Lisnagarvey Hockey Club got life in the Irish Hockey League off to a dream start last weekend, with a 3-2 win against Pembroke Wanderers in Dublin.
Lisnagarvey’s head coach Errol Lutton said he was ‘delighted’ to see his side win their opening match in the EY Hockey League, which will see Garvey pit their wits against the best in Ireland.
And they come no bigger than tomorrow’s (Saturday) visitors to Comber Road, when the reigning champions Monkstown arrive in Hillsborough.
But with a fine win against Pembroke last weekend, Garvey will be confident they can challenge not just tomorrow, but throughout the season.
Speaking about last weekend’s win, coach Lutton said: “We played a very good team, one of the top teams in Ireland. To go down there and beat them on their own pitch was fantastic.
“It was a great game of hockey and we’re delighted to get the win,” he said.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s encounter with Monkstown, Lutton added: “Having won the IHL for the past three years, they have a huge amount of quality. They’ve added some new players and a new coach.
“They set the benchmark of where teams want to be,” he said. “They are the top team in Ireland with top players, but we have top players, too and see ourselves as capable of competing.
“We’ve brought in a couple of new guys, Paul Gleghorne and Neal Glassey. They both had a fantastic pre-season.
“Paul was away with Ireland in the Euro’s and Neal was in the Ireland squad, but training with us. They are two quality players.”
With new signing Neal Glassey getting a goal for Garvey on his debut, he couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“For Neal to score, there is nothing better than playing your debut and scoring, but his general game was fantastic. They both had good games,” Lutton stated.
There is great excitement around the club and amongst supporters now that the IHL is underway.
“This is what the players and club voted for and now it’s here,” said Lutton.
“We’ve been looking forward to it for some time and now it’s upon us and it’s an exciting time. We had lots of support with us down in Dublin and I imagine that will be the same every week.
“The club is looking forward to the first home game in the league. We are looking to do something different, do something different before and after the match for younger fans.
“It is all change for hockey, on the back of Ireland doing so well, there’s a spring about hockey. Obviously, now the IHL has started it’s very much in the papers.
“I’d certainly like to think we can challenge in this league,” he said.
“With the squad of players we have we are in a position to challenge in the league, and I hope come the end of the season we will be involved in the business end, be it in the league or the Irish Cup.”
The club has planned a number of events before and after the game against Monkstown. Pre-game there is a lunch for the club sponsors as well as the Mayor and other representatives.
After the game there will be live music in the bar from 5.30pm to 7.30pm as well as a drinks promotion. The Rugby World Cup games between Scotland and South Africa at 4.45pm, as well as the England v Australia game at 8pm will be on the televisions.