The Camanachd Cup will reside in Wester Ross for the first time in its 125-year history as Kinlochshiel defeated Lovat 3-1 in Oban.

A hat-trick from captain Keith MacRae at Mossfield Park lit up the contest in what will go down as a famous victory.

A rousing final saw Lovat get back into the game on half-time following MacRae’s opener with an equaliser from Greg Matheson.

But the Shiel skipper completed the job for the Balmacara side.

A sparkling first half burst into life when Matheson missed out on a golden chance for Lovat and Fraser Heath hit the post at the other end, having beaten keeper Josh Grant.

Play surged from end to end and after 24 minutes. MacRae was fed from a poorly executed Lovat hit in and smashed the ball past Stuart MacDonald for the opener.

Lovat then appeared to sag and MacDonald kept them in the game with a superb save from John MacRae. But into stoppage time before the break, Matheson atoned for earlier misses and cashed in on poor defending to grab a vital equaliser.

This seemed to revive Lovat who started a more physical second half the stronger, but the next goal was Shiels’ on the hour when MacRae dashed in on a long ball from Jordan Fraser and prodded it home between keeper and defender.

There was very nearly a freak equaliser when Heath, hurling style, flicked up the ball and volleyed it from from inside his own half, and his effort was just scrambled away.

Graeme MacMillan also came very close for Lovat but Shiel held on and, with the last hit of the ball, MacRae grabbed their decisive third.

“Probably when I turn my back again, I’ll be crying,” an emotional Kinlochshiel manager Johnston Gill told the BBC.

“It’s just fantastic for everybody, for all the players, for all the community who came out to support us. It’s probably one of the best Camanachd Cup finals ever.”

Inverness Courier: 

KINLOCHSHIEL won the Camanachd Cup for the first time in their history as they defeated Lovat in the final.

Keith MacRae was the hat trick hero for the Wester Ross outfit finding the net three times during the match.

He gave ‘Shiel the lead midway through the first half when a poor hit in was pounced on and he fired a thunderous shot past goalkeeper Stuart MacDonald.


Kinlochshiel put a new name on the Camanachd Cup – and capped a day that will go down in local folklore forever – by beating Lovat 3-1 in a thrilling final at Oban’s Mossfield on Saturday.

Keith MacRae struck a hat-trick to seal a deserved victory in front of a bumper crowd – the bulk of whom had made the journey from the west.

It might have been Shiel’s first Camanachd final in 63 years, but their players rose to the challenge in all areas of the pitch to edge out a Lovat team who were making their fourth appearance in the sport’s showcase in six years.

After a cagey opening the west-coasters seized the initiative in the 24th minute – MacRae lashing home on the backhand from 15 yards after his brother John had pounced on a shanked hit-in from Lovat’s Drew Howie.

Shiel grew in confidence after the opener and it took a magnificent diving save from goalkeeper Stuart Macdonald to deny John MacRae a second before Lovat rallied towards the end of the half.

And with the interval fast approaching Greg Matheson found space on the left to send a rasping finish high beyond Josh Grant, the Shiel keeper, to square the match.

The Kiltarlity side pressed hard in the early stages of the second period, but Shiel’s defence stood firm.

And on the hour mark they broke swiftly to restore the advantage. MacRae raced onto Jordan Fraser’s lofted pass and as MacDonald advanced the Shiel attacker kept a cool head to deftly clip the ball home and make it 2-1.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Lovat, who struggled to create much in the way of clear chances thereafter. And deep into injury-time MacRae completed the fairy tale with another adroit finish for the hat-trick.

There were no shortage of contenders for the Albert Smith medal for man of the match – but the award, now in its 50th year, went to defensive lynchpin Conor Cormack.

After the match the 34-year-old hat-trick-hero, who previously feared he might have to quit the game after a succession of knee injuries, said: “It’s not really sunk it yet – at the final whistle we had people running to us and crying. It will take a while and maybe it will be a few days before it all hits home.

“It’s something we all hoped hadn’t passed us by – you need a good run of games, and fortunately it has worked out for us this year. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Kinlochshiel manager Johnston Gill, who has now led the club to the Premier League, MacAulay Cup and Camanachd Cup, added: “Lovat gave us a hard time of it, but we had Keith MacRae on fire today – the whole team were brilliant.

