Camanachd Leòdhais were denied one of the great shinty cup upsets on penalties at An Aird, Fort William after an enthralling 3-3 after extra time battle.
Playing at the scene of so many famous shinty moments inspired the Dubh is Gorm to great heights.
The Fort went into an early lead through Euan Campbell on 8 minutes, then Duncan Stevenson doubled the home teams advantage on 23. Yet this did not deter na Leòdhasaich and Donnie Macrae popped up on 41 minutes to keep us in touch at half time. With his Kilmallie roots, Donnie would very much enjoy his goal against “The Town”.
In the second half, Lewis then aimed to climb a proverbial Ben Nevis, as Scott MacLeod made it 2-2 on 51 minutes. We tried hard to take the tie in 90 minutes, but the Fort held on.
The tale wasn’t ended however, as Ally Lamont (enjoying only needing to have done a short drive from his Oban base) put Lewis into a deserved lead for the first time on 98 minutes in the first period of extra time. There were incredible scenes as well as hundreds of Dubh is Gorm fans and followers refreshing their Twitter feeds.
As time moved on, it seemed that Lewis would secure a most famous of victories, but then Duncan Stevenson scored on 115. Neither team could break the deadlock further and so it went to penalties.
The lottery of penalties would decide the fates of both teams, and even this was a high scoring (for shinty shootouts) affair. Sadly for na Leòdhasaich they were on the wrong side of the 3-2 tally. Fort progressed to the semi versus Lochcarron and Lewis were left to ponder what might have been.
Despite the heartbreak of the penalties, the performance and spirit displayed all the progress that the club has made in its existence, and points to a future where the club can aim high and go toe to toe with the biggest names.
Thanks to Fort William for the game and the photos by KS from the Fort William facebook.