As part of our series on Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Finals that took place at An Aird we have already featured 2013, 2005 and 1997 finals. Today we will be visiting a year which saw, Bob the Builder have his 1st number one single (yes, he had two), Coldplay released their 1st of 7 albums (ugh, we know) and the Scotland national football team…well never mind.
The year 2000, however, was an exciting one for the shinty community. While we may take BBC coverage of the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final for granted, it was not always the case. See below.
The final its self was set up to be as grand an occasion as ever, Kingussie, who had been in the final each of the past 5 years – winning 3 – were to meet 20 times holders, Kyles Athletic at An Aird. Kyles were the underdogs going into the game, Kingussie had already wrapped up the league title in comfortable fashion, losing only one game. This was to be far from a walkover though, as proven when Neil Nicolson lashed the ball home for Kyles in the 13th minute. 1-0.
A succession of fantastic saves by Kyles keeper Kenny MacDonald kept Kingussie at bay, that is until the 32nd minute when Kevin Thain levelled the score with a sweetly struck volley. The rest of the half passed with little to cheer about for either side, however the neutrals were grateful that it had not been the procession many had feared going into the game.
Kyles defenders Currie and MacDonald were greatly impressive throughout the match, however there was little they could do to stop Kingussie’s second as Ronald Ross crashed in from an Andy Dallas free-hit. Despite taking the lead, the favourites did not run away with the match and Kyles captain Ewen MacDonald crashed a shot off the Kingussie right hand post in the 73rd minute.
Ronald Ross kept his nerve 3 minutes from time and stroked in a penalty to kill the game. It ended 3-1, a close contest in which Kyles keeper was declared the Man of the Match for a sterling display between the sticks despite conceding on 3 occasions.
So Kingussie won, again, the 4th of their 7 consecutive wins between 1997 and 2003. This however was not a walkover as many of the other finals during that period had been, Kyles did more than turn up and walked away disappointed, but with their heads held high.