Caberfeidh’s versatile Ben MacDonald, who has been working on an offshore rig, has returned home and is set to figure in Saturday’s Cottages.com MacTavish Cup semi-final against Skye at Pairc nan Loach, Portree.
The island club, meanwhile, would love to reach this final as a tribute to club chieftain Donnie Martin, whose road accident death saw the tie postponed for his funeral last Saturday.
Cabers, who have not won this trophy for 85 years and any senior trophy for 22 years, are pleased that MacDonald has returned but defender Declan Wilson misses out due to a family wedding.
Jodi Gorski, manager of the Strathpeffer side, said: “Ben can play midfield or half-back depending on where I play Blair Morrison, so it’s good to have him back on dry land in time.
“Although Declan is unavailable, we benefit from Kieran MacPherson now being 100 per cent fit while Kyle Grant’s hamstring issue has cleared up, so we’re in good shape.”
He added: “People say we’re favourites but there’s not much difference between the lower half of the Premiership and the top half of the National Division. I suppose we’re used to playing stronger opposition, which could help.”
‘A fitting tribute’
Skye manager Kenny Macleod has a full strength squad including two prominent second team players, Ian MacLellan and new Scotland under-17s cap Taylor Matheson, who has been scoring freely at second team level.
MacLeod said: “Donnie Martin brought me into shinty, as he did so many people, and his passing has cast a cloud over both club and community.
“It would thus mean a great deal if we could pay fitting tribute and lift morale by reaching this final.
“A couple of niggles have cleared up and we’ve no injuries. It’ll be a difficult game but we’ve a tight, spirited squad and sometimes than can be enough to get you over the line when things are tough.”
Cabers’ international hitman Craig Morrison is a major threat to the islanders’ defence. But in reeling off five wins and a draw this season, Macleod’s men have rattled in 21 goals and conceded only three. The goals have been well spread, with Jordan Murchison top with five.
— Shinty (@camanachd) May 19, 2022
The winners will face Kingussie in the final at Inverness on June 11.
Beauly, battling it out with Skye for the National Division title, have reeled off four wins and a draw and they visit second bottom Oban Celtic who have leaked 18 goals in five games.
Lochaber and Glen Urquhart, both still with promotion aspirations, clash in a significant duel at Spean Bridge. The hosts, three points behind Beauly, are a point ahead of John Barr and company.
Aberdour, still seeking their first win, make the long trip from Fife to Inveraray, who have Lewis Montgomery back from a three-game ban.