Warm hearted congratulations to Oban Camanachd on winning the Macaulay Cup Final on Saturday, defeating Kingussie 2-1 at Mossfield.

The 2023 Macaulay Cup Final was a repeat of the 2019 edition as holders Kingussie looked to win their 6th consecutive major trophy against Oban Camanachd. The rain had fallen all throughout the morning with the pitch in great condition to play slick fast moving shinty. Going into the game, there was the unshakable expectation that Kingussie would continue to show the kind of form that had made them Grand Slam Champions the year before, however, Oban had won the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup in June and had, just the week before, secured their place in the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final.

It was Kingussie who started the brighter though, and it took just 50 seconds for them to get the first shot on target, Calum Mackintosh firing it towards goal from the right wing, however, the shot didn’t have the venom to truly test Cammy Sutherland in the Oban goals, a man who came into this game on red hot form after an outstanding performance in the Camanachd Cup Semi-Final. The first major chance of the game came in the 11th minute, a hopeful ball over the top was snapped up by James Falconer who danced past two challenges, but was unable to hit the target from 18 yards out. Again, Kingussie stepped up the pressure and this time forced a great save from Sutherland as a free hit was rolled into the path of Ruairidh Anderson – his powerful shot across goal requiring a hand from the keeper. However, from the resulting corner, the first goal of the game would come, Anderson’s driven ball in was stopped by Sutherland but as he went to clear, Calum Mackintosh was on hand to get a good block and divert the ball beyond him. Smelling blood, Kingussie fashioned another chance just a minute later, this time after some delightful dribbling from Anderson, but this time the shot would go harmlessly over the top.

On the 30th minute mark Oban made their first good chance as good work from Daniel MacVicar to pressure Kingussie keeper Rory ‘Bob’ McGregor, the ball broke then to Malcolm Clark but his shot was well stopped by the 2022 Albert Smith winner. Again, McGregor would be called into action as Camanachd started to ramp up the pressure and once again he would deny Clark from point blank range, lifting his shoulder and getting a vital block on the ball. That would be the final major incident of the fist half and there was certainly a feeling that while Kingussie had the better of the half, Oban were growing into the game.

The 2nd half begun exactly the same as the first but with Oban Camanachd fashioning a chance within seconds. Matthew Sloss drilling the ball across the D where Lewis Cameron got a lovely touch to put the ball beyond McGregor, only to be denied by great defensive work on the line from Robert Mabon. Two minutes later, Sloss picked up the ball 25 yards from the goal, slipped his marker, slalomed through two challenges and cracked the ball past McGregor in a move of ingenuity, skill and determination; the 15 year old showing that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, even on the big stage. Things would go from good to great for Camanachd as 10 minutes later they scored again, this time it was a drilled ball across the D which picked up a deflection from a Kingussie stick leaving Lewis Cameron to finish smartly on the volley beyond McGregor. Just like that, in the space of 10 minutes the game was turned on its head. From there the game turned into a real battle, with a  few half chances exchanged but Oban Camancahd had really turned up in the 2nd half and were able to shut down a Kingussie forward line that few had managed to keep quiet. Willie MacDonald brought the game to an end sending the local support into raptures as the red and blacks got their hands on the Macaulay Cup for the first time since 1995.

20 year old Blair MacFarlane was named the Man of the Match for the Final for what was a dominant 2nd half performance in the centre. All that was left was for Captain Daniel Sloss to have the honour of lifting Oban Camanachd’s 2nd trophy of the season high into the air.

Relive the drama…

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