Shinty: Newtonmore & Inveraray reach MacAulay Cup final

By Charles BannermanBBC Scotland
Newtonmore v Lovat
Newtonmore beat Lovat to reach the MacAulay Cup final

Holders Newtonmore will meet Inveraray in the final of the Artemis MacAulay Cup at Oban on 22 August following victories by two-goal margins in their respective north and south semi-finals.

In Beauly, Newtonmore withstood a strong fight-back from Lovat to progress 4-2 while it was 2-0 for Inveraray against Oban Camanachd at Mossfield Park.

Results elsewhere meant that Newtonmore also retained their three-point lead in the Marine Harvest Premiership where Kyles Athletic could be emerging as their main challengers after a 10-0 thrashing of Kinlochshiel at Tighnabruich.

However, Lochaber remain second despite losing 4-3 at home to Glenurquhart while Kingussie slipped into possible relegation danger after their 2-0 defeat at Fort William.

At Beauly, Newtonmore looked to have all but won the game in the first half with an opener from Evan Menzies before Glen MacKintosh completed a double just on half-time.

However, Lovat reappeared with all guns blazing and pulled one back within two minutes with a disputed penalty from Greg Matheson, who aggravated a hamstring injury during the game. Just after the hour, Callum Cruden had an easy tap-in to make it 3-2 but it remained in the balance until Jamie Robinson smashed in what turned out to be the final goal of the game.

This leaves Newtonmore still on track to win all three of shinty's national titles.

Meanwhile, Inveraray won their place in the final with a first-half goal from Euan McMurdo and one in the second from Lewis MacNicol. Camanachd had James MacMillan sent off.

In the Premiership, Kyles ran riot at Tighnabruich against a Kinlochshiel side which just eight days previously had been sitting second in the table but has now lost three in a row and dropped to fifth.

Grant Irvine opened the scoring and went on to complete a hat-trick while there were two each from Dunkie Kerr and Roberto Zavaroni. Roddy MacDonald, Ross MacRae and Innes MacDonald all also grabbed one.

Leaders Newtonmore have 18 points from 10 games and while Lochaber have 15, they have played 14, which leaves Kyles with 13 points from nine outings, as More's biggest threat.

The outcome at Spean Bridge - a single-goal victory for the visiting team - was the same as when Lochaber and Glenurquhart met a week previously in Drumnadrochit.

And again the losing home side scored first when Conner Sweeney found the net for Lochaber, only to have that cancelled out by Fraser Heath. James MacPherson gave Glen the lead but Stuart Callison made it 2-2 on the stroke of half-time. What clinched the game for Glenurquhart was Heath completing his hat-trick in the second half before Callison got his second and Lochaber's third right at the end.

Kingussie's reverse at Fort William was their fourth in a row in the league and the former multiple champions are now five points clear of Inveraray in the play-off place but with two extra games played. A goal in each half from Duncan Rodger settled the issue for Fort whose Ewen Campbell was sent off.

The National Division seems to be fast becoming a two-horse race between Skye and leaders Kilmallie after victories for both.

In Portree, Skye went 3-0 up before half-time and survived despite being pegged back to 3-2 by Inverness. And at Kilmallie, Michael Rodger's five first-half goals included first and 45th-minutes in a game where the score at both half-time and full time was 6-0.

Kilmallie now have a maximum 12 points at the six-game halfway point in their programme with Skye one point behind while Beauly and Glasgow Mid Argyll are a further three points adrift with an extra game played.

Caberfeidh won 6-0 at Ballachulish.