutes after Skye goalie Ryan Morrison had made a brilliant save to keep out a Kevin Thain piledriver, parrying the ball above his head with his caman, but Borthwick knocked the rebound home.
When Dylan Borthwick got his second on 35 minutes, after playing a one-two with Kevin Thain, Kingussie had one foot in the final.
There were harsh words in the Skye dressing room at the interval and the islanders made a solid start to the second half.
Ross Gordon went close following a Kenny MacLeod corner on 50 minutes with Skye knowing they needed to score next.
There seemed little danger when Shockie MacLennan ran onto a ball on the left, but his early strike flew into the net to make it 3-1 with 67 minutes on the clock. Kingussie extinguished any home hopes of a Skye comeback when they scored again three minutes later.
Rory Fraser played a free-hit forward into the goal area and Liam Borthwick’s cross from the left picked out Dylan Borthwick who gave Ryan Morrison no chance, scoring from close in, to complete his hat-trick.
Skye pulled another goal back from the penalty spot on 78 minutes. Ross Gordon ran across the Kingussie goal and was bundled to the ground inside the ‘D’. Connor Gilpin, who had by this time been pushed forward into attack, thumped the resultant penalty over Kingussie keeper Robert Shiells’ left shoulder to make it 4-2. Ross Gordon was injured in the challenge and Daniel Morrison came on in his place.
Kingussie deserved the win and, with an Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup Final already in the diary, they now have a second cup final to look forward to.
Glengarry 4 Newtonmore 5
The Newtonmore reserves eventually overcame Glengarry, running out 5- 4 winners in an epic battle at Craigard.
Cameron McNiven, who usually plays in the Newtonmore defence, opened the scoring on three minutes and added a second to make it 2- 0 on 23 minutes.
Glengarry’s Daniel MacLennan made it 2-1 on 25 minutes but when Cameron McNiven completed his hat-trick on 40 minutes and Duncan Gorman made it 4-1 a couple of minutes later, Newtonmore looked to have a comfortable half-time lead.
Glengarry came right back into the tie at the start of the second half and a Nick Dalgety brace on 51 and 54 minutes made it 4-3.
Newtonmore’s Calum Stewart was on target on 65 minutes to stem the fight-back.
Daniel MacLennan got his second on 77 minutes to make it 5- 4 and set up an exciting finish but Newtonmore stayed in front to reach the final.
Newtonmore’s Cameron Binnie was sent off by referee John Wood.
The win means the Newtonmore seconds will now play the Kingussie seconds in the Strathdearn Cup Final on Saturday August 12.
The venue has yet to be decid- ed but, given the final is now a derby between the Kingussie and Newtonmore second teams, the clubs may be tempted to request a toss of the coin to decide who hosts the game, a move sure to attract a large number of local supporters.
Bullough Cup - semi final Kyles Athletic P Strachur P
The Bullough Cup semi-final tie between the Kyles Athletic seconds and Strachur was postponed as an unplayable Tighnabruaich pitch led to a Saturday morning call- off.
The tie has been re-scheduled for this coming Saturday.
The winners will the play the Inveraray seconds in the Bullough Cup Final.
Marine Harvest Premiership Newtonmore 3 Kyles Athletic 1
Newtonmore proved they remain very much in the title race by beating Kyles Athletic at The Eilan for the second successive Saturday.
Newtonmore were 4-1 winners when the sides met in the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup quarter-finals a week earlier and this week’s 3-1 victory was Kyles’ first league defeat of the season.
Paul MacArthur and Drew MacDonald remained out injured for Paul John MacKintosh’s Newtonmore side. Jamie Robinson was fit enough to take up a place on the bench.
Kyles Athletic manager James Perlich was unable to call on injured duo Innes MacDonald and Cammy Keith, whilst Grant Irvine didn’t play either. Roddy MacDonald, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, lined up in a strong defence, allowing Andrew King to go to wing back.
Newtonmore took the lead on 22 minutes. The goal came from a free-hit after the ball was looped over to the back post where Glen MacKintosh found half a yard to poke the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Newtonmore netted a crucial second goal a minute before the interval. Iain Robinson hit a shot following a corner. The ball deflected to Evan Menzies at the back post who sent a shot into the bottom left corner of the net to make it 2- 0.
