Garvey set to chase silverware

Lisnagarvey Captain Jonny Bell says it would be a '˜fantastic achievement' if the club could add the IHL Champions Trophy to the league title they have already won this season.
Lisnagarvey defend against Pembroke during the IHL season. Pic by Rowland White/PresseyeLisnagarvey defend against Pembroke during the IHL season. Pic by Rowland White/Presseye
Lisnagarvey defend against Pembroke during the IHL season. Pic by Rowland White/Presseye

Garvey end their season this Saturday at Havelock Park, Banbridge when they attempt to lift the IHL Champions Trophy - with Ireland’s top four teams in action.

Having won the IHL by a massive margin, they now have to play against the top four finishers in the league to secure top place in the European Hockey League next season.

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The value of this tournament is under some debate but there is no dispute over the quality of the four clubs taking part.

Garvey by virtue of their IHL champion status take on fourth place team, Pembroke at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, whilst second placed Monkstown play third placed Banbridge at 4.30pm.

Garvey, have already played Pembroke twice in the IHL, winning on both occasions.

Their first game in the league programme back in September was against Pembroke in Dublin and it saw Garvey win by 3 goals to 2.

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They repeated that score-line in March at Comber Road, so must be firm favourites to reach the Champions Trophy final on Sunday at 4.30pm.

Having had the benefit of two weeks rest before this intense weekend, Garvey will have their sights on a final place on Sunday against Banbridge or arch rivals this season Monkstown. The Dublin team are the only one to blot Garvey’s unbeaten season with a 5-2 win at Comber Road and that never to be forgotten Irish Cup Final, when Monkstown won on penalty strokes after a highly controversial match at Belfield.

Garvey would be keen to finish off their superb season with a win over Monkstown to make up for the disappointment of the Irish Cup denouement.

Speaking ahead of the Champions Trophy this weekend, captain Bell said: “The priorty at the start of this season was to win the All Ireland championships, but now our sights very much turn to doing the double.

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“It would be a fantastic achievement and we would take a lot of confidence from how we’ve played this season and the hockey we’ve produced,” he said.

“Each of the matches, the semi final and final are one-off cup games, and past results count for very little,” Bell added.

“Obviously they will give us confidence to know we can beat them, but Pembroke are a dangerous side, one of the biggest clubs in Ireland.

“We know when we are playing Pembroke Wanderers it will be a close game. We have to be bang on the money if we want to win,” the captain stated.

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“To win the play-offs we need to put together two really high quality performances. We’re under no illusions how difficult that will be.

“We’re looking forward to the play-offs and we know if we perform anywhere near our potential, we can do very well.

“It will be difficult to get to the final, but there will be an added edge for us against whoever we play. Against Monkstown obviously we would want to win after our cup final result, and with Banbridge there is the local rivalry, so no matter who we play it will be a heated match.

“Our first hurdle is our game against Pembroke,” he commented.

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“It would be good for the team and the squad as a whole to win the tournament and would be a fantastic reward for the hard work over the course of the season to date.

“It was a big reward to win the Irish Hockey League and it would great to go one step further and add another trophy,” Bell concluded.

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