Late heartbreak for Scotland as Irish win series
In true Scottish sporting fashion, our shinty team lost the series against the Irish to an offside goal in the dying minutes.
Following our 19-14 loss in Athy, Ireland led 2-1, so we needed a win in Inverness on Saturday.
With the crossing of shinty and hurling codes, the scoring system is a little complicated and it's been a struggle for us players to get our heads round it.
However, the instructions from boss Drew MacNeil were simple. Get yer ass out there, win, and don't let them score two goals. Simple!
I had just picked up my new custom designed helmet the day before from the lads in 'All Round Signs' Fort William, who had managed to pimp my headgear out with a saltire, tartan, and a big set of eyes on the front for good luck.
Surely four eyes would help me find the goal better than two?
Ireland came out on top in an exciting shinty / hurling series (pic: Neil G Paterson)
With a strong wind at our backs, Scotland came out flying in the first half, with outstanding points from Caberfeidh's Kevin Barklet, and a 70-yard goal from Kinlochshiel's Findlay Macrae, which seemed to deceive the Irish keeper in the air.
Scotland were 9-4 in front at the break but we knew Ireland would be dangerous having the wind in the second half.
With the visitors seeing more of the ball, the Irish started to claw back points but Kevin Barklet was still topping up the Scottish tally in return.
With 25 minutes remaining, I scored Scotland's last point to take our tally to 14 points.
As for the Irish they continued to run at us and nail the ball 80-90 yards over the bar for single points time and time again.
With a few minutes remaining, a huge skelp from the midfield assisted by the wind came in high at Scotland keeper Stuart Macintosh, who seemed to lose concentration for a split second as he padded the ball into his own net.
This blunder looked sure to be overturned as the goal judge waved his flag for offside but referee David Mitchell disagreed, and for the second time in three years made the incorrect decision in the dying moments to deny Scotland.
In fairness the Irish full forward that was offside did not play any part in the goalkeeping error so we can't be too hard on Mr Mitchell on this occasion.
Ireland now led 15-14 and because they had scored their second goal of the game they claimed their extra bonus point, which meant they were now leading the series 3-1.
A win for Scotland would now only take us to 3-3, meaning the Irish would win on last weekend's score, so we needed a goal.
And a late chance fell to Barklet.
As Kevin stepped up and nailed the ball towards goal, his low drive bounced up and hit the Irish keeper's hurl, bringing the Bught Park crowd and I'm sure every Scotland fan watching at home, to their feet, before battering the ball away to safety.
The final whistle rang out seconds later much to our disappointment. So, so close, yet no cigar. Ach well I hate cigars anyway...
It was a fantastic series once again and each and every Scottish player can be very proud of their efforts over the past few months.
From the huge drives for many to attend training sessions, to the way each individual conducted themselves on and off the field, they were a credit to their country.
This pretty much wraps up the 2011 shinty season for most.
However, Kyles Athletic are still chasing their first ever Premier title with three games remaining, with defending champions Newtonmore hot on their heels.
Then, of course, there is the relegation battle to be decided. Will it be Lovat, Oban Camanachd or Inveraray to go down?