The end of the year is almost upon us and 2023 proved to be another action-packed year in shinty.
The Press and Journal’s shinty correspondent Alasdair Bruce looks back on some of the best quotes from the year.
Shinty 2023 in quotes
Newly appointed Kingussie manager Iain Borthwick said: “I have big boots to fill as John Gibson did a fantastic job, especially winning the Grand Slam. I’m going to enjoy it though. I know the players and can’t wait to get going.”
Following the HIS Sutherland Cup draw at Drumnadrochit, Camanachd Association CEO Derek Keir said: “Urquhart Castle is steeped in history, much like the sport of shinty and indeed the Sutherland Cup, so it’s a fitting place to take the 100th anniversary draw.”
After an opening day draw with Newtonmore in the Mowi Premiership, Oban Camanachd manager Gareth Evans: “It’s a draw but feels like a defeat as we should have seen the game out. The chances we created meant we should have been out of sight by the time their penalty came along.”
Inveraray manager Andy Watt, after seeing his side beat Col Glen 2-0 in the Artemis Macaulay Cup first round: “The players worked really hard and remained focused throughout. We looked a threat when we attacked, moving the ball quickly and could, and probably should, have won by more.”
Proud Glasgow Mid Argyll manager Alan MacRae after beating Kyles Athletic on penalties, following a 5-5 draw, to reach the 118th Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup final: “We persevered with grit and character and fought back despite being two goals down twice. I’m delighted to reach our second consecutive Celtic Cup final.”
Kingussie captain James Falconer stole the show, scoring the winner before raising the cottages.com MacTavish Cup following a 1-0 victory over Skye: “It was a battle out there and the intense heat didn’t help but everyone put in a great shift. Fair play to Skye who gave us a good game and their keeper Murphy Henderson played very well.”
Gareth Evans said his charges were “the top team in the south” while skipper Daniel Sloss reckoned they could “dominate this competition for the next five years,” as Oban Camanachd won Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup, defeating Glasgow Mid Argyll 2-0 in a hard-fought final.
Oban Camanachd celebrated again, this time beating Kingussie 2-1 to win the Artemis Macaulay Cup, denying the Kings a sixth straight trophy success.
Boss Gareth Evans: “It’s 1996 since we won our last major, so this has been a long time coming. It’s huge for the club, and we fully deserved this win.”
Kingussie gained revenge as Ruaridh Anderson’s late strike sealed a 1-0 win over Oban Camanachd in the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final.
Anderson said: “We knew it would be tough as Oban are a good side and they were unlucky as they had chances. I can’t describe how this feels though. It’s unbelievable. It doesn’t feel real.”
Scotland manager Garry Reid was disappointed yet encouraged following his side’s 22-14 defeat to Ireland in the shinty/hurling international in Newry: “I’m actually very disappointed with the scoreline but you must take your chances in these games, and we were wasteful. Ireland were deadly and the inclusion of so many top tier players meant they had the quality to punish any mistakes we made.”
It was presentation day as three-in-a-row champions Kingussie raised the Mowi Premiership trophy following their 3-1 over Newtonmore.
Manager Iain Borthwick said: “The boys did brilliantly and we took our goals well and worked their defence hard. I’m pleased with how the season has gone but it will be nice to get a break and I’m sure all the boys all feel the same.”
The year ended on a desperately sad note as the shinty world was stunned and saddened to learn of the passing of young Kingussie player Calum MacKintosh from a suspected cardiac arrest. The Kings paid tribute with a guard of honour at the Dell ahead of the funeral service.