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Shinty loyalties tested to the limit

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Gary Innes | 11:55 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Newtonmore are back top of the Scottish Hydro Premier division, after playing the only scheduled league fixture.

It finished a comfortable 4-0 win against Lovat, to leap frog Fort William. However Fort have a game in hand.

The other two big games in the North were the MacTavish Cup semi finals. Ronald Ross was on form again, and scored all four of Kingussie's goals to a reply of one, from Beauly.

shnity_466.jpgIn the other semi, Fort William took on local rivals KIlmallie.

This was always set to be a cracker, and for many split family loyalties right down the middle.

Our manager, Peter MacIntyre's son plays for Kilmallie, alongside committee member Sunshine Rodger's boy, and even my own uncle, Lachie Innes co-manages the team.

My granny (Caol), being a die hard Kilmallie fan, has for years hated talking shinty to me, due to Fort William's success over her team, but by goodness she wanted a blether on Saturday night.

Never have I seen my granny prepare tea and scones with such a smile on her face.

Kilmallie came out the blocks like a pack of wild lions, and had a drive and desire that Fort could not contain.

Fraser Massie had the ball in the net in the fourth minute for Kilmallie, but a quick reply from Gordy Mackinnon on the sixth minute saw things level.

Kilmallie regained the lead again on 26 minutes, this time through Michael Rodgers. Liam MacDonald scored on 35 to finish the first half 3-1 for the visitors.

After a bollocking at half-time, and a good solid chat, Fort were ready to take to the field, and were determined to defeat their neighbours.

However a mere 30 seconds into the second half, Liam MacDonald's snap-shot took a ricochet off John Stewart's stick, and saw Kilmallie ahead 4-1.

Drew Ferguson and Duncan Rodgers each scored to bring Fort back into the game, however this turned out to be too big an ask for Fort.

The boys in blue were ecstatic to win 4-3.

This was the first time Kilmallie had beaten Fort William in many years, and I believe long into Sunday night the party was still going strong.

Regardless their result in the final, the Caol men will remember and enjoy this win for a long, long time.

Family rivalry and loyalties is something I'm often quizzed on, with me playing for Fort William, and my younger brother, Hughie, for Lochaber.

Being from Spean Bridge, you would assume Lochaber would be my team of choice, but due to a short gap in youth development growing up, I had to seek another club if I wanted to continue playing shinty.

Playing for clubs outwith your own village is something which is often frowned upon. In Ireland, hurling counties only accept local produce, however even if not approved by many in shinty there are no rules as to which club you play for.

How do you feel clubs should select their teams, to search out with the local area, or are you someone that feels a man should play for his own village/town as your loyalties should lie where you live?

Let's hear your thoughts on the matter.

Looking ahead to this week's fixtures, sees all Premier clubs back in league action.

Glasgow Mid Argyll, still looking for their first point, take on Glenurquhart, while Kyles Athletic host an in form Kingussie.

Newtonmore take on Lovat with home advantage this week, while Oban Camanachd tackle Bute at Mossfiled.

Fort William will be challenging the other yellow and blacks, Inveraray, at home.

Inveraray have had a great start to their cup and league campaign, and will be looking to take points from a wounded Fort.

Fort William on the other hand will be looking to bounce back, and continue with their fine league performances at the top of Shinty's Premier table.

I'm unfortunately missing helping my team mates out this week, as I'm in London performing at the Epsom Races.

If anyone has any tips or inside info, then let me know and we can go halfers.

Safe travels to all travelling clubs this week.

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