In the heart of Scotland’s shinty country, where tradition runs as deep as the lochs and glens, a new chapter is being written. Inveraray have re-established a women’s team and entered Mowi WCA South Division 2. Despite a challenging debut, marked by a loss to GMA, their triumph over Ardnamurchan on Sunday signifies a promising ascent. In this article, we sit down with Aray player, Katie MacKay and reflect on the development of the club as well as the aspirations and challenges ahead.

Katie, as a pivotal player in the newly formed women’s team for Inveraray, how do you reflect on the team’s performance in your debut match against GMA, despite the loss?

Unfortunately I wasn’t there to make the first league game for Inveraray due to being on holiday, but I heard lots about it from the girls once I got back. The girls were excited to start the season off but again feeling quite nervy, as any newly formed team would, and with a few players missing, giving them 8 players and no subs they still went into the game confident and ready to kick start the new season. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any names on the scoresheet but they came away happy with their first performance with lots of positives and also things to work on. It was also really nice for them having some home support traveling up to Yoker to support them too. And lastly, it was heartening to hear how supportive GMA were to the girls playing their first game, a lovely team to introduce the girls to the league.


Things would get much better from that opener though as on Sunday you got your first ever win against Ardnamurchan – what was that like?

Coming away from Ardnamurchan on Sunday with our 3-2 win honestly felt brilliant. I feel like it was the boost the girls needed. To show them that our constant training, hard work and dedication is paying off. They said before the game they’d be happy if we got one goal, so I feel like this has shown them we’re better than we think and are capable of a lot of we put our minds to it, we just need to have confidence in ourselves.


You had more than a hand in that victory as you bagged all three of Aray’s goals – hitting a hat-trick to win the game isn’t a bad feeling?

 I was absolutely delighted scoring a hatrick for Aray. Being 1-0 down at half time, we had a team chat with our coaches and we all decided we deserved some goals and to put up the extra fight for them, so bagging 3 for Aray in the second half I was honestly over the moon. Ardnamurachan had evened up 2-2 with us in the last 10 minutes, so I’m delighted I was able to score a third before the final whistle to secure the win for us. But I couldn’t have done it without any of the girls on the pitch, it was all team work to get the ball up the pitch, I was just finishing it for us.


How does it feel to be part of the pioneering women’s team at Inveraray, continuing to break barriers in the sport?

So, there previously had been an Inveraray Women’s team several years ago which didn’t continue, but being able to start it up again has been an exciting challenge for us all. And it’s been great to see younger members attend the training hopefully be playing for us in the future.


What are the team’s goals and aspirations for the remainder of the season?

I’d honestly say our team goals this season is just to get out and play every game we’ve got and give it our all. It’d be great to get a few more wins under our belts and we obviously aim high, it’s every teams goal to win the league. But this season for us is more of a building season and to get the team up and running, then in the future to win the league.

Building chemistry and cohesion within a new team can be challenging, how has it been gelling?

The encouragement and knowledge of the coaches has been hugely beneficial, bringing us all together and creating a team  from scratch. And the commitment from the players going to training twice a week, it definitely is starting to show and has been crucial in our development as a team.

What message do you want to give to young girls and aspiring female shinty players?

I’d say if your ever thinking about starting it’s do it. Being part of a team is so motivating, it’s good for you physically and emotionally and expands your social life also, and the shinty community is loads of fun to be a part of. And for the upcoming generation of players to have confidence in yourself, and set yourself personal goals. Nothings going to happen for you unless you put the work in.

Well done to everyone at Inveraray Shinty Club on the establishment of a women’s section, and to all the women for their victory at the weekend. If your club is interested in expanding their provision in any way, please contact your Regional Development Officer.