Shinty underdogs set up intriguing Camanachd Cup semi-finals

By Gary InnesFort William shinty wing centre
The Camanachd Cup

Shinty's blue ribboned event, the Camanachd Cup once more did not fail to disappoint after all four underdogs incredibly progressed through to the semi-finals last weekend.

Fort William made their way through thanks to a single Gordy Mackinnon goal over Premiership side Kinlochshiel, while Kingussie's Savio Genini scored after only 20 seconds to punch through the Badenoch side against last year's finalists, Kyles Athletic.

Division 1 league leaders Skye brushed aside National Divison outfit Kilmallie 4-1 on the Cuillin isle, while Glenurquhart fought their way through with a 3-1 home win over Inveraray.

The semi-final matchups were drawn on Monday at the spectacular Eilan Donan Castle where Fort William were paird with Kingussie on 9 August, with Glenurquhart drawing Skye the following weekend. Both fixtures are scheduled to be played at An Aird, Fort William.

With Skye and Glenurquhart meeting in the second semi-final, this already guarantees a new edition to the 21st century's Camanachd final list.

Glenurquhart's last final was in 1988 and have never lifted the Camanachd Cup, while Skye's one and only victory came in 1990, when they famously beat Newtonmore at An Aird. The island of Skye was said to be deserted on cup final day, with a quote reading in one local paper, "will the last person to leave Skye, please turn out the lights!"

When the lights were eventually turned back on again, the Skye club were treated to an estimated 5,000-strong army of islanders in Portree to welcome home their heroes.

The party lasted for days and the cup was said to have spent its first night on the island alone in Portree square, as each player thought the other had it, as they drifted off to their homes in the wee small hours.

Have no fear though, when found, shinty's showpiece was still full of whisky and for the next 364 days was neither empty nor let out of sight.

For me this is one of the most exciting Camanachd Cup competitions in years. The so-called favourites are out and, with two lower division teams left in the last four, who knows what could happen?

So how do you see the semi-finals playing out?

Are we in for an all-Premiership final with Kings and Glen, or is there a bigger shock yet to come with a replay of this year's MacTavish Plate final between Skye and Fort?

Whichever way both games go, we're in for a real treat and will have plenty to talk about.


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