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Shinty: Elated Kyles Athletic offer glimpse of things to come with cup triumph over Oban

TIGHNABRUAICH hasn't seen a celebration like Saturday night's for a long time, but Kyles Athletic's Glasgow Celtic Society Cup win may just be the start of the good times rolling.

The club's deserved 2-1 victory over Oban in front of an excellent crowd at Winterton Park, Inveraray, was the first senior honour for this excellent group of Kyles youths.

If you consider that they still remain undefeated this season, the 107th Glasgow Celtic Society Cup may simply be the hor d'oeuvres before the main feast.

This game, played at pace, wasn't quite up to being a repeat of the classic of the 2009 Camanachd Cup final when Kyles lost, only just, to Fort William. However, it showed the paying public a more mature Kyles side; a team that can control games and their outcomes.

At the end, when captain Dunky Kerr accepted the trophy, there was never really going to be any other name on its base.

"I think this could be the first of more trophies for this team," said veteran keeper Kenny MacDonald, who at 49, produced the save of the match to deny Oban's Scott Macmillan.

"From what I have seen this season, the boys are as good as anyone about."

Kyles have waited a long time for this and there were mothers, fathers and grandfathers on the park at the end, all bedecked in blue.

Whoever was left in Tighnabruaich between the hours of 2.30pm and 4.30pm must have wondered if the place had been evacuated. The travelling fans lined the end furthest from Inveraray Castle and, in 25 minutes, witnessed their side's first goal.

Fraser MacDonald flicked the ball neatly inside two defenders and Roddie MacDonald, who was a danger all afternoon, slotted the ball past Gavin Stobbart in the Oban goal.

MacDonald must be a nightmare to play against. Standing at well over 6ft, he possesses pace. He has the ability to ghost behind markers and, if no one had told him the game was over, he could probably have run happily all evening and home as well.

After this goal, there was much huffing and puffing but neither side was out of sight.

Oban's luck probably died when keeper MacDonald somehow managed to keep out Macmillan's free hit in 65 minutes.

"The ones you don't see are actually easiest to save," smiled MacDonald. "It is just a reflex then."

Whatever it was, it knocked the stuffing out of Oban and Kyles extended their lead in 78 minutes; Fraser MacDonald whipping a back-handed effort high into the rigging.

Oban did retaliate and Macmillan this time found a way past MacDonald with a direct free hit in 90 minutes.

Any hope they had of a final push was halted when ref Billy Wotherspoon blew his whistle after the re-start.

One sour note for Kyles was the sending-off of Donald Irvine late on but it didn't spoil the party.

There was also a footnote for history buffs. Roddie and keeper Kenny MacDonald became the first father and son to win the trophy. A nice day all round for Kyles.

 
 
 

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