Kyles gave a much better showing than a week earlier and Sandy MacKenzie pulled the Tighnabruaich men back into it when he made it 2-1 on 60 minutes.
Glen MacKintosh had to go off with a calf problem and he was replaced by Connor Jones.
Newtonmore lost another forward when Evan Menzies was sent off by referee Graham Cameron for two yellow cards.
It was left for Connor Jones to settle the game with a goal a couple of minutes from time when he sent the ball past keeper John Whyte from the left of the ‘D’.
Newtonmore have now come through two tough games against Kyles Athletic and there is now a genuine title race.
The reigning champions seem to have always been missing two or three players each week since the start of the season but they are now nearing full strength and, if they can stay clear of injuries and suspensions, they could peak at exactly the right time.
The big games keep coming for both sides. Newtonmore travel to neutral Braeview Park this Saturday to play Lovat in the Artemis Macaulay Cup semi-finals whilst Kyles Athletic face Oban Camanachd at Mossfield in the last four of same competition.
Oban Camanachd P Kilmallie P
The game between Oban Camanachd and Kilmallie at Mossfield was postponed shortly before throw-up as referee Lachie Wood ruled the heavy pre-match rain had left the pitch water-logged.
The pitch passed a Saturday morning inspection but the wind and rain that followed would have made for farcical playing conditions and, with puddles forming on the pitch, referee Wood was left with no option but to call the game off.
Remarkably, this was to be Oban Camanachd’s first game at Mossfield since Saturday April 8 when they beat Glenurquhart 5- 0. They have played 11 consecutive matches away from their home patch since then.
Oban Camanachd will try again for a home fixture this Saturday when they have an Artemis Macaulay Cup semi-final meeting with Kyles Athletic at Mossfield. Camanachd didn’t do themselves justice when the sides met in the Gregor Cameron Glasgow Celtic Society
Cup Final so they have an early opportunity to put on a better showing. Gary McKerracher, Matt Rippon, who would have missed the Kilmallie clash, will return, as will Marc MacCallum but, with the Kilmallie game postponed,
Garry Lord’s suspension carries forward a week.
Kingussie 5 Lochaber 2
Kingussie stay third in shinty’s top flight after they beat Lochaber 5-2 at The Dell.
Lee Bain scored the only goal of the first half, his effort coming five minutes before the break.
Lee Bain got his and Kingussie’s second three minutes into the second half but Zandz Ferguson pulled a goal back with 55 minutes played.
Kingussie manager Dallas Young’s decision to switch Lee Bain to the forward line is paying dividends and he completed his hat-trick on 71 minutes.
Lochaber were never out of it though and Stuart Callison made it 3-2 a minute later.
Kingussie pulled away though as Ruaridh Anderson on 74 minutes and Ryan Borthwick on 81 minutes rounded off the 5-2 win.
Kingussie are just a point behind Kyles Athletic and Kinlochshiel but have played three games more.
Kinlochshiel P Glasgow Mid Argyll P
The match between Kinlochshiel and Glasgow Mid Argyll at Kirkton was postponed as the wet weather on Saturday morning left Kirkton unplayable.
GMA had reached Fort William before the mid-morning call- off.
Marine Harvest National Division Beauly 3 Strathglass 1
Beauly go fourth in the Marine Harvest National Division after they defeated Strathglass 3-1 in their noon throw-up at Braeview Park.
The start time was brought forward to allow both clubs the chance to attend the Balliemore Cup Final later in the afternoon.
Beauly manager Alan MacRae went into the game without Marc MacLachlan, Ross Forbes, Liam Girvan and Barrie MacDonald, but Jack MacDonald, Robbie Brindle and keeper Josh Grant were amongst those who returned after missing the previous week’s defeat at Fort William.
Strathglass boss Dave Balharry was again without Lewis Douglas, whilst Michael Stokes and Darren Reid were also unavailable.
There was an early goal-rush and Beauly’s Sandy Elrick caught out visiting keeper Ally MacAdams with a shot from far out with only 10 seconds played.
Strathglass responded in the best way by levelling with only 65 seconds on the clock when Josh Fraser turned and hit a dipping shot which dropped just inside Josh Grant’s left post.
The end-to- end nature of the early exchanges continued and Beauly went back in front on 10 minutes when Sean Stewart threw himself to scoop home a rebound off the keeper’s chest to make it 2-1.
