It was a gorgeously warm Summer day as Kilmallie and Lochaber met at Spean Bridge for the Ferguson Transport & Shipping Balliemore Cup Final. The pitch and venue were both immaculate and prepared to a standard befitting the occasion, hundreds of tickets had been sold in advance and it was clear from well before throw up that we were set for one of the most heavily attended Balliemore Cup Finals in recent memory.

Coming into the game, Lochaber boasted a victory over their Caol neighbours in the league, however, Kilmallie were hot on their heels in and there was a sense that the match was on a knife edge. It was the blues who started the brightest, getting their first shot away just 3 minutes after Des McNulty threw the ball into the air to start the match, the effort just skipping wide of keeper Calum MacDonald’s post. Two minutes later and Lochaber replied with a chance of their own, the ball played into Ben Delaney who turned his man in a Bergkampesque fashion, spun the other way and pushed it beyond the onrushing goalkeeper, 1-0 to Lochaber and a goal that settled a lot of nerves for the red and whites.

Kilmallie’s response was good though and it wasn’t long before Martin Stewart drew a save out of MacDonald with a shot from the left that needed saving. 10 minutes later and MacDonald was forced into a very similar save, Kilmallie working the ball down the left flank handily, this time it was a shot from Callum MacDougall (scorer of 5 goals in the Semi-Finals) that well stopped by the Lochaber keeper. The game continued to be end to end but Lochaber’s shots weren’t accurate enough to trouble Kevin Toye; MacDonald would go on to make his third solid save of the half just 10 minutes before the break, this time using the stick to deny Ben MacKinnon from close range. Des McNulty brought the half to a close with the score still 1-0 and both sides probably fairly happy with their performance in the opening 45 minutes.

The 2nd half started much as the 1st half ended, with both teams exchanging chances at a ferocious pace. 11 minutes after the restart though, Lochaber took one, doubling their lead after a corner from Captain, Pat Toal fell to Delaney, the forward made no mistake form 6 yards and knocked it into the goal, much to the delight of those in red and white hoops. Again, Kilmallie responded quite well, kept their defensive shape and continue to pursue chances to reduce the deficit.

With time waning on though it was clear they would have to be more aggressive in a bid to get back into the game and this is when Lochaber struck. The third goal came from another Toal corner, this one skipping through to Connor Sweeney at the back post, his shot was well saved by Toye, however, there was nothing he could do about Delaney’s rebound – a hat-trick for Lochaber’s top scorer in all competitions and one step closer to lifting the Balliemore Cup for the first time since 2012. If that put them one step closer, Findlay MacDonald’s goal 2 minutes later meant they could touch the cold silver handles; this time Delaney turned creator as he slipped through a ball, many though the chance had gone as it clipped high into the air off a defenders stick but MacDonald was on hand to score from a tight angle, cracking the bouncing ball into the roof of the net. The icing on Lochaber’s victory sponge was applied 13 minutes from time as the returning Max Campbell fired home from 25 yards after a neat layoff from Delaney.

The remainder of the match saw Kilmallie continue to battle with the determination they had shown for the majority of the game, however, it was too be in vain as Lochaber would go on to lift the 2023 Ferguson Transport & Shipping Balliemore Cup.


Jack Dignan was presented with the man of the match award by Strathglass Shinty Club in memory of Captain Archibald Macra Chisholm of Glassburn, the first Chieftain of the Camanachd Association.

Immerse yourself in the excitement of a shinty cup final...

Events powered By Skiddle