Friday, September 05, 2008

Glen Pass the Beauly Test - Just !

Glenurquhart 3 Beauly 1
With five games still to go at 2.25 on Saturday it was clear that every game yet to come was as important and as big as the MacTavish Cup final. At 4.20 on Saturday with two points having been collected from a difficult game against Beauly, it was still true. Every one of the remaining four games is as big as the MacTavish Cup final and with Kilmallie posting a 4-0 nil victory on the island against Skye ,it could be that the pressure is beginning to build. It is not really : we are now into classic one game at a time territory and its better to be there than nowhere. The next potential banana skin is Cabers and that day will come when it comes. All that matters is to keep the nerve and possibly stick pins in a doll of wee Archie the Goalie. May the Gods of Shinty decree he has an off day.
For the Wing Centre however, the Beauly game was more than a little close for comfort. Never one to be optimistic , he spent the whole first half pretending to be cheerful while secretly hoping that Sean Stewart and Barry Macdonald would trip over and twist an ankle in one of the marks left by the caber from last week’s games. Uncharitable thought- but that is what the Beaulies can push you to.
The Glen had the upper hand in the first part of the first half but despite clear territorial advantage, there seemed to be little sense of progress up front. Early on both Lewis Maclennan and Neale Reid had chances but pushed the ball wide while Calum Miller, starting after a fine display against Kinlochshiel found the going harder against full back Roger Cormack.
A word here about Roger. It has always been clear that he was one of the best players in the game. Full back is his true position and it was the Glen’s bad luck , that after a season playing somewhere else on the field, the Green and Whites persuaded him to turn out in the back line.
In the course of the afternoon along with Innes Simpson at half-back who was also on song , he was the main man holding the line. The Glen variously tried three different players on him and despite the fact that the goals eventually came, no-one in the home dressing room could say other than “Some player that Roger Cormack” Fair as well. There were a couple of occasions when young Neale Reid-one of the three who faced him - managed to get into his stride and get slightly ahead of Roger but there was no attempt to halt the young man illegally.
No doubt Roger has gone through his career with few medals of substance to show for all his years at the top. There will be guys in other areas with Camanachd Cup medals and perhaps silver mounted camans on the wall that don’t have half his ability-but then again that’s the way it goes.
Of course the Glen should have gone ahead in 34 minutes when a drive up from Dave Maclennan in the centreline left “Corky” Corrigan with the goal at his mercy and the defenders off the pace. The goal remained at his mercy for an agonising spell while Corky deliberated as to what he might do. In the end he decided to save his best strike for a more auspicious occasion and the Beauly defence breathed a sigh of relief. Not for long however because in the very next minute Cork turned provider and having raced onto a through ball he pushed it across the face of goal where it fell nicely for Calum Miller who slipped it in from close range.
Any thoughts that the floodgates might open were quickly dispelled when after a period of pressure which forced Stuart Mackintosh into two neat saves, Sean Stewart rattled one home for Beauly. A vintage goal from Stewart but fortunately rare enough for him these days for it to be snapped and the photograph put up for auction at the Phipps Hall.
The second half saw the Glen continue to press and the breakthrough was always going to come when Beauly’s full centre Jamie Maclennan ran out of puff. The two Maclennans , Glen’s Dave and Beauly’s Jamie, had been conducting, for parts of the afternoon at least their own private battle over the peat-cutting rights to , one assumes, Strathconan . It was at times fierce and , when they shook hands, at times friendly but in the end when Jamie tired there was to be no way back for the Greens.
In no time Neale Reid had latched on to a ball and Steven Lymburn had to make an excellent save; then Eddie Tembo was caught by a late swing from Connor Ross which probably merited a booking.
Finally just before things began to get desperate for the Glen , Reid released Corrigan who bulleted a low hard shot off the inside of Lymburn’s post to put the Glen one up. It was left to Lewis Maclennan to wrap up the points for the Glen when, after some confusion in the Beauly defence he latched on to an imperfect clearance and walked the ball into the D before slipping it over the line to make the points safe.
“Good luck for the rest of your season,” said Barry Macdonald as he went into the dressing room at the end of the game. A nice gesture but not something the Cabers boys will say-at least until after tomorrow.
So there’s nothing for it then but to beat Cabers -if not for ourselves then for Barry and the Beauly boys who now support us . They would hate to have been beaten by a side that can’t beat Cabers.

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