Cup blow for New­ton­more

Shinty: More fail in bid to have sus­pended Mac­Don­ald avail­able for fi­nal

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT -

Pre­mier­ship cham­pi­ons New­ton­more have failed in a bid to play a mid­week game to en­able key de­fender Steven Mac­Don­ald to be el­i­gi­ble to play in the Tul­loch Homes Ca­manachd Cup fi­nal against Lo­vat at In­ver­ness on Septem­ber 30.

The Ca­manachd As­so­ci­a­tion has re­fused the Ei­lan club per­mis­sion for a mid­week fix­ture against Lochaber at Spean Bridge to en­able Mac­Don­ald to com­plete a two-game sus­pen­sion in time for the show­piece fi­nal.

Lochaber had been happy to bring for­ward the fix­ture, sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 7, to ac­commo- date their neigh­bours and to fin­ish their sea­son three weeks ear­lier.

New­ton­more man­ager Paul John Mack­in­tosh said: “We made the re­quest to bring the Lochaber game for­ward, which would have suited both teams, but the as­so­ci­a­tion has turned us down, say­ing there was no chance it would con­sider it.

“We’re ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed at thus not hav­ing Steven avail­able for the fi­nal, par­tic­u­larly as we un­der­stand that the as­so­ci­a­tion has in the past al­lowed other clubs to do the same thing in the same cir­cum­stances.

“It seems New­ton­more are not to be granted the same con­sid­er­a­tion but we’ll just get on with it.”

Mac­Don­ald, last year’s Ca­manachd Cup-win­ning cap­tain, in­curred a book­ing against Kyles Ath­letic last Satur­day which took him through the dis­ci­plinary points limit and trig­gered his sec­ond sus­pen­sion of the sea­son. The ban does not take ef­fect un­til af­ter to­mor­row and thus the sec­ond game will be the cup fi­nal.

Ca­manachd As­so­ci­a­tion fix­tures chief Astie Cameron would only say yes­ter­day: “We have had no of­fi­cial ap­proach from New­ton­more on this mat­ter.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion ap­par­ently does not con­sider a phone call from the man­ager as a for­mal re­quest from the club.

How­ever, it is thought it would look un­favourably on any such let­ter on the ba­sis that al­low­ing Lochaber to bring for­ward the fix­ture would be seen as un­fair to the other teams in the rel­e­ga­tion strug­gle.

Mean­while, Mack­in­tosh will not play two play­ers in to­mor­row’s big game with Kyles Ath­letic at Moss­field Park to avoid them also be­ing sus­pended on the big day.

Top scorer Glen Mack­in­tosh and for­mer un­der-21 in­ter­na­tional mid­field player David Maclean are one book­ing away from a ban and they will be rested, leav­ing New­ton­more un­der strength for a key game in the ti­tle run-in.

If they fail to win this one, then their chance of an eighth suc­ces­sive ti­tle may be gone.

The match with Kyles has been switched to Oban be­cause the Tighnabruiach pitch is not playable and Kyles are tak­ing ad­van­tage of Oban’s game be­ing post­poned.

“Our pitch is in very poor con­di­tion”, said Kyles sec­re­tary Mick Atkin­son.

“Rather than risk post­pone­ment at a late in­spec­tion, we’ve ar­ranged to play at Moss­field Park.”

Ath­letic are with­out sus­pended key at­tacker Roddy Mac­don­ald. Lo­vat full cen­tre Craig Main­land has won his race to be ready for the Ca­manachd Cup fi­nal af­ter his ham­string in­jury proved not as se­ri­ous as feared.

“It has turned out to be more of a strain than a pull and, though it may keep him out of this week­end’s visit to Glas­gow Mid Ar­gyll, he’ll be OK for the fi­nal,” said man­ager Fraser Gal­lacher. “That’s a mas­sive re­lief for we feared the worst and Craig is an im­por­tant man in our tac­ti­cal plans for the fi­nal.”

The Kil­tar­l­ity side left de­fender Drew Howie out last week to avoid be­ing sus­pended for the fi­nal and has four play­ers walk­ing the tightrope to­mor­row.

“I won’t say who they are but they will each play for 45 min­utes at Mid Ar­gyll,” said Gal­lacher. “They will go out with strict in­struc­tions not to get in­volved in any­thing that might earn them a book­ing.”

Lo­vat know that if they win their fi­nal four league games they can earn a third-place spot but Mid Ar­gyll, three points adrift with three games in hand, are fight­ing for their lives and this is their last home outing.

Kin­lochshiel, three wins away from their first Ma­rine Harvest Pre­mier­ship ti­tle, are ready to switch to­mor­row’s home game with Glen Urquhart to Kil­tar­l­ity if re­quired.

“We’ve not given up home of our pitch re­cov­er­ing in time but our play­ers want to get on with things, so we have booked Bal­gate Park as a stand-by,” said man­ager John­ston Gill.

“Scott Maclean is back from sus­pen­sion and ev­ery­one is fit and well.”

Scot­land skip­per John Barr re­turns from sus­pen­sion for Glen’s fi­nal game of the sea­son as they seek to snatch what could be an ex­tremely pre­cious point in their bid to stay up.

Skye will be pre­sented with the Na­tional Divi­sion tro­phy be­fore their game with In­ver­aray at Portree.

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