Coach hails ‘Champions’

Lisnagarvey celebrate with the shield after defeating Banbridge. Photograph By Declan Roughan  / PressEye
Lisnagarvey celebrate with the shield after defeating Banbridge. Photograph By Declan Roughan / PressEye

Lisnagarvey Hockey Club Head Coach Errol Lutton has hailed his players for their ‘fantastic’ season, after they won the Champions Trophy last weekend.

Garvey added the Champions Trophy to their Irish Hockey League title, securing a place in the European Hockey league along the way, as they emerged top in the tournament which saw Ireland’s four top sides meet at Havelock Park, Banbridge.

Lutton said his players were ‘a joy to coach’ as he reflected on a superb season for his side.Speaking following their triumph, a delighted Lutton said: “It was brilliant.”

He continued: “On Saturday we played a very good Pembroke team, and the team played very well to get through to the final.

“We started quickly, and they responded, but we managed to stay ahead and save a wee bit for Sunday, no matter who we played.

“There is not too much we didn’t know about Monkstown and Banbridge, but when we knew we’d play Banbridge, who we’ve played many times, we had a fair idea of how the game would go.

“The guys were super in the final,” the coach added.

“Having won the IHL, we knew we’d already secured a place in Europe, albeit we didn’t know which competition, until Banbridge play next month and we wish them well when the time comes.

“But all the other teams were fighting to get to Europe and as we were already there it seemed we had a little less pressure.

“The key for us was to win the IHL, certainly finishing the with one trophy would have been fantastic, but to not finish with two might have been a little disappointing.”

Lutton said he was incredibly proud of his squad for having won the tournament, which featured the four top sides in Ireland.

“Everybody was there on terms of their places in the league,” he said.

“Banbridge were fantastic hosts. The ground is fantastic, the screens, the marquee, there was fantastic support.

“To play there and win was fantastic,” he added. “It was great for Ulster and Irish hockey to get that sort of crowd at a match.

“The guys were super to win in the final,” the coach stated.

As well as Lisnagarvey picking up awards, the Garvey coach also picked up an individual award, having been awarded the Club Performance Coach of the Year, which the ever-modest Lutton was reluctant to focus on.

“I usually like to keep a low profile,” Lutton commented.

“It’s a reflection on how great the players are I have in front of me.”

Reflecting on such a successful season, Lutton stated: “From my point of view, you need two or three things to work well. The support from the club. from the Chairman Mark Murray, to the management, we’ve had their full support throughout the season.

“My own support staff, Bruce Agnew, Raymond Geddis, Claire McCracken and Dean Beckett; I wouldn’t be able to do it without their support.

“And the supporters, who have been with us all season. They have travelled to Cork and to Dublin, they’ve been across Ireland and have been fantastic.”

Lutton, however, saved his praise of the Garvey players - the men who have delivered the glory to Lisnagarvey this season - to last. “The players have been excellent,” he said. “They have been an absolute joy to coach. I always look forward to training.

“I’m delighted for them,” he added. “The cups have been won and they can enjoy the next three or four weeks, I hope they really enjoy themselves.”