NEWTONMORE lifted the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup for a third consecutive season when they beat Lovat 3-0 in the final at Oban’s Mossfield Stadium on Saturday. The convincing manner of the victory over a team who have been nipping at their heels throughout the Marine Harvest Premiership campaign will perhaps silence the doubters who, after More’s somewhat shaky start to the season, pronounced them to be a side whose best days were behind them.

For Newtonmore half-back Andy MacKintosh – who picked up the coveted silver mounted caman traditionally awarded to the winning captain – there never should have been any such doubts. “We started the season short of some key players through injury but we knew that when we got these lads fit again we would be right back,” he said. “We know that if we get ahead we have a defence that can allow us to hold on to our lead and see out the game.

“Lovat gave it everything but although our keeper, Kenny Ross, had to deal with one or two tricky stops in the second half, we didn’t really feel under threat at the back.”

For Lovat, also beaten by Newtonmore in the 2017 final but by the closer margin of 3-2, their experience of shinty’s big day became more and more dispiriting as the afternoon wore on. They just about held their own in the early stages as the two teams felt each other out but there were clear signs Newtonmore were on the front foot.

Eventual man of the match Evan Menzies and then Iain Robinson wasted chances to test Lovat’s international keeper Stuart MacDonald. After 10 minutes More half-forward Mike Russell produced the first serious strike of the afternoon but MacDonald palmed his drive past a post. Lovat’s top scorer Greg Matheson struggled unsuccessfully to get free from his marker, Rory Kennedy, and his fellow forward Marc MacLachlan only got marginally more room from Norman Campbell. At the other end, Robinson, Menzies and full-forward Glen Mac-

Kintosh put together some crisp passages of passing play to stretch the Lovat defence time and again.

More’s reward came after half an hour when a ball across from wing-centre David MacLean was pushed on by Glen MacKintosh into the path of Menzies. He twisted and turned to make space for the strike and eventually fired the ball low through the legs of Lovat defender Craig Mainland and past the unsighted MacDonald.

Lovat almost bounced back immediately when a MacLachlan ball into the “D” was knocked into the net by Matheson but the strike was ruled offside by goal judge Lachie Wood. That, plus a solitary MacLachlan strike which was saved comfortably by Ross, was as good as it got for the Kiltarlity side in the first half.

And just before it ended, matters were to get a whole lot worse. After

42 minutes, Glen MacKintosh knocked forward a modestly paced ball on to goal which surprisingly beat MacDonald, though he may have been distracted by Robinson running across his line of vision.

Straight from the restart, Newtonmore picked up their third goal of the afternoon when MacDonald mis-judged a speculative shot from Menzies and was beaten at his near post.

The second half, with Lovat trying to claw back a 3-0 deficit against the best defence in the sport, was an anti-climax and while MacDonald in some measure redeemed himself by denying Menzies his hat-trick with a superb overhead stop, it is not a match that he or his team-mates will recall with any fondness in years to come.