The Mowi shinty/hurling international between Scotland and Ireland makes a welcome return for the first time since 2019 with this year’s composite rules clash confirmed for Páirc Esler, Newry on October 21.
After an unavoidable hiatus due to Covid-19, the forthcoming match takes place at 3pm, immediately preceding the Down Intermediate Hurling final at 5pm.
Scotland manager Garry Reid has begun the task of consulting a number of managers before putting together his final 18-player squad which will be formally announced on September 21. There is a training session planned thereafter at Spean Bridge.
Garry Reid, who has won both his previous internationals, will confirm his backroom staff in the coming weeks.
He said: “It’s just great to see the return of the international and hopefully this will kick-start a full return of the series in the coming years.
“As always, it is an honour to be asked to manage the Scottish side, and I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead.
“The added challenge this year will be the timescales involved in pulling a squad together, and whereby in the past we would have selected a larger pool of players and then whittled the numbers down to the final squad, the time restraints this year mean we will look to go straight to naming a final squad.”
Camanachd Association President Steven MacKenzie said: “We are thrilled to bring back the Mowi shinty / hurling international match and we can’t wait to witness the exciting rivalry between Scotland and Ireland once again.”
Mowi Shinty Hurling International Returnshttps://t.co/OhRWE6v9TA
— Shinty (@camanachd) September 7, 2023
GAA President Larry McCarthy said: “This match is an opportunity to celebrate our ties and the cultural links between our proud peoples – chief among which are the games of hurling and shinty which share a common ancestor.”
Camanachd Association CEO Derek Keir added: “The Camanachd Association remains committed to promoting and developing shinty, and this international match stands as a testament to the association’s dedication to fostering camaraderie and excellence within the sport.”
The under-21 international between Scotland and Ireland will not take place this year and it remains to be seen whether it will return in 2024.
Skye and Newtonmore set sights on Sutherland Cup joy
With the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final just over a week away, the second team equivalent takes place at Blairbeg, Drumnadrochit where Skye Camanachd and Newtonmore clash in the Highland Industrial Supplies Sutherland Cup final.
It has been a period of change for both clubs.
Newtonmore won all three trophies last season and despite a significant turnover of players, they have already retained the Mowi North Division 1 title.
Assistant manager Mark Taylor said: “Evan Menzies retired at the end of last season and Scott Chisholm hasn’t played since suffering a hand injury so that’s a lot of experience lost.
“Three of our young boys progressed to the first team but Tommy Stewart and youngers Lewis MacKintosh, Alex Shearer, Aaron Ford and Jacon Bain have taken their place and have certainly made the most of the opportunity.
“Both ourselves and Skye play an attractive style of shinty so it should be a good final.”
Skye, who sit second in the league, are one of only three sides to have beaten Newtonmore this season.
Boss Willie MacDonald, in his first year in charge, has taken Skye to second in the league and to their first Sutherland final since 1988.
MacDonald said: “We’ve progressed quicker than I expected but it’s down to the players.
“I hope I’ve given them confidence and belief, but they have bought into the way I like to see the game played.
“They all have the basics, they are hungry, but most of all, they must compete.
“Newtonmore have set the bar for the rest of us at this level and everyone has written us off, so it is up to us to respond.”
It is 100 years since the first Sutherland Cup final and the occasion will be marked with a man of the match trophy, donated by Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan, believed to be an earlier incarnation of the Sutherland Cup.
Throw up is at 3pm and Craig Scott is the match referee.
Kings can hit top spot with Kyles win
Kingussie can return to the top of the Mowi Premiership but will have to work hard to beat form side Kyles Athletic at the Dell.
Thomas Borthwick is set to return for the Kings having been out since early July with a knee injury. It is a timely boost with the Camanachd Cup final just a week away.
However, Kieran Macpherson is a doubt with a swollen knee.
Kingussie manager Iain Borthwick said: “Kyles have been on a good run and if they win on Saturday, they will be right back in the title race.
“It’s a tough fixture to have ahead of the Scottish final as Kyles are pushing and know they need to win.”
Kyles have won their last six successive league matches and victory would take them a point above the Kings although they have played a game more.
Kingussie’s Camanachd Cup final opponents Oban Camanachd play Kinlochshiel.
It will be a nervous weekend for Oban Camanachd’s Daniel Cameron who misses the game through suspension and any postponement would carry his ban forward to the Camanachd Cup final.
Oban boss Gareth Evans said: “We’ll travel with 15 players with some of next week’s cup final squad getting game time with Lochside Rovers.
Gregor MacDonald comes in for Daniel Cameron and we need to go strong as we haven’t played in three weeks and boys need minutes under their belts.”
Kinlochshiel manager Willie MacRae added: “With five games remaining, we’ll rest John MacRae for the rest of the season unless we really need him.
“He’s done well after his back operation, but the additional rest will do him good ahead of next season.
“Ali Nixon hand injury is not as bad as first feared so he is 50-50 for Saturday but there’s no point in risking him unnecessarily.”
Lovat and Skye have a noon start at Balgate, allowing players and supporters to attend the nearby Sutherland Cup final later in the afternoon. Skye skipper John Gillies and teammate Sam Macphee are both suspended.
Glasgow Mid Argyll and Caberfeidh meet at Peterson Park.
Lochaber can secure the Mowi National Division title and an immediate return to shinty’s top-flight if they win at Kilmallie. The hosts also harbour hopes of promotion, so this derby won’t be for the faint-hearted.
Inveraray complete their season with a trip to play Oban Celtic whilst Strathglass host Col Glen.