Shinty: Glenurquhart end 127-year wait with six-goal cup rout
NO-ONE would have expected such a margin but it was fitting that Glenurquhart should end 127 barren years with an Artemis Macaulay Cup final rout of Oban at Mossfield Park on Saturday.
With the lush grass bathed in sunshine all afternoon, it was truly Glen’s day in the limelight and their 6-0 waltz must have been joyous for their fans, many banked up on Mossfield Park’s famous grassy knoll.
In fact all those who deserted Glenurquhart to make their way to Oban to witness this chunk of history probably left the arena with nails and nerves intact.
As soon as Ruaridh Cameron launched the first goal over Robert Dunning in the Oban goal in the sixth minute, Glen were in command.
In fairness to their lower league opponents, who performed miracles of their own in reaching the final, the key difference was Glen’s ability to be clinical when the opportunity arose. Neale Reid cracked a similar strike from distance into the net in 22 minutes and Cameron added a 35 yard effort before half–time. Other than those titanic strikes, the outfield play was fairly even. That altered in the second half when the superior fitness and mental focus of the Premiership side gradually extinguished anything Oban could muster.
All in all, it was day when everything from tactics to fortune went the way of Glenurquhart.
Maybe the man upstairs had decided 127 years was quite long enough and Fraser MacKenzie and Drew McNeil’s players would gain the honour of being the men who brought a Cup- and all that goes with it- to the village.
Emotions were understandably high after Reid, man-of-the-match Fraser Heath and Lewis McLennan added the remaining three goals in the second half.
For co-manager Fraser MacKenzie, it was his first final triumph as a senior manager.
“I think this will take some time to sink in for the people because it has been such a long wait but, for us, we want to move on now,” he said. “The boys will take belief from this and hopefully we can win the Camanachd Cup.
“My mother was from Glenurquhart and so are half of my family so this means a lot. I am over the moon.”
Oban fought bravely but the 90 minutes highlighted a gulf that was perhaps slightly harsh. With the Premiership beckoning for them, it may turn out to be one of the best lessons they could have.
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