GEORGE MICHIE MEMORIAL CUP
Skye 0 Kinlochshiel 5
Kinlochshiel claimed the George Michie Memorial Cup thanks to a comprehensive 5-0 win over Skye in Portree last Saturday.
The derby victory underlined Shiel’s premier league credentials — and it was a lesson for Skye who, despite a season of success, know that they are still in the early stages of a journey which they hope will eventually lead to joining their west-coast neighbours in shinty’s top flight.
The islanders went into Saturday’s match without defenders Chris Rose and Neil MacVicar, while goalkeeper Jamie Gannon and midfielder Kenny Campbell were also unavailable. Shiel were without Duncan ‘Ach’ MacRae, but otherwise the visitors were close to full strength. They also included in their squad Zander Grant — player of the year for Inverness during the season just ended — as he eyes a switch back to his home club.
Although Skye last played on 1st November, and Shiel had been out of competitive action since 2nd August, the match began at a frantic pace. It was the home side who had the better of the early running, creating a flurry of chances inside the opening 20 minutes.
Shockie MacLennan forced a fine reflex stop from Shiel keeper Scott Kennedy, who did well to get his feet behind the Skye forward’s drilled 20-yard effort. Soon afterwards Danny Morrison was unable to apply the finishing touch after the ball had spun kindly towards him at the edge of the penalty area. Allan MacKinnon also went close with an effort from distance, but Skye would be made to pay for their early profligacy when Shiel broke forward to take the lead in the 28th minute.
Moments earlier Shiel manager Coiln Fraser had pushed John MacRae from midfield to attack. And the shift brought instant reward when the international outmuscled his Scotland team-mate, Skye full back Steven Morrison, on the touchline before cutting infield and driving home the opener from 10 yards.The goal came against the run of play, but it was to signal a sustained spell of Shiel pressure. And, had it not been for Iain ‘Spod’ MacLeod in the Skye goal, the visitors might have had the game wrapped up by the interval. The Skye youngster made a string of fine saves — including an instinctive block to deny David Falconer from point-blank range, and a superb stop with the stick to keep out Mark MacDonald’s sweetly-struck effort.
Not long before half time MacLeod also made a brave block to keep out John MacRae’s penalty, awarded after a kick inside the area by Ally MacDonald.
Shiel would go on to tighten their grip on proceedings in the second half, and three goals inside seven minutes effectively ended the game as a contest.In the 50th minute John MacRae lashed home his second, following a clever crossfield pass from the impressive Jordan Fraser.
Soon afterwards Keith MacRae bulleted home from the edge of the area after Skye were unable to clear their lines. And then in the 57th minute John MacRae completed his hat-trick, again powering home from the edge of the penalty area.
A couple of efforts from distance from Jordan Murchison were as close as Skye came to a consolation, and the final word — as the game petered out amid a clutch of substitutions — belonged to Shiel when Keith MacRae blasted home the fifth with 12 minutes left to play.