Lisnagarvey were crowned EYHL champions for the second time in the competition’s four year history on Wednesday night when they got the win they needed to secure the trophy after an emphatic 6-1 victory over Annadale at Comber Road.
Their triumph means that, for the first time, two Ulster sides have won their respective national titles, following Pegasus’ women’s success earlier in the month.
Garvey went ahead through Andy Williamson in the second quarter and Wallace High School captain Johnny Lynch doubled the lead before Dale pulled one back through Kent Irwin before the long break. Matthew Nelson made it 3-1 and then his older brother Daniel got number four after being set up by another Wallace student, Troy Chambers.
Williamson got his second of the night before Lynch did likewise to round off the scoring as Garvey kept on course for a national hockey treble. The Hillsborough side face Three Rock Rovers in the Irish Senior Cup final next month after their EYHL Champions Trophy campaign, contested by the top four EYHL finishers.
Garvey will be joined by Banbridge, Three Rock Rovers and Glenanne in the final four showpiece at Havelock Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The Champions Trophy winners will represent Ireland in one of two spots in Europe next year but Garvey are already guaranteed a trip to the continent after last night’s regulation season success.
Garvey captain James Corry was thrilled with his team’s triumph, achieved with a largely youthful squad folowing the departure of several front line players for the continent and a couple of retirements.
James said: “It was another great performance from the boys tonight. Our young boys have fitted in really well this season and are a massive part of the team.”
“We have bonded very well this season and that is a massive part of the success so far. We will work hard towards the playoffs and Irish Senior Cup final. It will be difficult but we will go into these games with plenty of confidence. “
Garvey will also be aiming for a domestic trophy triumph as they prepare to face Instonians in the Anderson Cup semi-final next Tuesday at Comber Road.
Banbridge staged an incredible comeback to reach the other semi final, defeating Kilkeel 7-0 at Havelock Park to progress 9-8 on aggregate. Trailing 8-2 from the first leg when they fielded a second string, Bann will now meet Cookstown in next Tuesday’s other last four tie.
Bann paraded all their big guns in the rematch and edged out their Co Down rivals with goals from David Rae, Zack McClelland, Josh Moffett, Eugene Magee (2), Alex Tinney and Luke Witherow. Leading 3-0 at the break, Banbridge didn’t relent in the second half although it took a last gasp goal from Rae, who scored with two minutes left, to seal a remarkable comeback win.
“I was happy with the performance and the patience we showed in the second half to score four goals late on,” said Bann coach Mark Tumilty.
“We scored some excellent goals which pleased me but credit to Kilkeel for how they approached the game, their effort and work rate was excellent.”
Meanwhile, Newry booked their place in the Sussex Regiment Cup semi-final against North Down after defeating South Antrim 4-1 on Wednesday last night, with Civil Service due to face meet Queen’s in the other last four game, both ties to be played on April 27.
EYHL: Lisnagarvey 6 (A Williamson 2, J Lynch 2, M Nelson, D Nelson) Annadale 1 (K Irwin)
Anderson Cup Quarter-Final Second Leg: Banbridge 7 (E Magee 2, Z McClelland, J Moffett, A Tinney, D Rae, L Witherow) Kilkeel 0 (Bann win 9-8 on aggregate)
Sussex Regiment Cup: Newry Olympic 4 (K McWilliams, D England, R Simms, C McKnight) South Antrim 1 (J Brown); Belfast Harlequins 1 (A Kenny) Civil Service 3