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Women’s Shinty Cup Finals Weekend 2016

Women’s shinty came of age at An Aird, Fort William with the Women’s Cup Final Day in front of a packed crowd of around 700 in attendance. Lochaber quickly took advantage of goalkeeping errors by Skye as well as building on an incredible performance by their own goalie, Aeleen Campbell, to lift their first Women’s Camanachd Cup.

In the junior trophy, the Marine Harvest Challenge Cup Lovat overpowered local rivals Strathglass 7-1.
In the Blue Riband event, Lochaber faced off against newly crowned National League champions Skye Camanachd for the Valerie Fraser Trophy. Whilst on paper Skye may have had the stronger squad and form, the Spean Bridge side were roared on by a partisan home crowd. The islanders’ opportunity to emulate their male counterparts in 1990 at the same venue were dealt an early blow as Scotland international Kirsty Delaney got the luck as her speculative effort snuck past Sarah-Jane Ferguson. The Lochaber side then had a sustained 15 minute start where they pegged back the Islanders.

On the quarter hour the tide turned and Aeleen Campbell made the first brace of incredible saves from Caitlin MacLean and Jenna Beaton. Apart from a Rebecca Masson miss for Locahber, Skye tested the Lochaber goal for the next quarter hour and finally got their reward through Lorna MacRae’ s everlasting running on the half hour.

However, Kirsty Delaney had other ideas and drove into the box a couple of minutes later to restore the red and whites’ advantage. Lochaber pushed on and Skye screamed for air as halftime arrived just in time.

The second half saw Campbell continue to deny a Skye team an equaliser. Beaton, Maclean and MacRae, one of the most fluid forward lines in the game were denied by the pace of Mairi Duncan, who suffered the penalty shootout hurt with Ardnamurchan last year but has grown into one of Lochaber’s most influential players. Where Duncan and her defensive cohorts were beaten, Campbell stood solid in her goals. The game was end to end with both teams pushing forward.

But with ten minutes remaining Delaney forced the ball in off Ferguson’s legs to put Lochaber in sight of the summit. Then MacRae struck back, putting the ball into the net by sheer force of will. It was set up for a grandstand finish, until Delaney looped in a ball which Ferguson’s hand save wasn’t strong enough to stop and the ball ended up in the back of the net. The sidelines went into rapture and despite further Skye sallies, as referee Evan MacRae blew the whistle it was red and white delight in Fort William. Skye were left broken after also stumbling at the final hurdle in 2014.

Lochaber stalwart Kathleen ‘Missy’ Cameron, who had a storming performance in midfielddsaid “It’s magic, brilliant, totally fantastic. Shinty was the winner today. Skye gave us an incredible game but to win on home ground was emotional, in claiming our first ever Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup win” Aeleen Campbell’s incredible saves made her a stick on for player of the match, even upstaging young Delaney’s four goal haul.

The Challenge Cup final was much more one sided and early braces from Scotland call up Laura Gallacher and Fiona Urquhart settled the Kiltarlity side and only a fine goal from the promising Chloe Macleod meant that Strathglass were in touch at 4-1 at halftime.

However, Nicki Grant grabbed the fifth moments into the second period, then Urquhart closed things out with a further two goals, bringing her the player of the match prize and the Challeng Cup to Lovat for the first time.

WCA president Lisa MacColl paid tribute to all four teams “The level of shinty was fast paced and exciting today along with the response of the crowd. Hopefully this will encourage even more people to support and get involved with the women’s game.”

The WCA are again extremely grateful to Marine Harvest and Peter Gow for their continued support of the event.

Thanks goes to Fort William Shinty Club for incredible hospitality from a great bunch of ladies in the clubhouse and to the club for venue and great playing surface.

To Tina Marshall we are again grateful for her great photos.

Without our amazing volunteers in the WCA Events Crew and committee we could not have pulled of an event of this scale.

Further thanks goes to Our MC on the day Eoghan Stewart, Ardnamurchan Ladies Band, Cuilin FM, Tanera Camans, Fort William Bouncy Castle Hire and Great Glen Adventures who helped make the event a great family day out!

Picture courtesy of Tina Marshall copyright