Hold the back page! Narrow victory for Kyles in the Glen.
Glenurquhart 1 Kyles Athletic 2
Hardly the best day at the office for the Glen but if you’re being truthful- and there are occasions when the Wing Centre is truthful to the point that it hurts –then Kyles looked a fine team and showed the Glen players and spectators alike just what movement up front is all about. For all their lively running however Kyles only scored twice and the second strike, for all that it came after some flowing forward play, was the classic strike every shinty goalie hates-:the ball is hit firmly but topped into the rock hard Blairbeg turf and it then spins past Smack to seal the match. However, Colin McColl had to be there to hit it home and if there is one lesson Kyles attempted to teach the Glen it was that you have to be direct in front of goal. They got a chance –they took a shot -and in the latter part of the game the musical goalie had to be on song to make two very good stops and one agonising nerve testing tip over the bar of a high mishit dropping ball. But then that is why he is in between the sticks .
At the other end Kenny Macdonald-the guy must have a portrait up the stair beneath the thatched roof on his cottage-is still the man. He dealt professionally with everything that the Glen hit at him- ok not so very much- but the shots which were on him were removed from the danger zone with calm confidence and the one really dodgy save he had to make from a ball driven hard at the start of the second half by Eddie Tembo (it seemed to get stuck under big Kenny’s feet) he whipped away to safety just when you though he wouldn’t manage to do so. His hit-outs were immense as usual and he is so cool he doesn’t bother going into the pavilion with the rest of the tribe at half time-he stays out in the stand to enjoy a fag and a wee crack with the fans while inside Mr Perlich is motivating the rest. The Camanachd Association should make big Kenny a poster boy or at least give him a special award for services to sanity: he cuts through the crap associated with modern sport and reminds us it belongs to the people.
The Glen went into this game more than a little shorthanded-there were at least 5 black and red players missing from those who turned out in the corresponding fixture last year- and with Eddie Tembo nursing a sore knee and young Ewan Brady drafted in as a forward it was a much changed Glen line-up from the day when swine flu nearly came to the Glen. This year sadly none of the swine were sick and in 2 minutes a very healthy Grant Irvine found himself some space-the marking was slack at the start- and shooting early as all Kyles forwards do- he fired in a low shot past Stuart Mackintosh to put Kyles into an early lead.
Then as is traditional, the Glen tightened up at the back- and began to inhabit Kyles territory and Eddie Tembo playing up front against big Irvine managed to get a shot or two away, but sadly his aim was out. Having said that the Kyles defence was robust with the young Roddy Macdonald and the not so young Fraser Macdonald proving that they were not going to let anything thorough.
However in 30 minutes Tembo burst his way through the centre but was brought down just outside the D by Donald Irvine. It was an action which none of the retired Glen defenders on the sidelines objected to- in fact if a Glenner had done the same to Fort’s Gordy Mackinnon or Lovat’s James Macpherson the previous week they would have applauded- but straightforwardly the man should have gone in the book. Shinty is not of course football- but a deliberate foul that prevents a goal scoring opportunity requires a booking more than someone swearing at himself for duffing a shot.
The foul was given –it came to nought -and then moments later Eddie Tembo came close once more. Neale Reid was next to make Macdonald clear his lines with a shot from distance.
Kyles themselves had made moves up-they had a strong first half wind in their favour at this point-but Andrew Corrigan Stewart Reid and Dave Girvan were solid at the back. John Barr too was playing well but Kyles were smart in that their two and two style was gradually tempting him, of necessity, to come off the D.
Finally in 35 minutes Calum Fraser got a ball back from the wing and young Ewan Brady was on hand to shove it over the line from close range to level the match.
The second half began with a Glen burst for the shop and Eddie Tembo’s sharp drive was eventually flicked away by Macdonald and then came the goal that won the game. By that stage Barr had been pulled out from the D and the ball was swept up quickly, crossed from the right and cut back to McColl whose finish was as described above.
The game was played out then in a similar manner as before but fairness bids one say that Kyles were in the ascendancy as the minutes ticked away – and while Kenny Macdonald had three not very testing shots to deal with but Stuart Mackintosh had to pull off three very good saves to keep the score at the status quo. He did so but to you don’t get points for that.
The picture this week is of two Glen Frasers – Big Ron the famous one who bagged the goal in the Camanachd Cup final of 1988 and Big Mike who used to play at full centre for the under-17s before he went off to play football in the Premier League for Inverness Caley and Motherwell.
If only Roy Macgregor would give us some of the cash he wastes on Ross County , we could get “Ikey” to pull on the black and red again. He has still got the touches-definitely.