Kingussie U17s beat Newtonmore in first shinty game after lengthy Covid lay-off
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Competitive shinty has made its long-awaited and much-anticipated return with Kingussie beating Newtonmore 1-0 in the under-17s London Shield.
The local derby on Tuesday evening was the first match to be held since Covid-19 curtailed the 2020 season after just one round of senior fixtures in early March last year.
But the 14-month wait ended with a thrilling 80 minutes served up at the Eilan by the youngsters, who showed no sign of a lack of match fitness, or finesse.
James Blair struck in the 24th minute to break the deadlock and claim the victory for Kingussie with a wonderful effort from distance.
Blair cut in from the right and hit a screamer from 20 yards into the top left-hand corner of the net to score what proved to be the winner.
Kingussie manager Dallas Young was delighted to see the game’s return to its heartland.
He told the Strathy afterwards: “It was a superb game. From the first minute to the last minute, the game was always in the balance. It was a classic under 17s match.
“We performed superbly to win the game and both teams deserved massive credit for how they went about it.
“It was a great advert for under-17 shinty. James’ goal was worthy of winning any game.
“Both defences were on top, and it was going to take something really special.
“Both keepers were excellent on the night.”
The only disappointment on an otherwise great night for local shinty was that spectators could not enjoy the clash, with only parents and guardians were allowed.
Young said: “It was the only down side of the entire evening.”
It is not yet known when fans will be allowed to return.
The Kingussie boss paid tribute to the army of volunteers who helped get the game on safely during the pandemic.
He said: “A lot of people behind the scenes made Tuesday night possible and for that we thank them.
“A lot of work went on – especially ticking boxes – to get the game on.”
There were no competitive junior fixtures during the 2020 season.
“The season never got up and running last year because of the pandemic,” said Young.
“So for the two teams to produce the performances that they did was incredible."