Lorna MacRae set for Skye reunion in Shiel derby

Lorna MacRae has scored eight league goals for Shiel since making the move across the Skye bridge from their island rivals.

After playing a key role in some of Skye Camanachd’s Ladies greatest successes as part of a team which won league championships and the Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup, Lorna MacRae is set to face her old club in the red of Kinlochshiel as the rivals meet in a local derby at Reraig Park in Balmacara this Sunday.

Four points separate Kinlochshiel and Skye B in the Mowi North Division 2 table. Shiel go into the fixture on top having secured three wins from their opening four matches, however, Skye B have two games in hand and could move level with their rivals if they were to win those games.

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Ahead of this weekend’s clash, the Free Press spoke to the former Skye blues star about facing her old club, Shiel’s impressive start to the campaign, and what her personal and team goals are for the season.

You’ve hit the ground running, scoring eight goals already this season, how has settling into a new team been?

Lorna MacRae: “It’s been good to get back to shinty as it’s been at least two years since I picked up a Caman. So, I am trying to work on my fitness again. Settling into Kinlochshiel has gone well the girls, coaches and the community have been so welcoming which has made playing again very enjoyable.

“Also playing alongside Kristen MacBeth and Emma Gordon again has been great. Also, Emma is a strong team leader so to have her as captain has given the team a huge boost.

SKYE/SHIEL: Sunday’s derby will be a case of past meets present for Lorna MacRae.

You are in line to face Skye on Sunday in what should be a keenly contested local derby. How do you think you will feel coming up against your former club having enjoyed so much success as a player with them?

LM: “I have so many fantastic memories at Skye Ladies and many friends in the team but I’m looking forward to the new challenges ahead. It will be strange to play against my former club, but I have to just think of it as another game and stay focused with Shiel.”

Will you be approaching the game any differently from normal?

LM: “No different to any other game, just stay focused.”

Shiel ladies currently hold top spot in North Division 2

It’s been a strong start for Shiel so far and the team will go into the clash as the league leaders. What do you think the team’s goals should be for this season, and do you have any personal goals for the 2022 campaign?

LM: “It has been a great start for Shiel. The girls have played so well and put in some cracking performances.

“The talent they have within the squad is great for a team that’s not long started. I am unsure what to say about team goals other than we have to keep doing what we have been doing so far and put in strong performances and enjoy each game.”

“My goal is just to play the best I can in each game and enjoy being back playing.”

Skye B captain, Lilidh Campbell also spoke to the Free Press about their start to the campaign, the Shiel clash, and the team’s aims for the season.

After a tough start to the season against Strathglass, the team showed great character to earn a thrilling 5-4 win away to Lovat, what are your reflections on the games so far?

Lilidh Campbell: “We started off this season with a young squad for the Strathglass game and we were happy to get back into a proper season and have lots of new girls playing.

“It was great to play in a close game against Lovat and we were delighted to get the win in the end. It was really encouraging to see how much we’ve come along, especially with Lovat being one of the best teams in our league the past few seasons.

The North Division 2 is shaping up to be a very competitive league with Kinlochshiel currently setting the piece, albeit having played two games more than Skye. What kind of game are you expecting against them?

LC: “It’s great that North 2 has become such a competitive league. We are expecting a tough game against Kinlochshiel but everyone is looking forward to what will hopefully be a good match.”

With it being a local derby, does that give the team an extra incentive going into the match in terms of motivation?

LC: “The girls are motivated to try their best for every game regardless of opposition especially given the lack of games over the last two years it’s just exciting to be playing again. It is nice to be playing so close to home though and hopefully people will manage along to support.

A win against Shiel would move Skye within two points of them with two games in hand. What are the team’s goals for this season? Is the title the main aim?

LC: “Our aims for the season are to get as many of the younger girls involved and playing consistently. It would be great if we can get a good few wins and if we are competing for the league that would be an added bonus.

“But the main focus this year is to get as much experience as possible and get everyone playing well together and enjoying themselves.”

How the teams stand going into Sunday’s derby clash at Balmacara.

Meanwhile, in the National Division, Skye A host Glasgow Mid Argyll A at Pairc Nan Laoch in Portree on Saturday as they look to keep pace with reigning champions Badenoch A who hold a two-point advantage over the islanders at the top of the table having played one game more than their rivals.

Goals from Caitlin MacLean, and Jenna Beaton earned Skye A an opening day win away to Inverness on Sunday 6th March, in what has been their sole league fixture so far.

WCA Mowi National Division fixtures. Saturday 9th April. Skye A v Glasgow Mid Argyll A (12pm) Sunday 10th April. Aberdour A v Badenoch A; Inverness v Ardnamurchan A.
WCA Mowi North Division 2 fixtures. Saturday 9th April. Glenurquhart v Inverness B. Sunday 10th April. Strathglass v Badenoch B; Kinlochshiel v Skye B; (3pm) Glengarry v Lovat.
WCA Mowi South Division 2 fixtures. Sunday 10th April. Dunadd v Ardnamurchan B; Uddingston v Oban Lorn; Tayforth v Glasgow Mid Argyll B.

Article by Adam Gordon.