More the mer­rier af­ter

Shinty: MacDon­ald is man of mo­ment with cru­cial per­for­mance

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

Only 12 weeks af­ter break­ing his leg, New­ton­more’s Drew MacDon­ald stepped up with his 11-week-old daugh­ter Aela to col­lect the Al­bert Smith Me­mo­rial Medal for man of the match in the Tul­loch Homes Ca­manachd Cup fi­nal – prov­ing that he is no longer the club’s “Mr Un­lucky”.

The 25-year-old ap­pli­ance en­gi­neer helped New­ton­more to a 3-2 vic­tory against Lo­vat at In­ver­ness to take home the tro­phy for the 32nd time.

MacDon­ald said: “I’ve come on as sub­sti­tute in two Ca­manachd fi­nals but this was my first start and af­ter my leg break I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that I’d play, let alone get the man of the match medal.

“Be­fore that I was out for two years with a cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in­jury and be­fore that I broke my hand in a match. I seemed jinxed but now all my luck has come at once.

“I played 20 min­utes for the team last week, but I thought I’d be on the bench again. To start, and win, is fan­tas­tic.”

MacDon­ald’s dy­namism at Bught Park was typ­i­cal of the New­ton­more drive and en­ergy which in the end proved too much for the Kil­tar­l­ity men who will be very dis­ap­pointed with their per­for­mance.

When they came back to make it 2-2 with 24 min­utes re­main­ing, a Lo­vat cup-win­ning surge was on the cards, but it was the Bade­noch men who found an ex­tra gear. Their win­ning goal came from Evan Men­zies, who missed the first half of the sea­son with a house ren­o­va­tion project, but who found space 12 yards out to fire the ball home.

Win­ning man­ager Paul John Mack­in­tosh said: “Ev­ery­thing was against us in the run up, but we stood up to be counted.

“Nor­man Camp­bell did a great job play­ing in de­fence while all credit to Paul Macarthur as standin goal­keeper. Rory Kennedy hadn’t played for eight weeks but to­tally sub­dued the man he was mark­ing.

“I’m proud of our team with ev­ery­one play­ing their part.”

Lo­vat coach Fraser Gal­lacher said: “It was there for us to win when got level but credit to New­ton­more for ral­ly­ing to get a win they de­served. It’s tough to take, we just didn’t do the ba­sic things right.”

The clean hit­ting of More was in stark con­trast to Lo­vat’s of­ten clumsy strik­ing. As a re­sult, the Lo­vat mid­field was over­run in the first half, though the team found some form af­ter the in­ter­val.

Had a David Maclean goal, which would have made it 3-0, not been dis­al­lowed the Ei­lan side could have gone on to win em­phat­i­cally.

They were two up in­side 20 min­utes, the first an an­gled drive from Neil Ste­wart and the sec­ond came from Jamie Robin­son, who lashed high into the net.

Lo­vat were back in the game in 64 min­utes when sub­sti­tute Marc MacLach­lan steered the ball home from close range af­ter Daniel Grieve’s long ball had caused de­fen­sive con­fu­sion. Two min­utes later they were level when Lorne MacKay’s high shot from dis­tance was missed in the sun­light by keeper Macarthur.

Af­ter Men­zies’ win­ner, tem­pers flared. Conor Jones had just come on as sub when Cal­lum Cru­den’s stick made con­tact with his head. Jones had to be hauled back by team-mates as he sought to con­front his as­sailant. Ref­eree Lachie Wood showed red cards to both play­ers.

There had not been two play­ers sent off in a Ca­manachd fi­nal for more than 40 years.

Yet a dif­fi­cult sea­son for New­ton­more ended in glory. For the first time in 31 years, they have re­tained the sport’s Blue Riband tro­phy.

You have to go back 38 years for the last time they won it three times in a row but that’s the next tar­get for this out­stand­ing team. The rel­e­ga­tion is­sue in the Marine Har­vest Premier­ship may not now be set­tled un­til Novem­ber 4.

Kil­mallie’s game with Oban Ca­manachd was post­poned as Canal Park was un­playable and the fix­ture now re­verts to its orig­i­nal date which is a set­back to both clubs.

Oban man­ager Ian Hay said: “We’re hugely dis­ap­pointed at play­ing past Hal­loween and just be­fore bon­fire night. I can’t re­mem­ber us play­ing in Novem­ber be­fore.

“But there’s no scope for us fit­ting in another date as we play Kin­gussie, Lo­vat and New­ton­more this month plus a free week­end for the shinty-hurl­ing in­ter­na­tional.

“It’s hard luck on our play­ers hav­ing to keep train­ing while half the Premier­ship teams fin­ish their sea­son this com­ing week­end.

“And, of course, with Kil­mallie sit­ting sec­ond bot­tom, it’s a vi­tal fix­ture to them.”

Hay flies off on hol­i­day this week and misses Oban’s home game with Kin­lochshiel, who need a point to win the cham­pi­onship for the first time.

“I thought we’d be fin­ished by now,” said Hay, “but Chris Ec­cle­ston and Fraser Inglis will take charge.”

Kin­gussie are the new MacMaster Un­der14s Cup hold­ers af­ter beat­ing Lochaber 6-4 in a thriller at Bught Park.

Ewan Baker and Michael Slimon hit dou­bles for Kings, with Ally Dou­glas and Ian Lynch also on tar­get. Max Camp­bell net­ted twice for Lochaber who also counted through Dil­lon Brockie and Rob­bie Ry­d­ings.

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