Lisnagarvey take on Banbridge in the Anderson Cup Final this Wednesday as reigning Champions of the competition.
The tournament has been played this season for the first time since 2019 and has produced a repeat of that year’s final after Banbridge beat Annadale in a thrilling 4-3 semi-final last week and Garvey got past South Antrim at the same stage.
Both sides have seen success this season with Banbridge winning the Irish Senior Cup and the EYHL. Meanwhile Lisnagarvey won the Kirk Cup back in March against tomorrow night’s opponents.
The sides have met several times this season with both teams recording victories against each other and Garvey Coach Erroll Lutton is expecting another tight encounter on Wednesday.
“They are always tight games against Banbridge, the league game at our place was a high scorer and the reverse fixture at their place was 2-1 but again another close match.
All things point towards another close game again with both teams using a mix of youth and experience.”
Lisnagarvey and Banbridge have been competing against one another for the top honours for many years and that has continued into this season. This is the second Ulster Hockey Final between the two this campaign, whilst they also occupied the top two spots in the EYHL this campaign.
Lutton insists the competitive nature between the two sides is good a thing.
“The rivalry goes back a number of years right back to the 80s or 90s it’s just something that has always been there.
There have been different rivalries with different clubs in certain stages of history but certainly Garvey and Banbridge is one that has been there for a while, it makes the game competitive.
Most of the guys know each other from the representative stuff or playing against each other at senior level, which makes it a friendly enough rivalry, but one that produces tight, evenly contested games as has been the case so far this season.”
The competition itself is over a hundred years old with the first edition being held in 1919-20. Tomorrows finalists are the two most successful teams in it’s history and Lisnagarvey are the reigning Champions from 2019.
Lutton is hoping his Garvey side can see off their rivals and retain the title of such a historic competition.
“It is one that you want to win because it’s still a prestigious competition.
I remember as a youngster watching other teams playing in the final, so it is one to win, it’s the last one of the season.
The competition is a very prestigious one for Ulster Hockey but also for both clubs and it goes without saying that both teams want to come away from the final with a win to end the season on a high.”
The Anderson Cup Final will take place on Wednesday the 10th May at 7.45pm at Havelock Park, Banbridge.
Those travelling to the game should be aware that there is set to be an admission fee at the gate with adults being charged £10, concessions and students £8 and juniors £5. Meanwhile 50% of gate receipts will be going to charity with that being split between the Air Ambulance NI and NI Children’s Hospice.