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Lochgilphead Red Star once again played host to the Argyll and Bute Cup competition on Saturday August 5 – but it was Oban Saints who left with the spoils.
The competition was played for the most part in warm conditions so fortunately the Ropework, which played host to section one, remained in excellent condition.
Section one saw Red Star take on Tarbert, Glasgow Islay and South Lochaber. It was the Lochgilphead side who won the section after a comfortable opening 3-0 win against Tarbert, followed by a 1-0 victory against Glasgow Islay and a 2-2 draw against South Lochaber.
Glasgow Islay’s 2-1 victory over South Lochaber earlier in the day ensured they would join Red Star in the semi-final as runners up with South Lochaber finishing third and Tarbert in fourth.
Section two took place at the Joint Campus 3G. The opening contest was a repeat of last year’s final as Oban Saints beat cup holders Dunoon 2-1 to get off to the perfect start. The other two sides in the group were Neilston and Tannahill who made the trip from Renfrewshire. It was Neilston who got the better of their rivals with a 3-0 win.
Saints went on to win the section comfortably with a 6-0 victory over Tannahill followed by a 2-0 success over Neilston. Neilston booked a semi-final place with an impressive 3-0 win over Dunoon to send the holders out early.
The first semi-final saw Red Star take on a physical Neilston outfit. There wasn’t much between the sides in the opening 20 minute half until Kieran Moore dispatched a superb free kick past the keeper to put Red Star 1-0 up at the break.
Neilston levelled thanks to a free kick of their own which Star keeper Ben Pollock initially saved, however, Michael Green was on hand to bundle home from close range. The tie looked to be heading for penalties but Star’s Kevin Keen ensured the hosts booked their place in the final by virtue of a 2-1 win.
The second semi-final was a more one-sided affair as Oban Saints swept a tiring Glasgow Islay aside 5-0 thanks to a Cameron Kerr hat-trick and a double from Donald Campbell. Although beaten in the semi, this was a much improved Glasgow Islay side who are look forward to their league campaign starting soon.
The final took place at the Ropework at 5.20pm with Red Star taking on Oban Saints. Saints looked to get at Red Star early but found the Star keeper Ben Pollock in fine form as he denied the Oban outfit. Star gradually grew into the game and were becoming more confident with their passing and movement.
The final was settled early in the second half when Matthew Kelly latched on to a through ball which he successfully converted past Pollock to put Saints 1-0 up. Star pressed for the equaliser late on and were unfortunate when Kieran Moore’s effort was saved in spectacular fashion from Saints’ keeper Graham Douglas. The referee blew the final whistle and it was Saints who picked up the trophy with Red Star falling just short after an excellent day’s football.
Players and officials retired to the Stag Hotel where Oban Saints were presented with the Argyll and Bute Cup. Saints Donald Campbell was the tournament’s top scorer and Red Star’s Lee MacLean was voted Player of the Tournament.
Aaron Moore goes up for the challenge. no_a32AABCup01
Hot on Andrew Weir’s heels, Oban Saints take up the chase. no_a32AABCup02
It’s all Oban Saints. no_a32AABCup03