Scotland captain Roddy Macdonald won’t be fazed by the additional responsibility as he leads the side in their quest to retain the Mowi Quaich in the shinty-hurling international against Ireland at Páirc Esler, Newry on Saturday.
There is a level of responsibility that comes with the captain’s armband and that is something the 35-year-old recognises.
Macdonald said: “I don’t get nervous before matches, I tend to look forward to the game and hope to make an impression but I was thinking the other day that we have 11 new caps in the squad this year and I’m one of the older ones now so there is a responsibility that comes with that.
“That will be something different for me.
“They are all good players though, and all the more experienced boys in the squad will help the new guys if it is needed.”
The new skipper has the experience of 11 senior caps to lean on.
After three appearances with the Scotland under-21s where he debuted as a 17-year-old, Macdonald was immediately promoted to the senior side, making his debut at the iconic Croke Park in 2010 against an Ireland side that included nine times all-star Tommy Walsh from Kilkenny.
Macdonald said: “I have fantastic memories of that game.
“It was special enough to play at Croke Park, but we also played before the international rules series between Ireland and Australia.
“I remember a reasonable crowd coming along for our game, but the crowd got bigger and bigger as the match went on as supporters gathered for the second game and they created a fantastic atmosphere under the floodlights.
“My Kyles Athletic teammate Grant Irvine was also in the side that year, and the pre-match instruction for us was to get the ball wide and cross it into the middle for Ronald Ross who would do the rest. And he did to be fair, and we won.”
Hurling Shinty International
Saturday 21st October, 2.45pm, Páirc Esler
Live on TG4 YouTube Channel📺
Buy Match Tickets Online in Advance🎟️ Tickets also available in selected Centra and Supervalue stores.
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— World GAA (@GAAworldgames) October 16, 2023
Macdonald added: “One of the great things about the internationals is playing shinty with different players outwith your own club.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the likes of Kingussie’s Ruaridh Anderson who, for me, has been the best player in the country this year.
“He’s been excellent for Kingussie and has scored some really important goals for them. It’s also good to meet up with these guys out-with the field of play.”
Roddy Macdonald an easy choice for for Scotland captain
Scotland manager Garry Reid knows he has the right man for the job.
He said: “Roddy’s experience and standing within the game makes him the clear choice as captain.
“He is a great ambassador for the game and has matured like a fine wine. It has been a great privilege for me to have been able to track his shinty career from primary school to internationalist and see him achieve every honour in the game.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play with more desire and he has been terrific this season. He has even taken on a coaching role within his club and certainly seems to be thriving in it. I have no doubt that he will lead us from the front.”
Kinlochshiel’s Finlay MacRae, himself a captain on two previous occasions, also endorsed the appointment saying: “Roddy has had a great season for Kyles and totally deserves to be captain. He’s a good lad too so I’m chuffed for him.”
Macdonald added: “This is an honour and not something I expected at this stage in my career, but it means a lot to me.
“I’ve known Garry for a long time and really respect what he has done in the game.
“He has a relaxed approach, and his training sessions and squad get-togethers are always really enjoyable. I’d like to thank him and his coaching staff for this honour.
“Most of all though, I want us to win the game. Grant Irvine was the last Scotland captain from Kyles Athletic and he led the side to victory in 2018, and I’d like to do the same.”
Throw-in is at 2.45pm and Scotland supporters unable to make the trip will still be able to watch the international as it will be shown live on the official TG4 YouTube channel.