Andrew MacCuish, who announced his retirement before the start of the season, will help Oban Camanachd’s bid for glory when they face Kyles Athletic in the Scottish Sea Farms Celtic Society Cup Final at Mossfield Park this weekend.
The 34-year old internationalist, who stepped down for work and family reasons, is the surprise name in Oban’s squad as both teams battle to avoid finishing the season without silverware.
MacCuish said: “I was asked to help out and be a substitute in the semi-final against Inveraray as the second team also had a semi-final and numbers were short. I was brought on and managed to score.
“I thought it was a one-off, but I’ve kept training and I feel pretty fit, so I’ll be involved against Kyles, probably on the bench again.
“I feel able to make a contribution, and it’s been great to be back among the lads. I’m keen to help the team make it a hat-trick in this tournament.”
— Shinty (@camanachd) October 6, 2021
He added: “All going well, I don’t rule out making a comeback and playing regularly next year when the Premiership returns.”
It is 27 years since the Red and Blacks last won the Celtic trophy three consecutive seasons.
Daniel MacVicar, aged 22, who fired four goals in their first round win at Ballachulish in August, is Oban’s top marksman this year.
Ferryman Keith Macmillan, who is poised to retire due to sailing duties, will be Oban’s skipper for the day.
Kyles, badly hit by injuries this year, have a major doubt over a key man, half-back Andrew King, who damaged his shoulder in their semi-final win over Glasgow Mid Argyll.
Manager Robert Baxter revealed: “It is touch and go for Andy and we’ve drafted in our former player Donald Irvine, a hospital doctor in Aberdeen, who will play if King fails a late test.
“Donald helped us out in a Camanachd Cup tie earlier this season and it’s great to have him helping out as George Thomson, Thomas Whyte and Scott MacDonald are all still out injured.”
Kyles, record 34 times winners of the trophy, will field 18-year-old Murdo MacRae in defence and Luke Thornton, grandson of club legend Barney Crawford, will be in the Blues’ attack.
Athletic’s run of being cup winners five times in a row ended with their 2017 triumph and Baxter said: “That was the last time Kyles won anything and that’s too long. We’d like to put that right and avoid another barren season.”
Internationalist Roddy Macdonald, who had been playing further back because of team issues, will be at half-forward along with Conor Kennedy.
Kingussie target another final
Macaulay Cup winners Kingussie have their sights on reaching another final when they face Fort William at An Aird in the Cottages.Com MacTavish Cup semi-final.
Kings last won this trophy when they beat Fort 2-1 in the final 10 years ago, while Fort’s last success was when they beat Kingussie 1-0 in the 2017 final.
Their Camanachd Cup semi-final exit has been the only low point in a dominant season for skipper Rory Mackeachan and The Dell side, while Roddy Young is in scoring form.
But Fort, with Alex Macmillan fit again, carry a major threat from Arran MacPhee and have their eye on an upset.
Macdonald misses out for Lochaber
In the Mowi League, Barry Macdonald is suspended for Lochaber, who host Camanachd Cup winners Kinlochshiel, while Balliemore Cup winners Skye have Sorley Macdonald out injured against Glen Urquhart at Drumnadrochit.
The North second team final, the Strathdearn Cup, sees Lovat have home advantage at Kiltarlity against Newtonmore, who include prolific former Camanachd Cup veteran Glen Mackintosh.