120 minute thriller in cottages.com MacTavish Cup Final

Kinlochshiel 3 Kingussie 2

The last senior final of the 2021 shinty calendar took place at Bught Park, Inverness on Saturday 23rd October as Kinlochshiel added the final piece of their trophy cabinet jigsaw, beating Kingussie 3-2 after extra-time.

With the sound of the Legion Pipe Band still ringing in the ears of many Des McNulty opened the game and camans clashed for the first of many times. It took just 10 minutes for the first goal to arrive and it fell the way of Kingussie, Dylan Borthwick fed Ruaridh Anderson on the right wing who fired past Josh Grant to continue what had been a great season for the young star.

Kingussie continued to apply pressure and had the vast majority of the territory until Shiel levelled against the run of play. Keith MacRae was strong and dug the ball out from his feet, sliding a pass into Jordan Fraser who shot across and beyond Bob MacGregor at the far post. The match was a bit more even after that and half chances went begging for both sides before the interval.

Half-time came and went and the players reappeared for what was going to be a huge second half in the battle to be the most successful 2021 senior shinty side. It settled into a familiar pattern with Kingussie dominating possession but Shiel looking dangerous on the counter. Josh Grant made a number of good stops in the half but would’ve been far busier had it not been for the tireless defensive work of Finlay MacRae.

No goals in the second period meant Extra-Time beckoned and this time it was the west coast side who were fastest out of the traps, a shy from Donald Nixon dropping at the feet of John MacRae who pushed it to the side of Alexander Michie and fired high into the net – advantage Shiel with 3 minutes left in the half.

The goal of the game and perhaps even contender for the season belonged to young Archie MacRae who picked the ball up out on the left wing and with a delightful bit of skill pushed it through the legs of Kingussie Captain, Rory MacKeachan before going to the bye line and finishing at a very acute angle. Naturally, this sent the Shiel fans, who were out in their numbers once again, into raptures. 10 minutes left in the game and a two goal lead would surely be enough to see the match through. Right?

Kingussie continued to fight with the dogged determination of Champions and a team that doesn’t know when it is beat. A free hit from James Hutchison was flicked into the air in front of the Shiel goal leaving Ryan Borthwick to knock home above his head from 3 yards out.

However, it proved too little too late for the Macaulay Cup Champions as following the restart Des McNulty brought the game to an end. A fantastic spectacle of shinty between two of the best competitors in the 2021 season was a fitting end to the cup season. Man of the Match Finlay MacRae who consistently battered away Kingussie attacks collected the Tom MacKenzie Medal for Man of the Match, following which brother Keith walked to the royal box to be presented with Shiel’s first ever MacTavish Cup by Mark Whitehouse from sponsors cottages.com.