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Glenurquhart enjoy special day at Mossfield Stadium

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Gary Innes | 16:52 UK time, Sunday, 19 August 2012

After a 127-year absence of one of shinty's major trophies, the quiet village of Drumnadrochit awoke on Saturday as their local hero's Glenurquhart took home the Artemis MacAulay Cup.

It was a stunning day at Mossfield Stadium, Oban, where Glenurquhart met locals Oban Camanachd, but not without hitch after Glen's bus broke down on the shores of Loch Ness moments after leaving.

Each final this year has been incredibly contested between a Premiership club and a 1st Division side, with the Premiership side winning on the previous two occasions.

This final was to be no different.

Glenurquhart players celebrate winning the Artemis MacAulay Cup

Glenurquhart players celebrate with the trophy. Pic: Neil G Paterson Photography

It took Rhuaraidh Cameron only six minutes to rifle the ball into the top corner to open the scoring for Glen.

Neil Reid then continued that trend with what can only be described as a postage stamp.

Glenurquhart were firmly in the driving seat and although Oban created a few chances, the Glen defence were solid and matched everything that Oban threw at them.

Glenurquhart went on to score a further four more from Cameron, another from Reid, Lewis MacLennen and man of the match 18-year-old Fraser Heath, who had an exceptional game at full centre.

Managers Fraser MacKenzie and Drew MacNeil achieved what no other manager in Glen's history had managed before and, as the Highland supporters stormed the field to congratulate their champions, there was no question who was the better team on the day.

It was a pleasure to be part of occasion from the BBC commentary box and, as Glen's captain Stuart Mackintosh lifted the trophy high in the sky, you couldn't help but feel delighted for the club and to witness this historic moment in shinty.

In the Orion Group Premiership, Fort William thumped Camanachd Cup finalists Inveraray 5-3 at An Aird. Duncan Rodgers, who has been a stalwart in the Fort defence for years, marked his forward debut with a hat-trick. Inveraray's Euan McMurdo had pulled one back for the Argyll men but Fort's Daniel Stewart netted twice to extend the lead by four. In the dying minutes, Inveraray added to their tally through Chris Crawford and Stuart Robertson.

Kinlochshiel knocked Kingussie for six, with Rory MacGregor netting one in reply for Kings. Gordy MacDonald opened the scoring after only a minute followed by a goal from Connal Fraser and doubles by brothers John and Keith MacRae.

Kilmallie knew they needed both points at home against reigning champions Newtonmore to stand any chance of Premiership survival. Unfortunately for Kilmallie, Glen Macintosh opened the scoring for 'More after only nine minutes. Liam MacDonald managed to level the tie on 23 minutes but further goals from Danny MacRae and Glen Macintosh confirmed that the Caol men will be playing in North Division 1 next season.

A couple of weeks ago I told you about Newtonmore beating Kingussie in the Sutherland Cup final 5-4. However, 'More had fielded an ineligible player in the semi-final and final. This player was very influential in both games, scoring crucial goals. But he was cup tied after having played more than five games for the first team.

On Thursday evening the Behaviour in Sport Committee of the Camanachd
Association met to decide what action should taken.

Newtonmore held their hands up from the start when made aware of the infringement. The committee applauded that but felt there was no other action to take but to disqualify Newtonmore from the 2012 competition and replay the final with Glenurquhart taking
Newtonmore's place sincen 'More put Glen out in the semis.

Most people in the shinty community feel this is the correct decision. However, regardless of that, this will be a difficult time for the youngsters in Newtonmore who were unaware of the infringement and especially to the captain Evan Menzies who will now have to hand back his black caman and, along with his teammates, a winner's
medal.

Newtonmore should have realised their mistake earlier, the Camanachd Association should have realised the mistake earlier but measures must be put in place now to ensure this can never happen again.

The Camanachd Association have yet to confirm a date for the rearranged final between Kingussie and Glenurquhart.

So what do you think? Do you feel the Camanachd Association and Behaviour in Sports Committee made the correct decision or do you feel there was another way of dealing with this situation?

Let's hear your thoughts.

Looking ahead to this weekend's Premiership fixtures, Kinlochshiel take on Inveraray, Kyles Athletic welcome Bute, Newtonmore clash with rivals Kingussie and Fort William face Kilmallie at An Aird.

You can catch all the action live from An Aird, Fort William on BBC ALBA from 4pm, where the two Lochaber Premiership giants battle for the last time this season.

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