Macdonald is up for the Cup
It is MacDonald Cup time again- if the weather can hold its nerve for a day or two- and once again the Glen’s own Macdonald is up for the cup. It was a fierce training session at the Astro this week and as the pictures show the management team is on top of the game. Big Mike casts a keen eye on proceedings as the second squad engages with the top boys while it’s clear that Mr Barr (sen) has got his little book of positions and tactics all worked out. The player in top form on the astro was however Arran Macdonald. The big man will be hoping for an injury free season this session in contract to last season’s stop start affair. He was looking good on the ball and if the ground is not too heavy the big centre can do the biz against the Glasaich on Saturday.
As always there will be a few changes for the pre-season work out- not all of the top squad are available -but the shinty equivalent of “commercial confidentiality “ precludes mention of the absentees. However by the middle of March the hope is that the Glenners will be firing on all cylinders and will be in a position to give a few of the top teams a run for their money.
One player who won’t be joining the Glen is Drum resident Steven Callendar who has decided to stay with his home side Kinlochshiel. You have to say-fair play to Steven. His choice is an honourable one- and it shows the loyalty of the lad and makes it clear to this commentator that he has a quality which would make him an asset to the Glen. The catch 22 is that it keeps him with Shiel.However, Steve has come to Glen training on and off over the last year or two and hopefully he will continue to do so since it is a fair trek up to Shiel to train. As his wee one grows up and he continues to live in the Glen-where better- then he might just have a rethink. The door is always open.
In the other fiefdoms the grapevine is thick with rumour that turns out at times to be fact. It has been noised abroad that Beauly have picked up Mark MacLauchlan from Strathglass – but then he started out in North shinty as a Beauly lad so that’s OK then. David Neilson has moved from the town and more intriguingly Ian Nicholson has joined them from Skye. Now Ian started out with the town as a schoolboy under the Davie Glass/Graeme Macmillan youth coaching scheme before going back to play for the island. On the assumption that Ian is living somewhere in Easter Ross-shire that could be called a coup for the men in green. Looks like Beauly are about to “murph” into a good team.
Over on the Crofting Estate something is also afoot. The boyans have been over in the Drum training and it has to be said they are looking good. The year in the Premier and winning North 1 have made them a more focused club and the turn outs for training that the Wing Centre has spied on were excellent. Jimmy Mackenzie was running about like a teenager and it also must be reported that Stuart Macdonald, goalie extraordinaire, was training in the outfield. Will he be between the sticks? True Fraser Gall looked like he had enjoyed a good Xmas dinner or two but the stick work is still there and if he avoids injury, then the belly should go. You heard it here first; Lovat look as if they could do something. To be fair, there was no sign the times the Wing Centre went down of Mr Rennie but the boy Matheson can score which is always good for a point or two when you need them. In writing about Lovat it is also appropriate to note that the sympathies of the Glen Shinty Club and indeed the entire shinty world go to the family the late Simon Macrae whose funeral took place today.Simon was a member of that special Lovat team of the fifties and early sixties which won a pile of trophies including the 1953 Camanachd Cup. Just how special a breed they were was probably not really noted at the time but as 57 years have gone past and no side from the Aird District has won the big one in the meantime, then the quality of players like Simon Macrae, the Thows, Cowie, Mackenzie, Mackinnon and Fraser the goalie becomes easier to appreciate.
About our remaining neighbour Strathglass nothing must be written: they must at no time receive encouragement. Not ever! No doubt they will have their own tricks up their own sleeves though the loss of Lee Bain to Kingussie will be felt keenly. The Glen wish him all the best with his new club and hope that he has a great game every week except when he plays against the red and black.
So there we have it. The Glen have been training hard. Big Arran is back to the front of the pack, Girv is looking hungry, Lewis Maclennan looks deadly in front of goal as always, Smack is in top form and Mr Tembo even went to training. What more do we want? Let the games begin!