Lisnagarvey began their new Irish Hockey League programme with an impressive 3-2 win over Pembroke Wanderers at Serpentine Road, Dublin last Saturday.
With club captain Jonny Bell still side-lined through injury but fielding Paul Gleghorne and Neal Glassey in their first outings for Garvey, they started well when Timmy Cockram had a shot saved by keeper Ingram in the 3rd minute.
Pembroke immediately replied with a reverse shot by Alan Southern going just wide of the upright in the 9th minute.
After a short period of pressure the home side forced the opening penalty corner of the game in the 11th minute and Garvey keeper John Tormey had to make a slick save and seconds later Richard Arneill had to be at his best defensively as Garvey had to weather the early storm.
Pembroke’s second penalty corner came in the first minute of the second quarter but again Tormey was equal to the resulting shot and two minutes later Garvey earned their first set piece following a brilliant 70 metre run by Sean Murray.
The shot from Lorimer was blocked but the rebound fell to Neal Glassey whose effort was picked up by Timmy Cockram who opened the scoring at the right hand post.
After a scare when Gleghorne was caught in possession on his 22 metre line the danger was cleared up by James Lorimer, Daniel Nelson’s first touch on the pitch went narrowly wide of the post in the 26th minute.
The first half ended with Garvey still holding the goal advantage but with very little between the teams a quick start was imperative and a good run by Peter MacDonnell put his team on the front foot but Andy Williamson could not get a touch on his reverse stick centre in the 33rd minute.
Pembroke retaliated with a quick break-away in the 35th minute forcing their 3rd penalty corner as a result but John Tormey again made a good save this time form Justin Sherriff.
Another good raid into the Garvey circle in the 37th minute led to another penalty corner from Pembroke and this time Alan Southern made no mistake with a powerful drag flick past Tormey to bring the score to parity.
Garvey responded in fine fashion just two minutes later when their second set piece led to a well worked switch to James Lorimer who slotted home from the middle of the circle to give Garvey the lead after 39 minutes.
In the 44th minute, Garvey had the chance to seal the points when they were awarded a penalty stroke but unfortunately Timmy Cockram’s resulting flick cannoned off the left hand post giving Pembroke a life-line.
Garvey led at the three quarter stage by 2 goals to 1 and Peter MacDonnell almost made it three after a great run and a shot which was well blocked by Ingram in the 46th minute and a minute later another scoring chance was wasted when their 3rd penalty corner was too slowly executed.
Sean Murray, undoubted man of the match had a superb dribble through the Pembroke defence and following the chaos he had created, Neal Glassey popped up to score the vital third goal in the 56th minute and it looked as if Garvey had done enough to grab the spoils.
However, they suffered a scare before the end as Alan Southern scored his second penalty corner in the last minute to bring the score-line to 3-2 but less than a minute later Garvey had gained their first and very important win in the competition.
This had been a determined performance by a new Garvey line-up which showed great potential in their opening match but they face two more severe challenges in the next two week-ends. First they entertain Monkstown, possibly the strongest team in Ireland, to Comber Road on Saturday at 3p.m. and this is immediately followed by a trip to Havelock Park on October 10th to face old rivals Banbridge.
If Garvey can come through these series of matches without defeat they will be well placed to seriously challenge for the first I.H.L. title. And their hopes could be enhanced by the return of skipper Jonny Bell who might well make his first appearance within the next two weeks.
Garvey team: John Tormey (gk), James Lorimer, Richard Arneill, Paul Gleghorne, Steven Arbuthnot, Johnny Quigley, Peter MacDonnell, Mark McNellis, Paul Ritchie, Sean Murray,Neil Glassey, Ryan Getty, Timmy Cockram (capt), Andy Williamson, Andy Forrest, Daniel Buser, Daniel Nelson.
The match is at Comber Road at 3p.m.