South on top in Caol Cup  

Following a series of extended North dominance, the South U21’s finally put their Highland counterparts to the sword, coming out deserved 3-1 winners in this year’s Caol Cup.  

Under 21 representatives from the North and South of shinty gathered at Canal Park on Saturday, in an annual representative match which historically acts as a pathway for future Scotland internationalists.  

The North of Scotland have boasted a prolonged period of dominance in this highly competitive clash, something which the South, managed by Robert Baxter and Stephen Campbell, were looking to bring to a halt.  

However, the North enjoyed the majority of possession during the opening 15 minutes, as the men in blue started the much brighter of the two.  A few warning shots were fired towards ColGlen’s Scott Symons in the South goal – yet this period of North control wouldn’t last long.  

The South, boasting a Premiership midfield three of Finlay Ralston (GMA), Blair MacFarlane (Oban C) and captain Conor Kennedy (Kyles), found their rhythm, as they began to win their individual battles and spray the ball long in to danger areas.  

Calls for a South penalty were waved off by referee Calum Girvan, as Skye’s Callum Nicholson looked to have kicked the ball whilst smartly denying a Conor Kennedy strike.  

South frustrations quickly turned to joy, as ColGlen’s Scott MacVicar opened the scoring on the half hour mark, with the forward striking home from 25 yards after a neat pass from Kennedy.  

The North upped the tempo following this, as this Caol Cup clash quickly became a physical affair, with both sides battling across the park as the match heated up.  

A kick in the North box forced referee Girvan to point to the spot, giving the South a huge opportunity to double their advantage. Penalty expert MacVicar stood up and made no mistake, giving the men in red a two goal cushion.  

The South were in full flow, getting the best of their opponents across the park. Kyles’ Sorley Thomson had an excellent opportunity to make it three before the interval, yet his effort from outside the area was expertly denied by Nicholson who was enjoying a brilliant afternoon between the sticks.  

The break gave the young North side a chance to regroup, as they looked to find a way back in this contest which was being dominated by a relentless South outfit.  

Fort William’s Victor Smith would give his side a lifeline, as he reacted quickest to send a left-sided effort beyond Symons in the South goal to make it 2-1 with a lot of shinty left to play.  

However, only two minutes later, Ardnamurchan’s Herbie Patterson restored the South’s two goal cushion. The towering forward broke away from a penalty spot stramash, before planting a low strike in to the net, leaving Nicholson with no chance.  

Throughout the remainder of the contest, the South looked very comfortable, with any rare North venture in to their half being swept away by the stubborn South back line. Particularly, Oban Celtic’s Jamie Forgrieve denied a multitude of potential attacking opportunities, as he dominated at half-back. 

Referee Girvan eventually blew for full-time, crowning the South U21’s deserved Caol Cup Champions for 2021.  

Writen by Cameron Middleton (Dunoon Observer)

Photo's courtesy of the Dunoon Observer.