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Fort William lift the 2017 Balliemore Cup

Caberfeidh 4 Fort William 4 (After extra-time – Fort William won 5-4 on penalties)

Fort William lifted the Balliemore Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Caberfeidh following an eventful Balliemore Cup Final at Blairbeg. A good crowd gathered for this final and the teams had not previously met this season.

Fort William, who had to do without injured duo Bryan Simpson and Alexander MacMillan, got off to a great start with Jack Fraser giving them a 5 minute lead. Fraser latched onto a Seamus Gall cross from the right and he took the ball wide on the left before sending a superb strike across the keeper, with the ball dropping into the net.

Caberfeidh, who were minus the suspended Ryan MacKay, levelled 5 minutes into the second half when Craig Morrison found enough space to drive the ball home. There was more to come from the Castle Leod men as they went in front 4 minutes later. Craig Morrison controlled a ball from Kevin Bartlett before firing home.

Fort William came storming back and they equalised on 64 minutes. Jack Fraser burst forward up the left channel, winning a challenge with a defender, before knocking the ball past Cabers’ keeper Ewan Pilcher who was dashing from his line. With 15 minutes remaining, Kevin Bartlett put Cabers back in front from the penalty spot.

Again Fort William responded and Lewis Clark made it 3-3 on 82 minutes, tucking the ball home at the second attempt.

And that’s the way it stayed so referee Andy MacLean took the final into extra-time. The lead changed hands once more on 93 minutes when Calum Shepherd strode forward to unleash the goal of the game as his 25 yard strike flew into the net. There was more to come from Caberfeidh captain Craig Morrison though and, with 5 minutes remaining, he completed his hat-trick to make it 4-4 when he took a Kevin Bartlett pass before blasted the ball home.

So it all boiled down to a penalty shoot-out and they standard was of the highest level.

Just as during the game, Caberfeidh’s Craig Morrison and Fort William’s Jack Fraser finished in style and when Kevin Bartlett and Arran MacPhee both netted; the shoot-out was tied at 2-2.

Ally MacLennan hit his penalty well enough but the ball came back off the post and Fort William’s Bobby MacMillan capitalised to put the Fort 3-2 ahead. And they stayed in front as Caberfeidh’s Blair Morrison and Gavin Mclachlan and Fort William’s Sean Cruickshank and Mark Grant – the latter confidently slamming home the winning penalty - all scored to give Fort William victory. Fort William captain James Tangney was presented with the Balliemore Cup by Camanachd Association President-elect Keith Loades.

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