Lisnagarvey Hockey Club get back to Irish Hockey League action tomorrow (Saturday) in a crunch ‘top of the table’ tie against second placed Monkstown.
Garvey, who currently hold a four point lead over Dublin side Monkstown - league winners the previous three seasons in the league’s former incarnation - are expecting a tough match.
It will be the first time the two sides have met since October, when Garvey suffered a 5-2 defeat at Comber Road.
However, Garvey’s Head Coach Errol Lutton says his side are ‘looking forward’ to the match.
Confidence is high in the Garvey camp, and a 6-3 win over Railway Union in the Irish Senior Cup quarter final last weekend, sets them in good stead for what will be a tough encounter in Dublin.
Lutton said his team ‘played well’, as they booked their place in the semi final of the Irish Senior Cup.
“It’s been a long five to six weeks since they last played, so it’s good to get back to league action,” Lutton said.
“We had a series of friendly matches against Cookstown and Banbridge, but obviously the Irish Cup is a step up in intensity, there was a lot more at stake.
“Railway started brightly and we dealt with it okay. When we went ahead we managed to stay ahead. Previously when we played them we went a couple of goals ahead and they kept coming back.
“It was good to deal with that and keep a two goal lead,” he commented. “We also had the senior guys back from South Africa, so it was a good comeback from them as they’d only had a couple of days rest.”
Garvey now face a semi final against Dublin side Three Rock Rovers at Comber Road on February 27.
“They are all good teams, teams we’ve played this year, and they are all doing well in the Irish Hockey League,” Lutton stated, before the draw.
“No matter who we get it will be difficult. It won’t be easy, we’ll find it extremely difficult to get to the final, but we are not thinking too far ahead.
“We’re back to league action now so we’ll put the Irish Cup to the back of our minds, and then we’ll have to be focused when it comes back around.
“It will be intriguing to see what happens,” he added.
Garvey return to league action for the first time since December 19, and Lutton says his men are ready to return to action.
“The guys have been training well and playing well,” he commented.
“Monkstown played very well against us earlier in the season, but we have kicked on since then and got some momentum.
“We’ve played very very well from that game,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a big game to go to Monkstown.
“We’ve got the international guys back and hopefully they are back into the weekly routine. They are valuable to the bread and butter of the club scene.
“There are no injury worries and now we have 12 or 14 weeks with very little break at all. It will certainly be a very intense phase.
“We have everybody fit and well and we hope that continues.”