Kingussie double should give Caberfeidh hope for shinty success going into 2024, says manager Garry Reid
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As Caberfeidh’s players enjoy their off-season at the end of 2023, manager Garry Reid is already plotting a route to success in 2024.
Reid believes there is every reason for the Cabers to be confident after a season that saw them record their highest ever finish in the shinty leagues – even defeating champions Kingussie home and away.
In particular, it is the latter part that should fill the Castle Leod outfit with hope.
Kingussie have been dominant – winning seven out of the last eight major trophies. So for Caberfeidh to not only compete with them, but come out on top twice in a single league campaign is all the evidence Reid needs to believe the Cabers can challenge for silverware.
“It definitely does give us confidence across the board,” he explained.
“Beating them home and away, we worked out how to do it. They obviously beat us twice in the cups, and our main goal was to win a cup this season so we never quite achieved that.
“Beating them home and away means that we can compete with them.
“They are still the best team in the league, but the other teams challenging them like Kyles, Newtonmore, any of them really, all pose certain challenges.
“It’s going to be the same next year. I don’t know what Glenurquhart and Lochaber will bring to the league, but I’m sure they will be well-prepared and up for it as well.”
Focus on the next few weeks will be on recharging batteries before the squad returns for pre-season training in January.
However, it is also a period for reflection – and working out how to get even better for the 2024 campaign.
“The lessons we’ve learned are that we need that commitment from the start,” Reid stressed.
“We went into the season pretty well prepared I thought, but we need a pool of players. We can’t just rely on 12 or 14 players, we need 18 or 20 for shinty now.
“Our results dipped in late-April and May, and that’s a crucial period for the season in terms of cup fixtures, and we lost a couple of bad league games then too.
“It’s making sure that we’ve got enough players that can come in and out seamlessly, which is a challenge for any small club.
“We’re developing some younger players who can come in about, and some older players have come back into the fold which we’ve needed.
“Personally, I’m going to work harder. It’s about commitment, but it’s about being organised.
“I want the players to be the most prepared – and in order for them to be that, the coaching team have to be well-prepared and organised, and have a plan of what we’re doing.
“It’s a full-time job in itself, but you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t enjoy it. The reaction we got from the players over the past year has been really positive, and without that it wouldn’t be enjoyable.
“We’re hoping that will be the case again in 2024, and we can grow one or two of the younger players who will be that year older. They are getting bigger and stronger, so it bodes well.”