Bute Primaries celebrated another major win at the weekend, defeating Newtonmore Primary School in the National Final of the McKay Cup at An Aird, Fort William.
The island boys had only 12 players on the day, including five-year-old Louie McDonald.
With a strong start, the team put pressure on the Newtonmore defence and were rewarded after 17 minutes when a fine flowing move involving several players was calmly finished off by Leon McMillan, putting them one-nil ahead.
Bute continued to attack, scoring again when a fine pass from young Louie McDonald found his brother Rory who slammed the ball into the net putting the team two-nil ahead. What a way to celebrate your tenth birthday, Rory!
It was then end to end for the remainder of the first half, although Bute did have several more chances to extend their lead.
The second half started Newtonmore putting Bute’s defence under pressure and they scored after only one minute through Zander Ross, to reduce the islanders’ lead.
The Bute defence were holding firm under constant attacks, until Newtonmore scored a second through Iain Fraser, after 56 minutes.
The boys gradually got back into the game, and were looking very dangerous on the break, resulting in a third goal by Leon McMillan with seven minutes to go.
Newtonmore began putting on even more pressure and Bute was lucky to hold out during one frantic goalmouth scramble. Bute regrouped and attacked again, and a fine long distance shot from captain Marcus Planck was well saved by their keeper, who also saved the follow up by Leon McMillan. There was no further scoring and Bute Primaries were well-deserved winners of the cup.
Marcus Planck was deservedly named man of the match for his tremendous performance at the centre. It was, however, a very fine team effort, with each player giving their all for their teammates.
Very well done to coach, Iain McDonald, for all his work, and to the boys’ parents for bringing their sons to training and to their matches. Thanks also to all the families and friends for their support on the day and throughout the very rewarding season.
Local councillor, Robert Macintyre, whose claim to shinty fame is scoring two goals against Kyles Athletic in 1966, said: “The McKay Cup is the primary equivalent of the senior Camanachd Cup. This is an outstanding achievement by these 12 boys and I would hope that special recognition of their magnificent performance can be recognised at the end of the shinty season by Argyll and Bute Council giving these youngsters a very well-deserved civic reception. I am quite sure that our Provost will be only too happy to facilitate this.”
* To recognise the team’s achievements this season, the boys will parade through the town on Friday, July 1, on the open-top bus. Leaving the bus depot at 6pm, the bus will travel to Craigmore, back to Guildford Square where they’ll stop for 10-15 minutes, before returning to Port Bannatyne. Give them a big cheer and a wave as they pass by!