That’s the way it stayed until three minutes into the second half when Daniel Lamont and Sean Stewart combined to create a chance.
The Strathglass defence cleared the ball but it fell for Sandy Elrick, who’d lost his marker, and he blasted the ball high into the net, giving the keeper no chance.
Strathglass created chances before the end and it took a couple of brilliant stops from Beauly keeper Josh Grant to preserve his side’s two-goal advantage.
There was a late red card for Strathglass defender George Phimister with referee Willie MacDonald sending him off following a challenge on Jack MacDonald.
Marine Harvest North Division 1 Aberdeen University P Beauly P
The game between Aberdeen University and the Beauly seconds at Balgownie was postponed as the visitors were unable to raise a team.
Beauly have been deducted two points and the match will be re-scheduled for a later date.
This is the second time this season Beauly have been unable to fulfil this particular fixture.
Marine Harvest South Division 1 Lochside Rovers P Taynuilt P
Lochside Rovers missed the chance to bounce back from the previous weekend’s surprise Strathdearn Cup semi-final defeat to the Inveraray colts when their match against Taynuilt at Ganavan was postponed shortly before throw-up because of an unplayable pitch.
Col Glen P Kilmory P
The meeting between Col Glen and Kilmory was postponed on Saturday morning because the pitch was deemed unplayable.
Marine Harvest North Division 2 Boleskine 1 Lovat 3
The Lovat colts won their third game in a row, beating Boleskine 3-1 at Smith Park.
Boleskine’s Craig Pirrie and Keith Nicolson were both banned for this encounter.
Lovat included former Inverness player Chris Johnston at wing centre.
It looked as if it would be an uphill task for Lovat when James Fraser was sent off by referee Martin MacLean with only five minutes gone.
A Darren MacLeod goal on 35 minute gave the hosts a 1- 0 interval lead.
Raymond Rennie equalised five minutes after the restart and Rory Campbell made it 2-1 on the hour.
Raymond Rennie sealed the win when he made it 3-1 on 74 minutes.
Lewis Camanachd 1 Strathspey Camanachd 1
Lewis Camanachd move off the bottom of the table at Boleskine’s expense after they drew 1-1 with Strathspey Camanachd at Shawbost.
Both teams had chances before Donnie Ross gave Strathspey the lead on 25 minutes with Lewis claiming for a foul in the lead-up to the goal.
Lewis Camanachd equalised 7 minutes after the restart when a corner fell for Craig MacLeod and he flicked the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
Kilmallie A Lochaber A
The game between the Kilmallie second team and the Lochaber second team at Canal Parks started, but referee Graham Fisher was left with little option but to abandon the match as the conditions worsened.
WCA round up
The ladies focus was on their shinty/camogie international against Dublin County Ladies at Na Fianna, Dublin, last Saturday.
Dublin County Ladies 10 Scotland Ladies 19
Scotland Ladies returned from Dublin with the win they wanted after beating the Dublin County Ladies Select 19-10 in their latest shinty/camogie clash, a 2pm throw-up at Na Fianna, Dublin.
This was the second game of a three-match series. The ‘Dubs’ were convincing winners in Inverness last year.
Two goals from Skye Camanachd captain Lorna MacRae and had the Scots 7- 4 ahead but the ‘Dubs’ fought back to draw 7-7 at the interval.
When Lorna MacRae scored for a third time, Scotland led 11- 8 and they stayed in front with Lovat’s Laura Gallacher and Badenoch’s Zoe Reid also finding the back of the net before referee Karl O’Brien’s final whistle confirmed Scotland’s 19-10 win.
A strike over the bar from Kirsty Deans and three more points from Lorna MacRae, taking her tally to an impressive 12 points, also counted for the Scots.
The player of the match honour was shared between Dublin captain Louise O’Hara and Scotland’s Katy Smith.
Scotland captain Katy Smith was presented with the trophy by Dublin camogie chairman Patrick Martin.
If this proves to be head coach Stuart Reid’s last match in charge, he is certainly going out on a high and the 2018 meeting between the teams in Inverness will decide the outcome of this three-match series.
Scotland Under-17 squad announced
The Scotland U17 squad has been announced for this year’s shinty/ hurling tour of Ireland.
