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Kyles' Camanachd Cup win was well worth the 18-year wait

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Gary Innes | 19:39 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2012

Well, I don't even know where to start with this one.

Mossfield Stadium, Oban, was the setting for the 105th Camanachd Cup final and, for the first time ever, an all-South final took place in the South between Inveraray and Kyles Athletic.

More than 3000 spectators crammed their way around the field, grandstand and hill to witness this historic moment.

Inveraray won the toss and took the wind advantage from the start and made good use of it as Russell MacKinlay scored for Aray after only seven minutes to set Mossfield alight.

By the time Roddy MacDonald replied with a double and Garry MacPherson made it 2-2, Mossfield park was on fire!

A goal from Chris Crawford and a second from MacKinlay gave Aray a two-goal advantage at the break and, at this point, all four of their forwards were working extremely well together and their defence looked fairly solid.

At the other end, all Kyles' forward pressure was coming through MacDonald and their defence was not tight on their men, which I'm sure caused concern in the dressing-room at half-time.

During the break, we were treated to the sounds of international goalkeeper and Glenurquhart captain Stuart Macintosh on box and Newtonmore supporter Davie Holt on guitar. The lads had written a new shinty song called "The Caman", which is available to download from all major music sites, with 10p of all sales going to help youth shinty.

As the second-half got underway, little did Hugh Dan MacLennan and myself realise what was to come as we sat back down in our BBC commentary positions.

The second-half started a little like the first, with Inveraray moving the ball about well in the opening couple of minutes and looking confident in their movement and play.

However, Inveraray goalkeeper Graham MacPherson brought down Dunky Kerr in the box to give Kyles a penalty, which was despatched by wing centre Robbie MacLeod.

Garry Macpherson restored the two-goal cushion with a stunning goal to give the Aray supporters and manager some breathing space, but the oldest outfield player of the day, Kyles' Fraser MacDonald, was free at the back post four minutes later to rifle an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.

I can tell you at this point I nearly peed myself! This was the ninth goal in a Camanachd Cup final and, as the history books were getting checked for the most goals ever scored in a final, the game raced on.

As we were still discussing the last Kyles strike, Roddy MacDonald completed his hat trick with a simply stunning goal high into the roof of the net.

Now, at this point, I won't tell you what nearly happened to me. I'm sure you can guess.
With more than 3000 at Mossfield Stadium now trying to scream louder than the other, it was an atmosphere at a shinty match that I don't think I've experienced as a supporter before.

Kyles at this point and for the previous 20 minutes had shut up shop at the back and started to dominate the latter part of the second half. It looked as though Inveraray had run out of ideas and steam a little as we headed into the last 20.

As Kyles continued to push forward, adrenaline pumping through their veins, Roddy MacDonald ran across to meet the ball 20 yards out and drilled an unstoppable shot low past MacPherson at his right-hand post.

Mossfield sounded like a bomb had gone off. We couldn't believe what we were seeing. Kyles had scored three goals in 18 minutes to take the lead 6-5.

Inveraray just couldn't get themselves back into the game and MacPherson in the Aray goals saved time after time and, when Inveraray hit the post after a deflection from a Chris Crawford strike, you started to realise it was just not going to be their day.

As the final whistle rang out around Mossfield Stadium, a pitch invasion took place to welcome the Camanachd Cup back to Tighnabruaich after an 18-year absence.

Utter disappointment and devastation for the Inveraray team as they headed to collect their runners-up medals, joy and jubilation as Andrew King lifted high above his head the 2012 Camanachd Cup winners medal, trophy and black caman to boot.

Roddy MacDonald deservedly won the Albert Smith Memorial Medal for man of the match to add to the Kyles haul - and I hope he doesn't manage to lose it like I did in Plockton. That's another story.

An incredible end to an incredible final and I'm quite sure that, whichever day you read this this week, there will be a party going on in the village of Tighnabruiach.

Looking ahead to this weekend's fixtures in the Orion Group Premiership, Lovat have home advantage over Inveraray, while Newtonmore travel to Glenurquhart, where they will surely lift the 2012 Orion Group Premiership title.

With a goal difference of 13+ over Kyles, even if Newtonmore were to lose against Glen, it would be unthinkable to ask 14 goals of Kyles in their last fixture. Wouldn't it?

Newtonmore manager Norman MacArthur has publicly said he will step down after this season, so I'm sure he will happily leave on a high this coming weekend.

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