Black and Red winners as Oban Camanachd hit 21

Oban Camanachd beat Glasgow Mid Argyll 2-0 to win their 21st Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final.

For the 2nd year in succession the final was to be played in Glasgow and at Peterson Park, Yoker. Oban Camanachd had comfortably overcome Inveraray in the Semi-Finals 4-0 at the Winterton; while GMA had a much more eventful match, winning on penalties against Kyles Athletic after a 5-5 draw. While the spectators may have hoped for something as exciting as that in the final, there is little doubt that Managers Alan MacRae and Gareth Evans wanted to see a level of control from their sides.

The teams were piped out and as referee Graham Fisher got the match underway there was a real sense of anticipation from the crowd who were enjoying the incredible late June weather. It took 7 minutes for the first major chance of the game to come, GMA’s Cameron McCue picking the ball up on the penalty spot and firing a shot which Cammy Sutherland saved well with his feet but almost conceded regardless as Cailean MacLeod ghosted in and got a shot away 8 yards from goal but he flashed wide.

Soon it was turn for Oban Camanachd to have a chance though, one of Sutherland’s powerful goal hits dropped into the final third where Daniel MacCuish outmuscled his man and pushed the ball onto Daniel MacVicar, he skipped infield and unleashed a wicked strike low into the bottom corner, leaving Jonathan Oates between the sticks with no chance. 15 minutes in and 1-0 to the pre-match favourites, there was some rumbling amongst the crowd that we could be in for a repeat of the earlier league game which ended 5-0 to Oban Camanachd.

GMA however had other ideas, they continued to battle well and matched, if not bettered, Oban in terms of chances created throughout the remainder of the half. That being said, there was little to worry either Oates or Sutherland to any great extent as both defences forced the forwards into shots from range.

The second half began in a similar vein to how the first ended, good defensive work and blocking on show but very few chances to speak of between the sides. Both teams seemed to be getting into the final third directly from defence or goal hits, thus taking the centres out of the game for long periods. On the 60th minute the first big incident of the 2nd half happened; it wasn’t a goal though but a red card. MacVicar challenged for a ball in the air and accidentally, but dangerously, followed through and made contact with Finlay Ralston flush across the faceguard – another stern reminder (as if it was needed) that helmets are an essential piece of shinty equipment. Ralston was stretchered off and would later go on to make a full recovery after being checked over by paramedics and at A&E.

With Oban Camanachd down to eleven players the question became could GMA capitalise in the last 25 minutes? While the match had been pretty even throughout, the city club were understandably starting to gain more control with the extra man and they had a great chance to equalise in the 77th minute. A quick corner found it’s way to GMA’s top goal scorer Calum McLay at the back post, his shot was well blocked by Blair MacFarlane, though the ball would fall to John McNulty on the edge of the D; unfortunately for him it just skipped under his swing and Camanachd were able to clear their lines.

Oban continued to defend doggedly and work well as a unit to shift across and cover the spare man when they had to and so it seemed it was going to end 1-0, Daniel MacCuish had other ideas though – robbing his man in the centre of the park and thundering home a scorcher of a shot from 35 yards out to make sure of the victory.

All in all a really competitive final but Oban Camanachd’s day in the end, two goals and a clean sheet for them (aided by Sutherland’s pre-match Cornetto?), GMA will feel that on another day it could have been a different story though and they certainly came to the game determined to prove it wasn’t going to be one way traffic. With Scott Mckillop announced as the man of the match, for a tremendous defensive performance for Camanachd, all that was left to do was for Captain Daniel Sloss to lift the famous trophy high into the air!

Congratulations from everyone at the Camanachd Association to Oban Camanachd!

You can rewatch the full game on BBC ALBA for the next 30 days.