“It was nip and tuck after they came back to 1-1 but I think we shaded the game as a whole.

“We knew the threat they carried, but Fraser Heath was well marked by Finlay MacRae and Conor did a great job against Greg Matheson.

“We got our tactics right and used our subs well – they were all outstanding.

“It’s a fantastic day – most of the community is here with us in Oban – they are great for us, and give us fantastic backing. We will all enjoy it!”

Meanwhile, earlier in the day Skye Camanachd also had a victory to savour as their under-14 team lifted the Ken MacMaster Cup.

Goals from Seonaidh MacLeod and Alasdair Stewart sealed a 2-1 win over Fort William.


Conor Cormack celebrated his 30th birthday in style on Sunday, nursing the Albert Smith man of the match medal, as Dornie was the focus of continued Wester Ross celebrations over Kinlochshiel’s historic Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup triumph.

Runrig, in their shinty tune, sang about “the Kinlochshiel bear coming down from the cave for the clash of the ash” and that bear roared at Oban, getting his fangs on the trophy for the first time in the 125th anniversary final.

When the club gained its first honour with a 1962 Sutherland Cup success, Ian “Dubh” Fraser was the hat-trick hero – and his grandson Jordan played his part in the Reds grabbing Camanachd glory.

A massive Wester Ross support made the trek to Mossfield to cheer them on to a 3-1 victory over gallant Lovat in the Argyll sunshine.

“It’s still sinking in”, said Cormack, son of Beauly and Scotland man Roger. “We went out and played like a band of brothers, everyone working for each other because we know one another so well.

“We trained so hard for this one and it’s paid off. I think we’ve proved in the last five years or so that we’re a top team — and now we’ve taken the biggest step.”

Winning skipper Keith MacRae, clutching five-year-old daugher Mabel in one hand and the cup in the other, said: “The heat made it difficult on the pitch, but we wanted so much to win it.

“Now we’ve got that Camanachd winning feeling, we want it again. The more of these big games you win, the more prepared you are, which is why Newtonmore and Kingussie are such prolific winners.

“We can certainly kick on from here.”

The man from Kyle of Lochalsh earned himself the Freedom of Wester Ross with his matchwinning hat-trick, his first treble of the season.

MacRae, 34, was able to toast the cup with brothers Finlay, 36, and John, 30.

Finlay shrugged off a knee injury to give an imperious display at full-back, but admitted: “I was in pain during the game, but it didn’t matter – it was all about helping the team take the cup home.”

Forward John added: “It’s great that the three of us picked up winners medals together – and the terrific support of our fans drove the team on.”

The only winners from further northwest were Skye in 1990, their solitary success, and this club from Kintail, Lochalsh and Glen Shiel are now determined their victory will not be a one-off.

Manager Johnston Gill said: “We don’t want to stop at one – there’s more Camanachd Cups in this team.

“Each player gave total commitment and I hope our older players will now stay on. The fact that we now have a good group of youngsters knocking at the door will keep them on their toes.”

Mark MacDonald, whose leg seemed to be held together by sticky tape, was immense in his first start for a couple of months, while 20-year-old Duncan Matheson was tireless at wing centre.

Sadly, attacker Ally Nixon failed to recover from a hamstring injury in time, but he contributed to Shiel getting there – and his elder brother Donald did play.

Lovat president John MacRitchie rightly said that his team “looked flat” in spells of their fourth Camanachd final in six years. They certainly didn’t play badly and had their chances.

With an assist from brother John, Keith MacRae gave opposing skipper Stuart MacDonald no chance with a high drive in 21 minutes and Shiel were pushing for another before Lovat rallied to equalise right on half-time with Greg Matheson’s fine shot on the turn.

Lovat looked menacing in the first 20 minutes of the second half and the tie was finely balanced until a goal out of nothing proved pivotal. The break of the ball caught out the Kiltarity defence and MacRae pounced to cleverly flick it over the keeper.

With key man Fraser Heath hobbling, Lovat were up against it, although Shiel keeper Josh Grant did well to scramble Matheson’s fine volley off his line.

In a tense finish, Donald Nixon’s free hit opened a chance for MacRae to fire home in off the post to spark unconfined joy among the Wester Ross masses.

Seconds later referee John Angus Gillies, who had a good game, blew the final whistle – and the Kinlochshiel bear was roaring as never before.