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Youngsters do county proud but Orkney win Archer Shield

By Matt Leslie

Caithness boss Murray Coghill paid tribute to his young stars following the Archer Shield defeat to Orkney at the weekend.

Coghill's side travelled across the Pentland Firth to face Orkney at Dounby in the annual challenge match.

Resplendent in their new kit – featuring the colours of the county's flag – the young Caithness team put up a strong display against highly fancied Orkney.

The game ended in a 0-0 draw and was settled by penalties. Misses from Graeme Williamson and Sean Campbell proved pivotal as Orkney won the shoot-out 4-2 to land their fourth successive Archer Shield.

Coghill, who also manages Thurso Acks in the county league, said: "The young boys came in and did a remarkable job – even the Orkney coaches were full of praise for them.

"Unfortunately we couldn't bring back the shield but they call all be proud of their efforts.

"Danny Coghill and Luke Manson were superb – in fact, that's the best I've seen from them this season.

"Graeme Williamson in goal had a good game and although he missed one of the penalties, he was brave enough to volunteer to take the first one and he put his hand up afterwards when it didn't go in.

"The game itself was fifty-fifty and it could have swung either way. It was a lot closer than last year's game so that's encouraging for the next time we play them in 12 months' time."

The fact that Coghill had to field such a young squad was down to a number of call-offs from more established players.

He added: "I get that people have work and other commitments but there were some players unavailable that I would have liked to have in the squad.

"This fixture seems to mean more to the Orkney players than to some of those in Caithness – we had issues with call-offs last year. The Orkney guys use this as a chance to put themselves in the running for their big game of the season against Shetland.

"When I was playing regularly, it was a great honour to be called up for your county.

"Maybe some players might have been worried about picking up a knock that would put them out for their club's next fixture.

"If that's the case perhaps the solution might be to have this game as the curtain-raiser to the season, or even the closer.

"I don't know what the answer is but what I will say is that the young lads who showed up wanted to play in this game.

"Given their attitude and performance, come next year when this fixture takes place, they should have first bite of the cherry in being asked to play."

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