This afternoon sees the highlight of the shinty season at Mossfield Park in Oban when Lovat and Newtonmore meet in the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final.
The clash is a repeat of the 2017 final, which Newtonmore eventually won 3-2 and the sides currently occupy the top two places in shinty’s Marine Harvest Premiership.
Lovat have fond memories of their last Camanachd Cup final appearance at Mossfield, when a superb goalkeeping display from Stuart MacDonald helped them beat Kyles Athletic 2-1 to lift the trophy in 2015. This year, they got past island sides Skye and Bute as well as Kingussie, who they beat on penalties in the semi-finals.
Newtonmore have won the last two finals and they defeated Lochaber, Kinlochshiel and Kilmallie, the latter on penalties, to reach the final.
Lovat captain Lewis Tawse and top scorer Greg Matheson both picked up knocks in the league win over Caberfeidh a week ago but both are expected to be fit for the final. Therefore youngsters Scott MacKenzie (injury) and Marc Kelly (abroad) are Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher’s only absentees. The match marks a significant milestone for Lovat attacker Graeme MacMillan, who plays three years after suffering a horror leg break.
Newtonmore boss Paul John MacKintosh was dealt a blow ahead of the final as experienced midfielder Fraser MacKintosh suffered a broken collar-bone in last week’s league win over Kinlochshiel. However David MacLean returned to the squad after injury and Evan Menzies, who scored the winner in the 2017 final, is expected to be free of a muscle problem. This could be a last final appearance for Newtonmore captain Norman Campbell with the defender expected to retire from senior shinty at the end of the season. Newtonmore captain Andy MacKintosh missed last year’s final through injury but he was awarded the Albert Smith medal as cup final man of the match a year earlier.
Deek Cameron is the match referee for the 2pm throw up, which will be broadcast live on BBC2 Scotland.
The MacMaster Cup final between youth sides Beauly Under-14 and Fort William Under-14 provides a curtain raiser to the main event. Throw up is at 11am.
There is just one match in the Marine Harvest Premiership, where Skye continue their fight against relegation against Kingussie at the Dell. Fraser Munro returns for the hosts but Savio Genini is still out. Skye are without keeper Iain MacLeod so Ryan Morrison takes over in goal.