THE Artemis Macaulay Cup was the main focus of this weekend’s shinty, with Oban Camanachd’s 4-1 victory over Glasgow Mid Argyll in the south area taking them to the final for the first time since 2012. It was Glenurquhart they lost to on that occasion, not that anyone would bet on Oban being on the losing side this time round.

The present squad has come a long way since then, as their top scorer and man of the match Andrew MacCuish can testify: “Myself and a number of the older lads went through the dark days when we were relegated from the Premiership then forced to rebuild and win promotion. It’s good to get rewarded for the hard work we put in and nice to see young lads coming through and developing a hard-work ethic too – and that can be seen from the fact our second team Lochside Rovers beat Lovat 2-1 at Fort William to win the HIS Sutherland Cup on Saturday.

“There’s a good feel about the club just now and we hope we can keep it going.”

Oban, as is always in their game plan, started on the offensive and took the game to Glasgow Mid Argyll who play a league below them in the National Division. Despite the difference in status, Glasgow are a sticky team and though strong running from Oban forwards Daniel Cameron and Willie Neilson gave them some early problems, it was Mid Argyll who had the game’s first clear chance. However, frontman Calum MacLay’s strike was just wide of the target.

Oban though had the clear upper hand in the early exchanges, and eventually in the 19th minute they made the breakthrough when a cutback from Cameron set up Willie Neilson for a shot on goal. His strike was well-saved by Glasgow keeper Robert Dunnings, only for the ball to fall kindly for youngster Daniel MacVicar who knocked home the opener from close range.

The second Oban goal came shortly after when, with the Mid Argyll defence struggling to clear, the ball fell to MacCuish. The Oban striker took a touch to give himself space and on his back-hand fired the ball the ball past Dunnings.

The third Oban counter came shortly afterwards – again from the caman of MacCuish – but this time from the penalty spot when, following a scramble to clear the ball after another Dunning’s save, defender Garry Luke was judged by referee Robert Baxter to have kicked the ball inside the D .

The final Oban strike of the afternoon came just before the half-time break when good midfield play saw a long ball forward by Scott MacMillan controlled by Daniel MacVicar who struck it on the turn.

Glasgow lifted the level of their performance after the break, limiting Oban to very few chances, and though their defenders were stretched at times, goalkeeper Dunnings had relatively little to do in the second period. Eventually, just before the final whistle, following an initial blocked strike from winger Mark Bain, centre Brian Slattery, who had been pushed forward as his side tried desperately to salvage something, scored for Mid Argyll with a fine strike from all of 20 yards.

It was too late to affect the result however. Oban now look forward to the final on August 17 where they will face Kingussie who won the north area semi-final at Beauly, defeating Newtonmore 2-1 thanks to goals from Ryan MacWilliam and Ruaraidh Anderson.