Lisnagarvey travelled the long way to Cork knowing they had to record a win to maintain a top four position in the I.H.L. and they could not have asked for a better start.
Making the trip with only 14 in their squad due to a number of injuries, they found themselves three goals ahead after just 14 minutes.
On a bright sunny afternoon at Garryduff, Garvey shocked the league leaders with a goal inside the 5th minute.
A move involving Ryan Getty and Timmy Cockram led to Andy Williamson finding the net and within three minutes they had doubled their advantage. This time the goal came from Garvey’s first penalty corner; Timmy Cockram beat Cork keeper Billy Lynch with a strong drag flick which went into the roof of the goal.
The goal was questioned by the Cork defence but the umpires quickly decided it was a valid strike after inspecting the net.
Cockram was in the action again five minutes later as Garvey dominated play but after some close skill he failed to get in a telling shot and a few seconds later Cork offered their first threat with a half chance falling to Stephen Parker before Garvey returned to the attack.
A second penalty corner in the 13th minute was well blocked by Lynch but a minute later Garvey again shocked their opponents with a stunning third goal. This time it came from the left where Steven Arbuthnot crossed for Daniel Nelson to brilliantly deflect the ball high into the Cork net giving the Cork keeper little chance of making a save.
The score remained 3-0 at the end of a perfect first quarter for the visitors and they might well have extended their lead if Timmy Cockram’s set piece had not gone high over the cross bar in the 19th minute and they had cause to regret the miss when Cork got themselves into the game with a goal in the 21st minute.
Some slack defending on Garvey’s right led to space in their circle and Andrew Gaunt was sharp to spot his opportunity to beat Garvey keeper John Tormey at his right hand post.
Cork, immediately inspired by the goal lifted their effort and for the next ten minutes they took the game to the Garvey defence but could penetrate it due to some expert marshalling by their captain, Jonny Bell.
Chances were swapped in the 26th and 27th minutes when first Ryan Getty put his shot past the upright and at the other end Wolfe did likewise with his reverse stick shot.
The best chance of the second quarter fell to Andy Williamson in the last minute but keeper Lynch was able to block his effort and the score-line remained 3-1 to Garvey in a game which had become much more of a contest since the Cork goal.
Their hard work was rewarded with a second goal in the 36th minute when indecision in the Garvey defence led to Alec Moffett slotting the ball home to give the high quality match even more spice.
Finding themselves under some pressure the recently capped Sean Murray virtually sealed the game for Garvey just two minutes later when he had a great dribble down the middle of the pitch before beating Lynch with a wicked reverse shot on the run to confirm his undoubted class.
The third quarter ended a minute later with Garvey again in the ‘box seat’ and Cork still the vital two goals adrift thanks to the piece of magic by Murray.
A 4th Garvey penalty corner in the 50th minute led to two shots being scraped off the goal line as Garvey pushed to seal the match with a fifth goal and during the final six minutes of a highly watchable game they had a number of chances to add their scoring tally.
Andy Williamson had at least two great chances but after a last minute saved by John Tormey, Garvey had completed a great afternoon’s work with a 4-2 victory even with a very depleted squad of 14 players.
This result was earned by a fine team performance but on the day, Neal Glassey and Sean Murray in midfield, Daniel Buser and Timmy Cockram up front and the impeccable Jonny Bell in defence were outstanding.
Garvey now face yet another crucial weekend with a ‘double header’ against Cookstown and Glenanne. Just why there is a need to play I.H.L. matches on Sundays with some many free Saturdays is unclear, so Garvey welcome Cookstown to Comber Road on Saturday and then travel to Tallaght on Sunday to take on the dangerous Glenanne.
Cookstown’s results have not been good so far this season in the I.H.L. but Garvey know the game will be difficult and another quick start could see the points safe.
Hopefully, Garvey will have Richard Arneill and Andy Forrest back to strengthen their squad. Paul Gleghorne and Johnny Quigley will still be missing but Garvey should be too good for Cookstown at home.
Sunday sees Garvey travel to Dublin to take on Glenanne, who so far have won just one game out of their first four, but Garvey will remember their last trip to Glenanne when the result was left to the last minute and again they will be looking for a disciplined performance; two wins over the weekend could leave them well placed with a third of the I.H.L. fixtures completed.
Saturday’s game against Cookstown begins at the usual time of 3p.m. but before that Garvey Seconds commence their Irish Junior Cup campaign with a first round match against Mossley Seconds at 1pm.
So far the Seconds have had good results but Mossley Seconds will pose a threat as Garvey defeated them by just 2 goals to nil earlier in the season so again a solid performance is required to take them through to the second round of the coveted competition.