Newtonmore’s worst season in 20 years has a silver lining – with their second team compensating for the senior side’s trophy famine by winning the Highland Industrial Supplies Sutherland Cup.
Manager Peter Ross feels capturing the national trophy, with a 5-1 win over Lovat at Drumnadrochit, is a signal of better days ahead for the Blue and White Hoops.
“I’m really pleased for the club that there’s something to celebrate to end a difficult season”, said Ross.
“I think there’s such outstanding talent coming through that we’ll not be far away for senior honours next year. The future now looks bright.
“James Ross, at 17, was absolutely superb at wing back against the experienced Raymond Rennie, while another 17 year old, attacker Sorley Thomson, was unplayable in the first half and has a real chance of being a key player in the Premiership.
“From primary school level through to the youth ranks, Newtonmore is developing a great crop of players who can make a big difference in the coming years.”
Glen Mackintosh, at 42, fired four goals and Ross is convinced he could return to first team shinty.
“Glen is magic. He leads the line well and is fantastic with the younger lads”, said Ross.
“Despite his age, he could still do a job at the top level – after all, in my opinion, he’s been the most deadly forward in shinty over the past 20 years. He’s far from finished.”
He added: “Scott Chisholm, who hurt his back at work, played through the pain barrier and showed he’s a real warrior.
“Credit to Lovat, they were 4-1 down at half time, but fought back and put us under a lot of pressure, but we were deserved winners in the end.”
Thomson slammed the Badenoch side into a first minute lead only for Lovat player-boss Raymond Rennie to equalise within five minutes. But midway through the first half Mackintosh, who is unable to train while recovering from knee surgery, grabbed three goals in a seven minute spell.
A week earlier, Lovat had come from four goals down in the Strathdearn Cup final to draw level and beat Newtonmore on penalties – and the Kiltarlity men couldn’t be faulted for effort as they tried to spark a similar comeback.
But Ross’s raiders stood firm and Mackintosh thumped home his fourth in 87 minutes.
Kingussie knocked great rivals Newtonmore out in the early rounds of the major cups and The Eilean men will be relieved when the season ends on Saturday week, ut winning the Sutherland Cup for the 12th time, and the first in five years, is some consolation.
Lochside Rovers dominated local rivals Oban Celtic in the Bullough Cup semi-final at Mossfield Park, with Lewis Buchanan and Matthew Sloss hitting hat-tricks in their 10-0 stroll.
Michael McQueen (2), Innes Macmillan and Innes Jackson completed the spree.
Cameron Ross slammed four goals as Kilmallie colts beat visitors Ardnamurchan 8-0, with a Michael Rodger double and strikes from Ross Mackenzie and Duncan MacDougall.
Former Newtonmore hitman Ewen Fraser notched both goals in Glasgow Mid Argyll’s 2-1 home win over Kyles Athletic.