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Newtonmore U17 team lose out to Skye Camanachd in Mowi London Shield final

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Skye Camanachd U17 4-0 Newtonmore U17

SKYE Camanachd U17 retained the Mowi London Shield with a 4-0 win over Newtonmore U17 in the final at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree.

With a number of the Newtonmore youngsters involved in the second team's march to the Mowi North Division 1 title, this final was delayed a number of weeks and with no neutral pitches available, the venue was decided by a toss of the coin, which Skye won.

The sides had met once already this season when More won 4-2 after extra time in the MacTavish Juvenile Cup semi-finals before losing out to their Kingussie counterparts in the final.

There was a reasonable crowd for this national final and Newtonmore travelled with a good support but they were rocked when Skye took the lead after just 50 seconds.

Calum MacKay's hit-in from the right found Taylor Matheson who got away from his marker before running in on goal.

Keeper Xavio Vastano came off his line but Matheson managed to force the ball home to make it 1-0.

There were early chances at both ends as Skye's Archie MacDonald shot wide of goal but 'More responded and Xander Ross set up Arron MacBean who took the ball to the left of the D but he couldn't get a shot on goal.

Skye edged the early pressure but Richie Irvine's ball set up Arron MacBean for a 'More chance but his fierce shot went wide with Skye keeper Murphy Henderson diving across his goal to cover.

However it was Skye who added a second goal on 19 minutes.

Ross Gordon sent a free hit forward to Matheson who got a shot in on goal and the ball went over the line off the keeper's legs.

The final was being played at a good pace and Vastano saved well with his feet to deny Archie MacDonald.

Play switched to the other end and Struan Ross shot wide of the post after good play from Daniel Craven.

'More pressed to pull a goal back before the break and, in first half stoppage time, Skye keeper Murphy Henderson had to make a good stop with his hand, saving MacBean's shot following Mack Gordon's corner on the right, so Skye led 2-0 at the end of the first 40 minutes.

There was a lively start to the second half and some lovely skills from Matheson created a chance when juggled the ball over marker James Ross before running through on goal but he could not finish.

Richie Irvine then threatened at the other end before good defending from 'More's Dylan Randall cleared the danger after MacDonald sprinted down the Skye right. It took a fine flying save from Xavio Vastano, diving to his right, to keep out Matheson's shot and Gordon went close from the resultant corner.

It was then Skye keeper Henderson's turn to shine as he saved well with his feet from 'More substitute Tristan Ross.

Newtonmore, with Sorley Thomson a bundle of energy up front, were now enjoying their best spell in the game and the next goal in the final looked crucial and it almost came when Declan Brannan, who was now pushed into attack, jumped to get on the end of a corner from the right but the ball dropped just the wrong side of the post.

Henderson then raced off his line to clear the danger as Craven got sight of goal and Brannan's turn and shot soon after was deflected for a corner.

Brannan certainly added threat to the 'More attack and it took a solid Ross MacKinnon challenge to snuff out a shooting chance whilst 'More's Charlie Ferguson did very well to clear his lines when Taylor Matheson looked set to shoot.

Such was Newtonmore's pressure that Skye's third goal came against the run of play as Matheson completed his hat trick on 67 minutes.

Gordon played the ball forward to Taylor Matheson and his initial 28 yard shot was saved by Vastano who got the ball away ahead of onrushing Skye substitute Angus Gilpin.

Skye regained possession and keeper Vastano then moved to his left to save well with his stick from Gilpin but he could do little as Calum MacKay played the ball back into the danger area and Matheson blasted home, low into the net from a tight angle on the left.

Skye sealed the win just four minutes later when a terrific strike from Cameron MacKay made it 4-0.

Cameron Campbell won possession in midfield before finding Archie MacDonald. He quickly played the ball off to Cameron MacKay who drove forward before sending a great drive on his left side which went just inside the keeper's right post.

Newtonmore never let their heads drop and Sorley Thomson's snap-shot whistled past the keeper's right post and, with Charlie Ferguson providing good ball down the right, Declan Brannan also shot wide of goal.

As injury time loomed, there was a late booking for Skye keeper Henderson for time-wasting; the only yellow card of the match.

After the final whistle, Skye captain Murphy Henderson was presented with the London Shield by John Angus Gillies from sponsor Mowi who also handed out the medals.

There were a number of contenders for man of the match including Skye pair Taylor Matheson and Ross MacKinnon as well as 'More's Struan Ross, Declan Brennan and Charlie Ferguson. However Skye's Ross Gordon was the recipient of the Douglas Mackintosh Memorial Medal as man of the match following a tremendous performance in midfield.

The medal was presented by Newtonmore stalwart John MacKenzie who was confirmed as Camanachd Association Chieftain at the Camanachd Association annual general meeting on Friday night.

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