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Camanachd Cup dreams for Innes

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Gary Innes | 14:12 UK time, Monday, 28 May 2012

It was derby day in the Orion Group Premiership, when the Camanachd Association paired up as many local rivals as possible on the same day.

BBC ALBA also got involved with the big day and broadcast Kingussie's clash with Newtonmore live from Badenoch.

In blistering heat, with temperatures reaching close to 30 degrees in the North, it was certainly a day to keep the water bottles topped up.

Kingussie v Newtnmore

Newtonmore were many people's favourites going into this derby match, but it was King's goal machine, Ronald Ross, who opened the scoring after 16 minutes.

Newtonmore's John Mackenzie levelled the tie before Ross scored his second shortly before half time.

With only ten minutes remaining, 'More's Calum Stewart saved the day for the Newtonmore supporters as his late strike earned a share of the points with the match finishing 2-2.

Incredibly, Inveraray annihilated Kinlochshiel 7-1 at the Winterton Park.

However, it was 'Shiel who took the lead through Finlay MacRae, before 'Rary started their onslaught.

Two goals apiece from Russell MacKinlay and Euan MacMurdo, followed by singles from Garry MacPherson, Ruaridh Graham, and Andrew MacMurdo, sent the Wester Ross men home to think again.

Lovat also thrashed Glenurquhart in a high-scoring 5-1 victory.

Greg Matheson was the hat-trick hero at Kiltarlity, with his goal topped up by Martin Bell and Owen Ferguson.

Euan Menzies popped in 'Glen's consolation goal late in the game.

Roddy MacDonald's 45th-minute strike sealed both points for Kyles Athletic over Bute.

This win leaves Kyles and Newtonmore joint-top with 14 points.

In Lochaber, Kilmallie hosted Fort William at the Canal Parks.

I was sorry to miss the big match but sat constantly on the phone throughout the match trying to keep up to speed.

It was Daniel Stewart who drew first blood for Fort William shortly before half time.

Youngster Ryan Campbell then gave Fort a two goal cushion before Martin Stewart pulled one back for Kilmallie.

However, Campbell restored Fort's two goal advantage seconds later to finish the match 3-1.

It's the second round of the Scottish Hydro Camanachd Cup this weekend and, joining all the 1st Division teams who have already progressed through, are the Premier clubs.

If you're unfamiliar with it, the Camanachd Cup is like the 'World Cup' of Shinty, except with only Scotland playing in it.

For many a senior Shinty player the season revolves around the Camanachd Cup.

Shinty must be one of the only sports that I can think of where one cup means more to a player than winning the league, or any other trophy, on the way.

It really is that simple.

It's possibly to do with the huge crowds and media attention that it attracts - the live BBC coverage - or that it's a spectacular looking beast, but the hype and magic that the Cup brings with it cannot be beaten in our sport.

Last year's final saw Newtonmore lift the trophy for the first time in over 25 years as they beat local rivals Kingussie in extra-time.

The victory brought the Highland village to a standstill for nearly a week, as the Ballival Hotel became home to one half of Badenoch.

I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have five Camanachd Cup winners' medals, and three runners up (but I don't like to talk about them).

To play in a Camanachd final is a shinty player's dream, and to win it is a different story altogether.

The Camanachd Cup final will be played at Mossfield Stadium, Oban on Sat 15th September.

The 2nd round fixtures are as follows.

Glasgow Mid Argyll v Kyles Athletic, Kinlochshiel v Kingussie, Lochaber v Bute, Lovat v Kilmory, Skye v Glenurquhart, Newtonmore v Beauly, and Inveraray v Strathglass.

Fort William travel once more over to Caol to face Kilmallie for the second week in a row.

Fort may have beaten Kilmallie last weekend, however, this weekend will be a whole different challenge for Peter Macintyre and his troops.

Returning to the Kilmallie squad after suspension is their top marksman, John Stewart, while Fort's Duncan Rodger, Neil Robertson, Brian Simpson and myself are all unavailable through work commitments and suspensions.

There will be a few nails getting bitten to the bone before a ball is even hit on Saturday, including my own.

So who do you think this year will lift Shinty's most prized possession?

Safe travels to all clubs and supporters.


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