Oban Camanachd defender Daniel Sloss celebrated his 17th birthday by booking a place in his first Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final.
Sloss was able to start the celebrations after the Red and Blacks’ 3-0 semi-final success against Kyles Athletic at Mossfield to spark Oban hopes of a first Camanachd triumph in 24 years.
Inspirational skipper Daniel Cameron blazed the way with a double before top marksman Andrew MacCuish scored his eighth goal against Kyles in five games this season.
Cameron said: “This is Daniel’s first full season at this level but he has adapted so quickly. I’ve never seen a talent like him.
“He takes on any challenge and doesn’t flinch when he’s facing big-name forwards. There’s no limit on how far he can progress.”
The captain added: “We’ve also got Ross Maxwell at 16, Blair MacFarlane at 17, Daniel MacCuish at 18 and keeper Cammy Sutherland at 19, so there’s an excellent backbone of youth coming through.”
In the final at Fort William on September 14 Oban will face a Newtonmore side who beat them 1-0 in a disappointing Camanachd final three years ago.
“We never really took that game to Newtonmore but we’re better equipped to do so this time, especially with Andrew MacCuish’s consistent goal threat,” stressed Cameron.
“Daniel Madej, who joined us from Oban Celtic this season, has been exceptional at full back and he, too, deserves a crack at the Camanachd Cup.
“Players in my age group have spent 10-15 years of playing second fiddle to Kyles, so it’s quite satisfying to have the boot on the other foot.
“We expect Newtonmore to have Michael Russell and Glen Mackintosh fit for the final and they’re a top side. But Caberfeidh exposed some of their weaknesses in the semi-final and we’ll face them with a positive approach.”
Oban face Kingussie at Mossfield next weekend in the Artemis Macaulay Cup final, and the skipper said: “I’ve runners up medals in every competition but now it’s time to add winners’ ones.”
The experienced winger Willie Neilson, who came on as sub for Daniel MacCuish, is a major doubt for the Macaulay final after sustaining a knee injury, another in his unfortunate run of injury issues.
With the Celtic Society Cup already won, Oban are the only team who could pull off the silverware Grand Slam – they are five points behind leaders Kingussie with a game in hand and seven league games to play.
Kyles had plenty of possession, with Scott Macdonald battling well, but failed to turn that into clear-cut chances, which proved costly.
In contrast, Scott Macmillan’s cross five minutes from the interval saw Cameron pounce to score.
Then in 70 minutes defensive confusion proved fatal as Cameron found space and angled low into the net. Kyles’ cause was hopeless when Andrew MacCuish drilled in a low drive which caught keeper John Whyte napping.