Skye Camanachd 3, Inverness 1
Skye overcame Inverness — and the west-coast weather — on Saturday to make it through to the first-ever final of the newly-introduced MacTavish Plate competition.
A double from Will Cowie and Shockie MacLennan’s fifth goal in four games sent Skye through to the final against Fort William on the 7th of June.
In a match played in conditions which at times bordered on the farcical — by the time the match started at 3pm the deluge had worsened substantially from the morning — both sides did their best to serve up some kind of spectacle.
In the end it was the islanders who prevailed, notching up a seventh win from eight games in all competitions so far this season. However, the city side made life tough, and again gave evidence that they are an improving team with the ability to cause some problems when league business resumes. The sides will meet again in a north first-division match at the Bught Park this Saturday.
Skye were without Neil MacVicar for Saturday’s cup tie, while Inverness travelled west missing the services of the in-form ex-Lochcarron player John MacLennan in their attack.
A fourth-minute strike from Will Cowie set the islanders on their way, but Inverness quickly struck back and Martin Davidson had the visitors level with 12 minutes on the clock. Once more Skye responded, and MacLennan edged the hosts ahead midway through the first half.
With both sides hindered by the swampy conditions on the field, the match became something of an attritional slog for long spells, although it was Skye who shaded it in terms of chances. In the end a penalty eight minutes from time settled the outcome — youngster Cowie making no mistake from the spot.
Speaking on Cullin FM after Saturday’s match, Inverness boss Allan MacLeod questioned whether the game should have gone ahead in the conditions.
But Skye manager John MacLeod felt the weather should not take away from the islanders’ performance in making it through to the final.
He said: “Conditions were bad, but at the end of the day it was referee Dave Stafford’s call whether to call the game off and he chose not to.
“It was the same for both teams. The conditions weren’t what we would have wanted, and it wasn’t pretty. But we dug deep and we’ve made the final.”
Although the new plate competition has been branded a “consolation” tournament — as it involves the teams knocked out in the first round of the RBS MacTavish Cup — MacLeod said the final was an occasion all at the club were looking foward to.
Lustre is also added to the occasion by the fact that it’s national division Fort William — only relegated from the premiership last season, and Camanachd Cup winners as recently as 2010 — who lie in wait.
“It’s a cup final, and there’s a piece of silverware to be won at the end of it, so we’re looking forward to the challenge,” the Skye manager said. “Fort William are a big name, but we will be up for it on the day.
“We can take encouragement looking at Glenurquhart. They have gone on to make it to the MacTavish final – but they only just scraped past us after extra time in Portree.”