Kinlochsheil celebrate after winning shinty’s Camanachd Cup for first time in history

Oban was a sea of red and white as Kinlochshiel lifted the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup for the first time in their 63 year history, beating Lovat 3-1 in a thrilling final in Oban.

Kinlochshiel have won the Camanachd Cup for the first time in their 63 year history.

The five-hour round trip was made all the worthwhile for the huge travelling support as they saw captain Keith MacRae lead by example with his hat-trick seeing off 2015 winners Lovat.

Selection headaches dominated the pre-match discussion but most of the injured players declared themselves fit to start with ‘Shiel’s Ali Nixon and Lovat’s Scott MacKenzie and the suspended Lorne MacKay the unlucky ones.

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It was a nervy opening period during which Lovat came closest when Fraser Heath’s shot from the left went across keeper Josh Grant but came back off the far post.

However ‘Shiel’s Keith MacRae grabbed the final by the scruff of the neck as he opened the scoring on 25 minutes. A Lovat hit-in, deep inside their own half, went wrong and the ball came to John MacRae who quickly found his brother Keith MacRae and he blasted the ball home from the front of the D.

And it could have been two but for Lovat keeper Stuart MacDonald’s flying save, parrying the ball with his stick to deny John MacRae.

‘Shiel had the pressure but couldn’t add a second and they were made to pay in first half stoppage-time when Fraser Heath found Greg Matheson wide on the left and he sent a blistering shot into the net to make it 1-1 at the interval.

Lovat made the better start to the second half and as the final approached the hour Fraser Heath’s cross from the right picked out Greg Matheson but he screwed the ball wide.

The next goal was going to be crucial and ‘Shiel regained the lead on the hour. Jordan Fraser came deep before sending the ball down the middle where Keith MacRae ran forward, lifting the ball over the on-rushing Stuart MacDonald and into the net to make it 2-1.

‘Shiel looked to see out the closing stages but there was a late chance for Lovat substitute Graeme MacMillan but he steered the ball wide of target.

If ‘Shiel were caught out late in the first half, they weren’t going to make that mistake twice as in second half stoppage time, John MacRae touched Donald Nixon’s long free-hit to Keith MacRae at the left of the D and he beat the keeper at his right post to complete his hat-trick and win the Camanachd Cup.

Kinlochshiel’s Conor Cormack, who was commanding in the middle of the defence, was awarded the Albert Smith medal for man of the match before Keith MacRae stepped forward cap a dream day as he raised shinty’s most famous trophy in front of a jubilant support who were ready to party.

Speaking after the final whistle, Keith MacRae said: “This is just amazing and it really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m delighted. The boys worked so hard today and this is reward

for the all the commitment over the years. We’ve stuck together as a squad and worked so hard and it has really clicked for us this year.

“I don’t score many hat-tricks so I’ll certainly take one in the Camanachd Cup Final.”

His manager Johnston Gill added: “I’m overwhelmed. This is just fantastic for the whole community and I think they were probably all here today in Oban to watch us.”

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