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Skye and Glasgow Mid Argyll targeting Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup final glory

The biggest prize in women's shinty is up for grabs this weekend.

The victorious Badenoch team after winning the 2022 Valerie Fraser Cup.  Image: Neil Paterson.
The victorious Badenoch team after winning the 2022 Valerie Fraser Cup. Image: Neil Paterson.

Skye Camanachd and Glasgow Mid Argyll contest the Women’s Camanachd Association’s biggest prize, the prestigious Mowi Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup, at Cup Finals Day at the Eilan on Saturday.

It’s been an impressive season for Skye across all teams as both their youth sides, their second team and first team have all reached major cup finals.

But the missing ingredient so far is a cup success and manager Jenna Beaton knows her charges will have to work hard to change that.

She said: “We are under no illusions; this is going to be really tough and, in many ways, tougher than the semi-final win over Badenoch.

“There’s not much else we can do at this stage; the players are prepared, and it will be down to wants it most on the day.”

Skye lifted the trophy in both 2017 and 2019 and that recent experience could stand them well.

Beaton, part of the 2017 winning side, added: “Sarah Yoxon, Caitlin Maclean, Sarah-Jane Ferguson, Ilana Paterson, Christina MacDonald and our captain Rhianna Kirk have all been their before, and helped the club through recent transition, and we’ll mix their experience with younger players like Teri Macleod, Catherine Robertson and Leah MacLeod.

“We drew 2-2 with GMA in the league in Glasgow and, including Badenoch and Lochaber, it has been close between the top four sides this season and that’s good for the game.”

Glasgow Mid Argyll boss Graeme Macdiarmid is looking to lead the four-times winners to their first success since 2015.

He said: “We have a strong squad and we’ve needed them all this season with holidays and work commitments. Some will miss out on the big day, but they have all played their part this season.

“We’ve worked hard on our fitness and are getting our rewards.”

Two players have cut short holidays to feature as former Fort William player Macdiarmid, who has coached for 20 years, explained: “Our captain Caitriona Stark, who represent Scotland at Cross-fit, is coming home early from the Far East to play while Alana Harrison has cut short a break in Tenerife.”

Sisters Laura and Rachel McCafferty provide the experience in the Glasgow side while Abby Kirkland has burst onto the scene.

“Abby has been a real find this season,” said the GMA boss.

“She is one to watch. She’s tall, powerful and has come through the system from university to development and then first team shinty. She’s been excellent.”

Throw-up is at 4.10pm and the match will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA.

Shiel start as favourites

Earlier in the day, holders Kinlochshiel, who have a 100% record this season, are favourites against Inverness B in the Mowi Challenge Cup final, contested between teams out-with the top-flight.

Lexie MacKenzie is Shiel’s top scorer with a 39-goal haul.

The 14-year-old said: “I learned a lot last year playing against boys at under-14 level but this year has been a massive step up to under-17s but it’s been fantastic to score goals at that level too.

“I really feel that helps me be a better player for the ladies.”

Throw up is at 1.45pm.

Brothers hoping to lead the way

The South under-21 squad are out to retain the Caol Cup when they meet their North counterparts in their representative match at Mossfield on Saturday.

Col Glen’s Scott MacVicar scored twice in last year’s 3-1 win and is included again.

Ardnamurchan’s Herbie Patterson got the other and he is joined this year by his brother Freddie.

Herbie said: “I can’t wait to play again this year. It’s a great experience playing with and against so many great shinty players.

“It will also be that much more special this time around with my brother Freddie playing alongside me. Hopefully we can link up on the pitch and maybe even come away with a South win.”

Oban pair Stephen Campbell and Alex MacVicar manage the South and are without Oban Camanachd quartet Daniel Sloss, Blair McFarlane, Louie McFarlane and Gregor MacDonald who have been withdrawn with the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final only a fortnight away.

Skye duo Kenny MacLeod and Ewen MacKinnon manage the North. They miss injured Kingussie wing centre Cameron Bremner and Fort William’s Johnny Forster so there are call-ups for Kingussie’s George Taylor-Ramsay and Beauly’s James Morrison.

  • South under-21 from: Andrew Tyre (Col Glen), Calum MacDonald (Inveraray), Calum MacMillan (Bute), Campbell Watt (Inveraray), Ewen Campbell (Oban Celtic), Freddie Patterson (Ardnamurchan), Gordon Currie (Bute), Herbie Patterson (Ardnamurchan), Innes Jackson (Oban Celtic), Jamie Forgrieve (Oban Celtic), Josh Cowan (Bute), Murdo Macrae (Kyles Athletic), Murray McClymont (Col Glen), Scott Harvey (Bute), Scott MacVicar (Col Glen), Sorley Thomson (Kyles Athletic)
  • North under-21 from: Murphy Henderson (Skye Camanachd), Connor MacGregor (Caberfeidh), Duncan MacPherson (Newtonmore), Euan Macormick (Beauly), Russell MacKenzie (Caberfeidh), George Taylor-Ramsay (Kingussie), Hamish Shaw (Fort William), Ross MacKinnon (Skye Camanachd), Alistair Maclean (Glenurquhart), Struan Ross (Newtonmore), Archie MacRae (Kinlochshiel), Arron MacBean (Newtonmore), Ross Gordon (Skye Camanachd), Max Campbell (Lochaber), James