Final pair best of enemies
More’ s Maclean and Lovat’ s MacLachlan off to wedding after game
“Friendship will be set aside until the final is over”
Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final opponents David Maclean and Marc MacLachlan will both have two big matches on the same day as Newtonmore and Lovat meet in shinty’s showpiece final in Inverness today and then rush away to attend a wedding.
It is a family wedding for Newtonmore’s Maclean, who will be accompanied to the event by Lovat forward MacLachlan, David’s friend and former Beauly team-mate.
“It’s my first Camanachd final and it’s highly exciting to be part of it,” said the 26-year-old plumber. “When I left Beauly for Newtonmore at the start of the year I was giving myself the chance to play in the big finals.
“The Newtonmore people have been really good to me and their encouragement helped me settle in. The 100-mile round trips to training twice a week have been worth it and playing in the Camanachd final is the peak of my career, a dream come true.
“If we win, I’ll have to miss the celebrations as I’m off to my cousin’s wedding. Travelling to it with me will be Marc MacLachan. He’s one of my best mates but friendship will be set aside until the final is over.”
Maclean, who has two Scotland under-21 caps, added: “I think the game will be won by the team which gains control of the midfield and I’m optimistic that will be us.”
Meanwhile, Newtonmore manager Paul John Mackintosh has rolled the dice and midfield veteran Paul Macarthur will play in goal, allowing Norman Campbell to move out to play full back.
With injuries and a suspension, More have only Ackie MacRae of their recognised back four, but Campbell is highly experienced at full back.
“I was left with little option with my defence wrecked, so I need Norman to play outfield,” said manager Mackintosh.
Macarthur, who is 6ft 3in and has three Camanachd winner’s medals, is happy to help out the team by going in goal to allow 38-year-old Campbell to steady the rearguard.
Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher’s big decision is whether to keep MacLachlan, who has scored five goals in five starts, or recall international Lorne MacKay, who missed the semi-final through suspension when replacement MacLachlan was the matchwinner against Oban. The one who misses out will be a valuable substitute.
Gallacher said: “Newtonmore have their famed winning mentality but Bught Park suits us and I think we might have the edge on fitness.”
The 110th Camanachd final, which starts at 2pm, sees Newtonmore seek to lift the trophy for the 32nd time and Lovat for the third.
Both teams have fine attacks, with Lovat captain Greg Matheson and Newtonmore’s Glen Mackintosh acknowledged as master finishers. Each side has beaten the other in the league but Newtonmore won after extra time when they met in a Macaulay Cup tie in July. Since then, Lovat have reeled off six wins, while Newtonmore have won four, drawn two and lost two.
The Under-14 MacMaster Cup final between Lochaber and Kingussie is at Bught Park today (11am).
CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Newtonmore’s David Maclean, centre, tussles with Skye’s Stewart Grant and Kenny Campbell