Sold out Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final provides rich entertainment and late drama…

Saturday 17th September saw the shinty world flock to the sold out 2022 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final in Kingussie. The final saw Kingussie take on Lovat at The Dell and was supported by a week long festival of events speared by the Final Fling post-match concert.

Deek Cameron got the game underway following a shower of rain which had left the immaculate pitch slick, perfect conditions for a game. Almost immediately from throw up, the first chance landed at the feet of Lewis Tawse, the Lovat man unable to get a clean strike away from the right hand side of the D and the ball skipped past Bob MacGregor’s post. Kingussie returned the favour seconds later, Roddy Young pushed the ball into the centre broke free of his man but fired wide from 25 yards.

On the 14 minute mark the first major chance came with Lovat’s Marc MacLachlan impressively holding off a couple of defenders before sliding the ball to Greg Matheson. Matheson ran onto the ball and leathered a shot towards the bottom right from close range, only to be denied by MacGregor.

It was Kingussie that took the lead on the 27th minute though, a Ruaridh Anderson corner was lifted into Captain Savio Genini who shrugged off his man and fired beyond Stuart MacDonald despite the Lovat keeper getting a stick to it. Soon after and it could have been two, Roddy Young skipped past his man and drove into the box, the ball deflected back to Anderson who was denied by a great stop from MacDonald. That proved to be the final talking point of the 1st half and Deek Cameron brought the teams in at 1-0.

Lovat started brightly in the 2nd half with Matheson firing just wide of the far post after some delightful linkup play down the left hand side. After making a great save with his hand from a long distance Calum MacAulay drive, Kingussie ‘Keeper MacGregor then had red and blue hearts in mouths as he ran the ball 25 yards up the pitch, Lovat however, were unable to gain the possession that would surely have meant a goal.

Undeterred, MacGregor made another great save just moments later as a Callum Cruden hit looped up and sank dangerously towards the Kingussie net. Soon after and Lovat’s pressure paid off, a corner sailed over to the opposite side where Fraser Heath took on his man and drove a ball back across to the corner taker MacAulay who cracked a powerful shot over MacGregors head from outside the D – a well worked corner routine from the Kiltarlity based side.

The game became a very physical contest after the equaliser with neither side creating too much – that was until the final 10 minutes of the game. Heath collected the ball with his back to goal, moved it side to side to create a half yard and rifled one at the Kingussie goal – MacGregor made a smart save to deny him though. The game seemed destined for extra-time when Roddy Young picked the pocket of a Lovat centre and drove up the line in what was one of the truly great moments in recent shinty. Despite a few attempts, no man, or stick, could bring Young down and after covering upwards of 40 yards he slid the ball in field to James Falconer who took a touch to control it before firing expertly into the bottom corner. 2-1 in the 88th minute and the Kingussie crowd went wild as they closed in on their 24th Camanachd Cup triumph.

Kingussie weren’t done their though – 3 minutes later Genini skipped in field from the left wing and powered one at goal, the initial attempt was saved by MacDonald but there was little he could do to stop the rebound from the onrushing Young – a goal to mark what was an incredible display from him.

With that Deek Cameron brought an end to the 126th Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final and Kingussie were once again crowned champions of Scotland. The Albert Smith Medal was presented to Kings Keeper Bob MacGregor for a stellar performance in nets.

Both sides put on an impressive display of character, passion and courage throughout the day but in the end it was Kingussie who proved to have the quality to etch their name upon the famous trophy once more.

Congratulations also must go to referee Deek Cameron and his team of officials without whom occasions like today simply would not be possible.

Commiserations to Lovat who have shown remarkable consistency appearing in 5 of the last 7 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Finals and we expect we will be seeing a lot more of them over the coming years.