Lisnagarvey Hockey Club’s title winning team were presented with the I.H.L. trophy at Comber Road on Saturday.
Garvey undoubtedly deserved to win the inaugural Irish Hockey League, having amassed 51 points, 16 ahead of their nearest rivals Monkstown, won 17 of their 18 matches and scored 60 goals along the way.
Head Coach Errol Lutton said that Saturday was ‘a day of celebration’, as club captain Jonny Bell held the I.H.L. trophy aloft at a jubilant Comber Road.
However, before the trophy presentation could begin, the team had one last job to do, playing their final league match against Railway Union.
There would be no spoiling Garvey’s party, however, as they eased to a 6-0 win, the perfect ending to a superb season for the Hillsborough side.
“It was great,” Lutton said of Saturday.
“We played some very good hockey, there was a good crowd out, club members young and old.
“There was a great atmosphere,” he added.
“We look after the playing side of things, but the Chairman Mark Murray, right down to the club committee, have been running some good things on Saturday’s to encourage people to come out and watch.
“Saturday was excellent, credit to the club, it’s always good to play in front of a good crowd.”
Lutton said the support the club has received all season has played a big part in a very successful year.
And as he watched his side lift the trophy on Saturday, he was a proud man to watch their hard work pay off.
“Certainly we play our part as coaches, but no doubt the title win was down to the hard work done by the players,” the ever-modest coach said.
“To get the cup on the last day of the season was a recognition of all the hard work and effort they have put in since the start of last April.
“Saturday was a day for the players, a day of celebration.
“It’s important if you do win a cup that you celebrate,” he commented.
“It’s incredibly difficult to win the title, with the strength of the competition throughout the league.
“Obviously the players did enjoy Saturday, that was a time to celebrate. We’ve won the league, we’ve earned a place in Europe.”
However, the Garvey coach is always looking ahead to what’s next, the hard work never ending.
“The hard work starts again now for the provincial play-offs,” Lutton added, as Garvey will aim to cement a place in the European Hockey League at Banbridge on April 30.
“We’re playing against the four top teams in the country so we know it won’t be easy.
“There’s still a couple of weeks to go. We play a very good Pembroke team in the semi final, so we have to prepare for that over the next nine to ten days. We’re looking forward to the provincial play-offs,” he concluded.