‘There’s more to come’ says Garvey skipper

Lisnagarvey HC President Michael Bowden receives match sponsorship from Clyde Shanks.
Lisnagarvey HC President Michael Bowden receives match sponsorship from Clyde Shanks.

Lisnagarvey skipper Jonny Bell has warned that there is ‘more to come’ from his team.

They’re just one point off the summit of the EY League after bagging another two hard-fought victories over Cookstown and Glenanne last weekend.

Timmy Cockram picks up his champagne as Man of the Match from match sponsor Clyde Shanks.

Timmy Cockram picks up his champagne as Man of the Match from match sponsor Clyde Shanks.

That takes them to five wins from six matches and Bell reckons they’re just getting into their stride.

“We have still to get out of third gear,” he said. “There’s a lot more to come from the team.

“We have had players out injured and things but we have managed to get results. We haven’t been able to breathe in any of our games, they’ve been close and we haven’t scored that many goals yet, even though we have created plenty of chances. That will come with time because we have a good squad with a nice blend of youth and experience.

“After Christmas is the business end of the season so that’s when you want to be hitting top form.”

On Saturday, Garvey defeated Cookstown 2-1 at Comber Road and were made to sweat by the strugglers who have now lost five of their opening six matches.

“It was a lot closer than we would have liked it to be,” he said. “We had the chances to tie the game up earlier but at the same time, Cookstown played well and made sure it wasn’t as comfortable as it could have been for us.”

The first quarter was without a lot of incident apart from a Cookstown penalty corner which entered the Garvey net but was disallowed.

Daniel Nelson shot past the post in the 20th minute and a minute later Timmy Cockram also could not find the target when he shot past on the reverse side. Nelson had a chance in the 21st minute but his effort went high over the cros bar and Garvey had to wait until the 23rd minute for the opening goal.

It came after good work by Cockram on the right. His cross was met by Sean Murray, who guided the ball past the Cookstown keeper Ian Hughes to give his team a goal advantage.

Garvey keeper John Tormey was in action for the first time on the stroke of the half time interval. He got his stick to a dangerous Cookstown centre from the right, leaving Garvey narrowly in front after 30 minutes.

Little was conceded by both teams in the early stages of the second half with a half chance for Timmy Cockram being a highlight but in the 40th minute, Garvey grabbed a well deserved second goal through Andy Forrest who broke into the Cookstown circle and blasted his shot past Hughes from 12 metres to widen the gap between the teams.

However, Cookstown were far from finished as they struck back in the 43rd minute. Some slack defending by Garvey gave Stuart Smyth the chance to score from five metres and suddenly the game had become even more of a contest.

Neil Glassey twice saw keeper Hughes at his best in the 44th minute as Garvey piled on the pressure but the three quarter break came with Garvey still ahead 2-1.

They had the chance to extend their lead in the 59th minute but Cockram’s set piece was brilliantly saved by Hughes and in the 61st minute he saw another corner chance repelled by the inspired keeper.

The visitors replied with a penalty corner of their own in the 62nd minute but the effort was well blocked by the Garvey defence while at the other end Hughes again saved his team with blocks from Steven Arbuthnot and Andy Williamson.

Garvey were not to be denied and secure another vital three points.

The Comber Road side are making the new full-season IHL seem like a walk in the park with her sterling run of form but captain Bell is in no doubt it is more of a test for his group of talented players.

He said: “It’s a bigger challenge for us. We know that if the don’t put in at least a seven or eight out of ten performance, we won’t get the result. There are no easy games.”