Third time lucky for super Garvey

Lisnagarvey 3 Dublin YMCA 1

Lisnagarvey, after two successive failed attempts to win the IHL Champions Trophy, finally achieved their goal when they defeated Dublin YMCA by 3 goals to 1 at Comber Road last Sunday.

Kyle Lunn’s team fully deserved their success as they played some superb hockey in their two matches against Cookstown in the semi final and YMCA in an anxious but eventually comfortable final.

Garvey took the game immediately to their opponents and forced their first penalty corner in the 4th minute. Timmy Cockram’s drag flick was well saved by the excellent YM goalkeeper Graham Woods, but the ball seemed to strike the foot of a YM defender but no penalty stroke was awarded and play continued.

Cockram was the constant threat to the Dublin team and he was very close to opening the scoring but again was confronted by Woods who cleared his lines with a positive block.

Throughout the opening quarter of the game Garvey totally controlled possession and without creating a lot of chances, their opponents were penned in their own half defending stubbornly.

Andy Forrest and Cockram combined in the 21st minute to open up the YM defence but in the end Cockram chose to shoot rather than return the ball to the well placed Forrest, but a minute later Forrest did receive a great pass from his team mate but again Woods was there to save YM.

The first half ended with Garvey somewhat frustrated with their lack of finishing power but they were urged to keep their patience. Another penalty corner in the 40th minute was very well parried by Woods, but Cockram gave the goalkeeper no chance with a rocket drag flick into the roof of the net in the 46th minute to give Garvey a belated but fully deserved opening strike.

Greg Thompson was responsible for the next penalty corner in the 51st minute and this produced Garvey’s second and vital goal. This time the ball was switched from Cockram to Steven Arbuthnot on the right of the circle and he found the net with a well placed shot which beat the unsighted Woods.

Garvey were now in complete control with 20 minutes left in the game but not for the first time this season they conceded a goal immediately after scoring themselves. YMCA, broke very quickly down the left hand flank and after just three passes Jamie Tobin swept the ball into the Garvey net with goalkeeper John Tormey unable to make a save. The YM goal, although poorly defended, seemed to inspire Garvey to finish off the job and they had a succession of shots on the YM goal; both Peter MacDonnell and Daniel Buser, who were outstanding all afternoon just failed to add to Garvey tally but in the 67th minute the game and trophy were sealed for Garvey. Stuart McNiece had a lot of room on the right of the circle and succeeded to slip the ball to Cockram who nudged it over the goal line from a matter of inches.

With just a couple of minutes remaining YM lost two players with yellow cards as they could not cope with the skill of the Garvey midfield where Mark Raphael was again the main performer with yet another incredible 70 minutes in a Garvey shirt. YM, in an effort to score a second goal went to the lengths of taking off their goalkeeper Graham Woods who was later voted man of the match, but their tactics came to nothing as the match ended with Garvey still on top and fully deserved of their 3-1 victory. Scenes of relief and celebration insued as Garvey had eventually cracked the IHL barrier and now will look forward to their place in the European Hockey League at the start of next season.

Garvey captain, Jonny Bell received the Presidents salver from IHA President Herby Sharman and dedicated the weekend’s success to two of Garvey’s stalwart members who died recently, John Kennedy and Martin Logan.

Garvey’s Timmy Cockram was presented with the Player of the Tournament award and also was named as equal top scorer in the competition with Ian Sloan; both players scored 9 goals.’

The success speaks volumes for the Garvey coaching staff of Kyle Lunn and his second in command, John Gray; they have at all times instilled a great team spirit and a desire to play attacking hockey when at all possible. They now can relax with the ‘big one’ under their belt and manager Nigel Howard can organise their next hurdle; the Irish Senior Cup in Dublin with a view to completing a great Irish double.

Garvey have a semi-final against unknown Railway Union on Saturday at Belfield at 3.00pm. The other semi final will be between Instonians and Cork Harlequins with the Irish Senior Cup final on Sunday at 3.00pm.

The Garvey squad is as follows: Jonny Bell[capt], Brian Waring, John Tormey, Steven Arbuthnot, Mark Raphael, Peter MacDonnell, Daniel Buser, A.Fallis, A.Forrest, M.Harte, Greg Thompson, Robert Cumins, S.McNiece, Graham Bittle, Timmy Cockram, Richard Arneill, Adam McCann.