There are places again for Oban-based trio Lochside’s Cameron Sutherland, Celtic’s Ross MacMillan and Camanachd’s Daniel MacVicar, who all played in the squad which beat Kilkenny and Dublin last year, whilst Oban Camanachd’s Daniel MacCuish is called up for the first time.
Skye’s John Gillies, Lovat’s Scott MacKenzie and Beauly’s Robbie Brindle were also part of the successful 2016 squad.
Newtonmore forward Iain Robinson has the honour of captaining this year’s tour.
The Scots travel to Dublin on Sunday July 23.
They will play Waterford U17 the following day and Dublin U17 on Tuesday July 25 before returning home.
The annual tour, which has been taking place for more than 20 years, sees elite shinty players, many of whom attended the previous year’s National Development Camp, make up the squad.
Camanachd Association youth director Willie MacDonald said: ‘The District Select Under 17 Squad, and the tour itself, is an integral part of shinty’s player pathway.
‘It is the last opportunity for players to test themselves before preparing to step up to Scotland U21 and senior level.
‘This year’s squad is made up of highly skilful players, many of whom already hold spots in their own club’s first team. I am in no doubt we will see some excellent displays of shinty/ hurling skill.’
Scotland U17 from: Cameron Sutherland, Oban Camanachd; John Gillies, Skye Camanachd; Ross MacMillan, Oban Celtic; Connor Gilpin, Skye Camanachd; Alexander Michie, Kingussie; Ross Montgomery, Inveraray; Scott MacKenzie, Lovat; Daniel McCuish, Oban Camanachd; Liam Arnott, Lochcarron; Calum MacDougall, Kilmallie; Robbie Brindle, Beauly; James Pringle, Skye Camanachd; Daniel MacVicar, Oban Camanachd; Ruaridh Anderson, Kingussie; Scott MacDonald, Kyles Athletic; Roddy Young, Kingussie; and Iain Robinson, Newtonmore, captain.
Shinty photos exhibition
Acclaimed shinty photographer Neil G Paterson is hosting a month-long exhibition of prints of images taken during his nine seasons covering the sport.
The exhibition will take place at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, and starts on August 1.
The exhibition lasts for the month.
Annual Inverness Sixes tournament
Inverness Shinty Club hold their annual sixes at The Bught Park on Sunday July 30.
Men’s teams will compete for the Jubilee Shield and the Rosedean Shield; Women’s teams will compete for the Alistair Gow Shield and U14 teams will contest the Ken Ross Trophy
For more information, including how to enter a team, visit the Camanachd Association website www.shinty.com
Lovat member’s fundraiser
Members of Lovat Shinty Club are to tackle a 400-mile fundraising cycle around all ten Marine Harvest Premiership shinty clubs.
The Lovat cyclists will be led by manager Fraser Gallacher who is joined by first team players Stuart MacDonald, Drew Howie, Daniel Grieve, Callum Cruden and Greg Matheson and they will hold a penalty shootout at each pitch.
The journey, which has a 16,000ft climb, begins on Monday July 31 at 8am at Glasgow Mid Argyll’s Yoker pitch.
From there, the players make their way to Oban Camanachd’s Mossfield Stadium via a stop- off at Kyles Athletic’s Tighnabruaich ground – 127 miles in total.
The following day, the group head up the A82 to visit Kilmallie at The Canal Parks before branching off to Lochaber’s Spean Bridge ground and then finishing the day at The Eilan, Newtonmore and Kingussie’s The Dell, covering another 104 miles in the process.
The third day, Wednesday August 2, consists of a 91-mile cycle west to Kinlochshiel’s Kirkton home.
The fourth and final day is on Thursday August 3 when the players add the last 78 miles to their total, setting off at 8am to Glenurquhart’s Blairbeg pitch at Drumnadrochit. The players will then be greeted at the nearby Belladrum Music Festival main stage once they complete the challenge on their home turf at Balgate. All proceeds from the challenge will be split between Highland Hospice and the Lovat Shinty Club New Community Clubhouse Fund.
You can support the challenge by donating at the Lovat website www.lovatshintyclub.co.uk
The victorious Fort William team with the Balliemore Cup.
Caberfeidh’s Ben Macdonald is closed down by Fort William’s Seamus Gall during the Balliemore Cup Final.
A delighted Fort William captain James Tangney with the Balliemore Cup.
Fort William players celebrate the winning penalty, scored by Mark Grant, front centre.