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Kingussie wing centre star relishing lower league challenge

By Ali Morrison

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Kingussie's Fraser Munro getting a block in on Martin Mainland (Lovat) in the Artemis MacAulay Cup semi final (North).
Kingussie's Fraser Munro getting a block in on Martin Mainland (Lovat) in the Artemis MacAulay Cup semi final (North).

Kingussie's Fraser Munro is looking forward to a new challenge next season in the lower league.

His final top-flight game in a Kingussie shirt was the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final win over Oban Camanachd, but he is not exiting the scene completely.

He said: “I’ve said for a few years now that I’d like to help out the young guys in the second team when the time came.

“That’s what happened when I was a young player and it worked really well.

“My nephew Rory Munro is with the seconds so if I can help encourage the younger players or help them with things like how they should react when they go ahead in games, or fall behind, then that would be something.”

The Kingussie colts will play in Mowi North Division 2 next season against a mix of second teams and single team clubs.

“North 2 will definitely be a test for the young players,” acknowledged Munro.

“It can be physical, and some pitches will be different to the Dell, that’s for sure, but that is all good experience for them all.

“I’m not just thinking about taking it easy though.

“I’m still on the medal hunt whether that is in the league or the cups. I’d like to see the Kingussie seconds do better in the cups, especially as I’ve never won a Sutherland Cup so that’s something to aim for.”

Whether it has been hamstring problems or a broken arm, injuries have also played a part in Munro’s decision.

He said: “I’ve had a few injuries and I thought I’d broken my arm again in the Camanachd Cup final which is why I was so frustrated when I came off.

“I lost some feeling and my armed ballooned and I was starting a new job on the Monday so that wouldn’t have been good.

“Fortunately, the arm was okay but wing centre is definitely a young man’s game.

“You are expected to be up and down that wing and whilst that was part of the role I enjoyed but it gets much harder as you get older.”

Fraser Munro is hoping to add to his large collection of winners' medals. Picture: Fiona Young.
Fraser Munro is hoping to add to his large collection of winners' medals. Picture: Fiona Young.

The long-time wing centre joined the first team squad in the 2007 season during Iain Ross’s final tenure with the senior side team.

Fraser is another who recalls the influence Ross had on shinty in Kingussie.

He said: “When Rossy spoke, you listened although I remember once telling him that I didn’t think I’d be able to play on a particular Saturday as I was getting a tattoo.

“I won’t tell you what he said back to me but one of the reasons I remember it so well is that he always reminds me of it every time we meet, asking which tattoo it was and if

it was worth missing a shinty match for!”

After playing shinty / hurling at youth level, Fraser Munro never took to the full international game.

“It wasn’t for me,” he said despite being sounded out about being involved during Ronald Ross’s successful stint as Scotland manager.

“There have been a few memorable games over the years.

“We had some great games against Fort William and playing directly against John MacDonald was always a challenge.

“I remember when we lost to Fort William in the 2008 final. It was my first Scottish final and there weren’t enough medals to go round so Ronald Ross offered me his silver medal.

“I didn’t take it though; I only wanted winners medals.

“We lost a Camanachd Cup final against Fort William in 2010 when Gary Innes scored the winner in the last minute, but the 2014 Camanachd Cup win was special.

“It was my first Scottish win, and it was quite a one-sided final whilst previous ones were more of a slog, they were closer, and some went to extra-time.

“To win in 2014 was just a bloody relief, really.”

“I also remember the 2011 MacTavish Cup final against Fort William when I took a pass from Ronald Ross and scored the opening goal after just 60 seconds. We won 4-2 and I got man of the match that day so that one sticks in the mind.”

A spell with the Kingussie seconds will offer the opportunity to make more memories but manager Iain Borthwick knows Munro will be a big loss to the senior side.

He added: “Fraser has been an outstanding wing centre for Kingussie.

“His performance levels have been consistently high over a long period of time now.

“He has been troubled by injuries over the last couple of seasons but was totally dependable whenever called upon.

“There’s no doubt we’ll miss both James and Fraser but there are now opportunities for our younger players to come in and stake a claim.”

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