THE pick of Saturday’s MacTavish cup ties was the derby clash at Drumnadrochit where home side Glenurquhart met Lovat.
Both teams have an excellent record in this competition with Lovat, winners in 2013 and 2014, having defeated Glenurquhart in both finals. Glenurquhart then went on to win it in 2015 – and with a recent Premiership clash resulting in a narrow 2-1 victory for the Glen, the tightest of contests was expected.
In the event a strangely subdued Lovat turned in a disappointing performance, eventually going down 5-0 in a match in which they were comprehensively outplayed by their hosts.
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From the start Lovat struggled to cope with the pace of the Glenurquhart frontmen, going behind in the fifth minute when a Neale Reid cross-field pass was fired home by wing-forward Conor Golabeck. Glen scored again in the 10th minute after a James Macpherson free-hit fell into the path of the ever-dangerous Reid and his unstoppable shot flew past Lovat keeper Stuart Macdonald to make it 2-0. The third Glen goal came in 35 minutes courtesy of Macpherson himself when he volleyed home from fully 30 yards.
Lovat managed to prevent further scoring until after the break but rarely did their frontmen, Greg Matheson and Lorne Mackay, pose a serious threat to a Glen backline which was dominant throughout.
A solo run by Macpherson on 73 minutes made it 4-0 and the skilful full-forward completed his hat-trick by netting Glen’s fifth and final goal with what turned out to be the last hit of the game.
For Glen manager Iain Macleod, the result was a welcome boost in what has been an up-and-down season.
“After last week’s poor display against Oban, I’m pleased with the performance,” said Macleod. “We got the early goal which settled us down. Now we are looking forward to the semi-final next month which will be our toughest challenge yet this season”
Glenurquhart’s opponents will be holders Newtonmore who made hard work of their home tie against lower league side Caberfeidh, eventually winning 3-2 thanks to a late strike from hat-trick hero Glen Mackintosh. Mackintosh had opened the scoring midway through the first half but a Colin Maclennan goal and another just after the interval from international striker Kevin Bartlett had Cabers ahead. Mackintosh then equalised in 56 minutes and with just 12 minutes on the clock, claimed the winning goal after a mix up in the defence allowed him to tap the winner home from close range.
Premiership side Kilmallie only just edged out visitors Inverness 1-0 thanks to a decisive early strike by Ryan Stewart. Inverness fought hard to pull the tie back but Kilmallie held on to win, though they finished the match a man short after Duncan Rodger was red-carded.
Kilmallie will meet Kinlochshiel in the second semi after the Premiership side overwhelmed National League opponents Beauly 7-1 at Braeview in the final tie of the round.
In the south, in the Gregor Cameron Celtic Society Cup, the tightest tie of the afternoon was in Rothesay where Bute lost 2-0 to visitors Inveraray thanks to two first-half strikes from youngster Lewis Montgomery.
Inveraray now face Oban Camanachd in the semi-final next month with Oban progressing when opponents Tayforth scratched through team raising difficulties.
An 8-0 home win saw Glasgow Mid Argyll oust Glenorchy and they now face Kyles Athletic who racked up 18 goals without reply at home against a Kilmory side that were clearly out of their depth.
Meanwhile in the Marine Harvest National Division there were comfortable wins for top club Skye and second-placed Fort William over Strathglass and Oban Celtic respectively.