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Shinty: John MacRae helps Kinlochshiel to Macaulay Cup victory against Newtonmore just hours after birth of his daughter

Just a few hours after becoming a dad for the second time, John Macrae scores an early first goal for Kinlochshiel.
Just a few hours after becoming a dad for the second time, John Macrae scores an early first goal for Kinlochshiel.

Kinlochshiel’s John MacRae made light of lack of sleep to be his team’s two-goal hero as they knocked out Newtonmore to set up an Artemis Macaulay Cup quarter final against unbeaten Lovat at Balmacara.

MacRae was up most of the night as his wife gave birth to their second daughter but was wide awake enough to produce the finishing power to torment Newtonmore and breathe new life into their own sluggish campaign.

After the historic Camanachd Cup and MacTavish triumphs last year, the Wester Ross men were suffering a backlash and are already out of the MacTavish – but their 3-0 win at The Eilean was the eyebrow-raising scoreline of the day.

“It’s a result that can kick-start our season,” said manager Johnston Gill.

“We knew if we lost we’d only the Camanachd Cup to look forward to but the players worked really hard and rose to the occasion.

“It’s helped that we’re over our spate of injuries. Everyone put in a great shift and this display avenges our opening day home Premiership defeat to Newtonmore and will hopefully enable us to gain some momentum.”

Kinlochshiel’s Keith Macrae slips the ball past Newtonmore keeper Owen Fraser for goal number two. 

Stonemason John MacRae chipped away at Newtonmore’s cup hopes with strikes in the second and 85th minutes, with elder brother Keith netting in 74 minutes for the Reds’ biggest win at The Eilean for many years – and possibly ever.

Lovat, beaten by Shiel in the Camanachd final last autumn, made it five wins out of five when they won 4-1 against Kilmallie at Canal Park and their tie at Reraig Park looks a cracker.

Kilmallie, who they meet again in the delayed MacTavish Cup tie this weekend, became the first team to put the ball in the Lovat net this season when Stuart Callison levelled Greg Matheson’s early opener.

Lewis Tawse broke the deadlock in 65 minutes before Marc MacLachlan and Tawse again added late goals with manager Jamie Matheson saying: “It’s another really good result and visiting Shiel for a semi-final spot is quite a carrot.”

Cup holders Kingussie, 4-0 home winners over Fort William, now face a tricky quarter final against Caberfeidh at Strathpeffer, with Cabers gaining a walkover after Lochaber’s team-raising troubles.

Skipper Savio Genini hit a well-taken double for Kings and was denied a hat trick when keeper Paul MacKay deflected his shot on to the bar. Roddy Young and James Falconer were also on  target for The Dell men.

Mark Macdonald (Kinlochshiel) with Iain Robinson (Newtonmore) in the MacAulay Cup first round.

“It was a much better performance and Fort’s keeper pulled off some superb saves,” said Kings boss John Gibson.

“Fraser Munro and Rory MacKeachan made their comebacks in the second half so our injury situation is improving.

“Cabers will be difficult on their own pitch, with the Morrison brothers always a handful, while Kieran MacPherson, from our cup-winning team last season, will be lining up against us.”

Glen Urquhart boosted their promotion challenge with a 4-1 win over Strathglass at Drumnadrochit with a Connor Golabek double and goals from John Barr and David MacLennan with Michael Stokes responding.

In the Strathdearn Cup, Zander MacRae hit a hat-trick as Kinlochshiel colts beat visitors Lewis 5-0, Euan Dingwall’s winner saw Strathspey 2-1 home winners over Kilmallie while Taylor Matheson’s double helped Skye knock out Kingussie 3-0.

Howe at the double for Oban

Connor Howe’s second spell with Oban Camanachd is paying dividends and he blasted a double to book an Artemis Macaulay Cup quarter final against his previous club, Inveraray, at Mossfield Park.

Oban manager Gareth Evans was delighted with his side’s form in their 4-1 first round home win over Glasgow Mid Argyll and feels the Red and Blacks, who have not won this trophy for 27 years, could be in with a shout of ending that long wait.

“It’s good to land another home tie and we’re targeting the Macaulay this year. We played some really nice stuff against Mid Argyll although we missed a host of chances,” he said.

“Connor Howe was the man of the match, his best game since rejoining us this year. He’s been at different clubs, and played football as well, but he’s benefited from a good pre-season with us and is looking really sharp.

“He’s still young and his best is yet to come in a lineup where all but three lads are aged under 24.”

Howe and Daniel Madej gave Oban a 2-0 interval lead but John McNulty pulled one back before Daniel Cameron burst forward from defence to make it 3-1 and Howe grabbed his second in 81 minutes.

Col Glen took a surprise lead at Inveraray through Danny MacDonald but Ally Macdonald levelled before the interval and Ross Macmillan struck in the first minute of the second half to put the hosts ahead, with Fraser Watt’s late double completing their 4-1 win.

Kyles Athletic’s 4-2 win at Oban Celtic earns them a home quarter final against Bute.

Lennon Campbell gave Celts an interval advantage but Ross MacRae (penalty), Calum Millar (2) and Roddy MacDonald had Kyles coasting before Scott Dempster’s late strike.

Craig Fisher’s hat trick and Scott Harvey’s double saw Bute win 5-0 at Aberdour.

Former internationalist John MacDonald was a hat trick hero for Ballachulish, including a 99th minute winner as they edged out new boys Cruachanside 4-3 in the Single Team Club tournament. Ally Banks hit Balla’s opener with the visitors responding through Kyle MacFarlane, a Cian MacPhee own goal, and Ally Cameron’s 96th minute leveller.

Festival hailed a success

Aviemore was the venue for the annual Disability First Shinty Festival which saw Abercorn School from Glasgow emerge as winners.

An impressive nine teams and seven schools from Lochaber, Kingussie, Glasgow and North Ayrshire enjoyed coaching from qualified shinty coaches and games throughout the two-day event which culminated in a tournament.

The tournament was played on a round robin format, with all nine teams playing each other once. The league matches were extremely competitive with some excellent play and great goals scored throughout the day.

Abercorn from Glasgow, the 2018 winners topped the group one point ahead of 2019 winners Lockhart Campus.

Camanachd Association Youth Director Willie MacDonald said: “This is one of the most rewarding events we hold annually as we are bringing together children who don’t get many opportunities to compete in shinty. The event grows in popularity each year, and it was great to see Lochaber High School and Kingussie High School taking part for the first time.”