It’s the Monday after Oban golfer Robert MacIntyre secured his best-ever finish at the British Masters.
The likeable 22 year old would be entitled to cancel all appointments and have a lie-in the day after this achievement but, instead, he travelled to Fort William to honour a prior engagement to make the second round draw for shinty’s greatest prize; the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup.
Robert, competing in his first season in the European Tour, finished the weekend just one stroke behind eventual winner Marcus Kinhult at the Hillside Golf Links, Southport to seal his biggest prize to date; one which allows him to fulfil a promise made to mum Carol of a new kitchen at the family home where Robert still resides.
“I’m very pleased with how it went overall,” says the unassuming Scot. “I finished strongly but I could have made a better start. The family were down cheering me on which made it all the more special. I have a week off now and its then off to play in Denmark the week after.”
The 22 year old may now be part of golf’s European Tour but there is no doubt shinty is his first love. “I was raised with a shinty stick in my hand. It’s in the blood.” It certainly is. Grandfather Dougie was an accomplished player who used to feature each week on the opening Sportscene credits. Dad, also Dougie, and uncle Gordon both had illustrious shinty careers and his father is the current manager of National Division side Oban Celtic.
“I played shinty for my primary school, Rockfield, and I recall playing in the national MacKay Cup Final in 2008 when we lost out to Portree.
“I then went through the youth ranks at Oban Camanachd and even played a couple of games for their reserve team Lochside Rovers before golf really took over.”
The fear of a hand or arm injury affecting such a promising golfing career was never one that concerned Robert. “There aren’t as many shinty injuries as people make out and I used to play half back, where you learn to read the game in front of you, so you know how to protect yourself.”
Early shinty memories include attending senior games. “I always enjoyed going to watch my dad play for Oban Camanachd. My uncle Gordon had just stopped playing before I started going to games so I never actually saw him play.”
The Camanachd Cup has always had a special place in the MacIntyre household. “I was born just around the time Oban Camanachd last won the Camanachd Cup in 1996 so I obviously wasn’t at the match but I’ve certainly seen the video footage of the game in the house plenty of times,” he smiles.
“The Camanachd Cup Final is always a special day. My favourite final would be at Mossfield, Oban in 2012 when Kyles Athletic beat Inveraray 6-5. The shinty was just relentless that day and it was just a shame that one of the teams had to lose out.
“The luck of the draw means so many sides have the chance of winning. You can get top teams drawn together so they can cancel each other out. Anything can happen and that’s part of the magic. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.”
With shinty’s ten top flight teams entering the draw at the second round stage, Robert has pulled one lucky team out of the hat and set them on their way to realising their dreams at the 2019 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final which takes place at an Aird, Fort William on Saturday 14 September.
Story by Alasdair Bruce on behalf of the Camanachd Association