Samba fever at Garvey

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Samba fever is set to take over Lisnagarvey Hockey Club this weekend, when the Brazilian National team will visit the local club.

Although Lisnagarvey Firsts have finished their programme for the season they have a somewhat different fixture to end their activities.

Garvey will entertain the Brazilian National team to Comber Road on Saturday, with the game starting at the later time of 8pm.

The South American squad are touring Europe setting up training camps on their way and for ten days they are based in the Belfast area.

The team are preparing for an Olympic qualifying tournament later in the year and have arranged a number of matches against local Ulster teams and on Saturday it is the turn of Garvey to be their hosts.

Garvey have picked a mixed squad for the game having little knowledge of the quality of the Brazilians but the fixture is likely to be an entertaining affair with plenty of goals in prospect.

Throughout the weekend Garvey is also hosting the Irish Masters 1 tournament involving teams from all over the country providing great fun for the older players in Ireland. The Masters programme gets under way on Friday evening and lasts right through to Sunday.

Arranged neatly between the Masters and the Brazilian match is the most important game of the day when Garvey Seconds try to reach the Irish Junior Cup final for the first time since 2011 when they defeated Banbridge Seconds in Dublin.

They face top opposition in the form of Monkstown Seconds who are probably favourites to lift the famous old trophy. However, Garvey, led by Philip Stirling, will be fired up for this encounter and have many fine players in the squad to exert pressure on the Dublin team.

With Mark Raphael in midfield Garvey have the key to the match but it will take a massive team effort to blunt the class of a Monkstown club which is riding on the crest of the wave as their senior team has just won the IHL for the third year running and they seem to have great depth in their ranks.

Garvey must be prepared for a battle on Saturday with their free scoring team searching for a top performance which could take them to the coveted Irish Junior Cup final scheduled for Sunday April 26th at Belfield.

Garvey Seconds squad of 18 from which 16 will participate on Saturday is; Philip Stirling (capt), James Milliken (GK), Richard Bothwell, Adam McCann, Ian Davidson, Thomas McRoberts, Mark McNellis, Ross Kelly, Matthew Gleave, Mark Raphael, Scott McCabe, John Gray, Graham Bittle, Matthew Nelson, Julian Stevenson, James Dowling, Mark Robinson and Ryan Getty.

The match starts at 2.30pm.