Fi­nal pair best of en­e­mies

More’ s Ma­clean and Lo­vat’ s MacLach­lan off to wed­ding af­ter game

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT - BY BILL McALLISTER

“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

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