Congratulations to Kinlochshiel who retained the Mowi Challenge Cup on Saturday defeating Inverness II 14-1.

Saturday 2nd September saw the return of the Mowi WCA Cup Final’s Day with the Challenge Cup opening up the day’s events at The Eilan, Newtonmore. Holders Kinlochshiel narrowly missed out on promotion to the Mowi National the year previous and therefore were still eligible in the competition and heavy favourites going into the match, boasting a 100% record in all competitions and having scored 44 goals in 3 games in the competition, conceding just 1. Their opponents Inverness were having a decent season, spearheaded by Isla McNeil and Kamryn Hughes who had scored 51 goals between them.

It was another young talent, however, who got the scoring started as the divisions Mowi Player of the Year in 2022 Lexie MacKenzie opened the scoring after battling well on the edge of the D and slipping a neat finish beyond the Inverness keeper. After that early set back Inverness managed to compose themselves and kept Shiel at bay for a quarter of an hour, at which point Lorna MacRae spun her marker smartly and knocked in Shiel’s second of the afternoon. Two became three immediately from throw up as MacRae bagged her brace before MacKenzie did the same a minute later after some intelligent body play from the from the former. Not to be outdone, MacRae would get the final goal of the half and complete her hat-trick after a nice swivel on the edge of the D.

The 2nd half began and there was no sign that Shiel or MacRae were finished yet, her 4th, Shiel’s 6th, was arguably the pick of the bunch as she picked up a loose ball on the right wing and fired home a rocket from 30 yards. Katie MacRae added her name to the scoresheet after a composed finish, the ball played into her after some great defensive forward play by Isabelle MacKenzie. It was a case of creator turned goal scorer for the eighth as Isabelle followed in on a Lorna MacRae strike to nick the ball away from the keeper as she went to clear. Inverness’ Isla McNeil grabbed what at this stage could only be considered a consolation goal – cutting inside from the left wing and firing low at Lisa Falconer in the Shiel net. The west coasters would respond quickly through Alaina MacLennan whose drive took a cruel deflection and deceived Campbell between the posts.

With 7 minutes left on the clock, Lexie MacKenzie would complete her hat-trick, pushing the ball past the keeper after driving into the box. In the remaining 5 minutes Lorna and Lexie would each add 2 goals to their tally taking the former to 6 goals and the latter to 5, an incredible display of attacking prowess and partnership work for the two forwards. It would finish 14-1 with Shiel the dominant team on the day, all that was left was for Captain Maree MacKenzie to collect the Mowi Challenge Cup from Mowi Community Engagement Officer, Jayne MacKay. Lorna MacRae was the well deserved Player of the Match after 6 goals and an outstanding performance when moved into the back line.