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The 2022 MOWI League campaign is set to start tomorrow with plenty of great fixtures to whet the appetite.
Invincible MOWI National Winners Fort William welcome Glasgow Celtic Society Cup champions Kyles Athletic to An Aird in what will prove a stern test for the Premiership newcomers.
The two sides met 13 years ago in the 2009 Camanachd Cup Final and Fort William will be hoping to edge out the Tighnabruaich side just as they did on that famous day. Kyles however, will be looking to continue the momentum they ended 2021 with and pick up both points at what can be a tricky venue.
Robert Baxter, Kyles Athletic manager, said: ‘The boys have been absolutely
buzzing since the fixtures came out.
‘All of the squad have been working extremely hard at training and the fitness levels seem to be very good.
‘The players know what is required of them going back in to the Premiership season and that’s what they have been working towards. We have also brought in a few younger players to the senior team so we have a really good blend of youth and experience.’
In what is widely considered as the game of the week, Tulloch Homes Camanachd
Cup Champions Kinlochshiel travel to Newtonmore. The first game of the postponed
2020 season saw ‘More take both points thanks to an Iain Robinson goal –
something that MOWI Coach of the Year Johnston Gill will be eager to avoid this
time round as his side try and emulate the league triumph of 2017.
Iain Robinson, Newtonmore forward said: ‘The culture at Newtonmore isn’t to go
out and aim to finish fourth or anything like that.
‘The expectation is to go out and win every game so that’s what we are going to try and do. There are a lot of strong teams in the league this year though but we are training well and excited about the new season.’
GMA have been rewarded for promotion with a tough home tie against the MOWI
Premiership runners up last time out, Oban Camanachd. Mid Argyll’s promotion was
built on a strong defence conceding just 10 times in 14 games in 2019 – and they
will be looking to build on that under new manager MacRae. Camanachd came close
in 2019 but you would think both points are a must if they are to mount a serious
MOWI Premiership Champions Kingussie welcome Caberfeidh to the Dell in a repeat
of the opening fixture of 2020. Kingussie put on a strong display that day, winning
7-1 including doubles from Falconer, Anderson and new skipper Genini. Caberfeidh
have strengthened this year though and the homecoming of MacPherson is an
interesting subplot in what should be a great game.
Rory MacKeachan, Kingussie defender said: ‘We are desperate to have the chance to go out there and defend our title, no one would have though that it would be this far in the future before we would have the chance but we are optimistic about what the season is going to bring.’
Finally, Camanachd Cup finalists Lovat travel to Canal Parks to take on Kilmallie.
The away side will be without Scott MacKenzie through injury and Calum Cruden
through suspension so Kilmallie may fancy their chances of springing an upset.
Lovat however, will be confident that the strike force of MacLaughlin, Heath and
Matheson should be enough to see them past the Lochaber side.
Ben Hadfield, MOWI COO said that that his company were thrilled to see the start of the 2022 MOWI League campaign.
‘It’s been far too long since we’ve been able to look forward to enjoying shinty every weekend, he added.
‘The start of league play feels like the beginning of a new chapter that sees our communities, our friends and neighbours, and our sport thrive. Enjoy your Saturday.’
Steven MacKenzie, Camanachd Association President said: ‘We are now just a day away from the return of the MOWI Leagues for the first time since 2019.
‘Without MOWI’s support for the interim leagues in 2021 it would have been impossible to have had a shinty season at all during the pandemic. They have been true friends and fantastic sponsors for 34 years now.
I would also like to thank all the volunteers up and down the country, including those on the board of directors, for the part they played in restarting our sport after the pandemic. There is real excitement and anticipation ahead of Saturday’s throw-up as we look ahead to what should be a fantastic season.
‘The best of luck to all teams.’
For full fixtures visit matches.shinty.com