Paul John Mackintosh is stepping down as Newtonmore manager – breaking the news to his players after a 4-3 defeat from Kyles Athletic at The Eilean meant they cannot catch neighbours Kingussie in the Mowi Premiership title race.
He said: “I indicated to club officials some time ago this would be my last season in charge. I’ve done seven years as manager and have enjoyed much success but it’s time to call it a day.
“I delayed telling the players while we were still in title contention but they’ve now been told of my decision. It’s good to bow out with the Camanachd Cup back at the club.”
Mackintosh’s role with a timber company has taken him to several countries this year and work commitments were a factor in his decision.
He leaves with a glittering record of five Camanachd Cup triumphs in seven seasons plus five Premiership titles, the MacTavish Cup won five times and the MacAulay Cup twice.
His motivational and organisational skills were admired by the players and the final game at Kinlochshiel on November 2 will bring down the curtain on the Mackintosh era.
Newtonmore president Norman Macarthur and his committee will begin the process of identifying a successor tasked with tackling the rapid rise of Kingussie’s exciting young team.
A 3-0 win over Kinlochshiel at The Dell put Kingussie even more firmly on course for their first title in 10 years.
If Oban Camanachd win their last five games, and Kings lose their last two, then Oban could still leapfrog them – but a victory over Kilmallie at Canal Park this weekend will put red and blue ribbons on the trophy.
Manager John Gibson said: “We’re pleased to now need only two points from two games and we’d like to finish it this weekend.”
Kinlochshiel were very competitive in an end-to-end first half-hour with Wester Ross keeper Josh Grant making a couple of fine stops, while Bob MacGregor, who suffered an eye injury in the warm-up, made a wonderful save to deny Shiel. James Falconer made the 40th-minute breakthrough before Fraser Munro slammed Kings’ second 10 minutes into the second half, while Ruaridh Anderson polished off a fine free-hit move in 87 minutes.
Still reeling from last week’s 5-1 home defeat from Oban, Newtonmore were without the injured Fraser Mackintosh and Jamie Robinson.
Roddy MacDonald got Kyles off to a flier with a seventh-minute strike and, though Drew MacDonald levelled on the half-hour mark, Robbie MacLeod restored the visitors’ lead three minutes later.
Glen Mackintosh made it 2-2 in 66 minutes but MacDonald struck again four minutes later then Robbie MacLeod grabbed his second. Ewen Fraser hit a consolation on a bad day for Newtonmore.
FIGHTING FALCONERS: David Falconer, of Kinlochshiel, battling with Kingussie’s James Falconer. Inset: Newtonmore boss PJ Mackintosh