Lisnagarvey captain James Corry insists most of the pressure will be Three Rock Rovers in Saturday’s Irish Senior Cup final which the Dublin side are hosting at their own ground at Grange Road.
Garvey will be out for revenge after losing 2-0 in the Champions Trophy final at Havelock Park last Sunday. The Hillsborough side, of course, won the regulation season EYHL title and will be aiming for a notable double with a much changed squad from last year.
Corry said: “It was a tough one to take on Sunday but all focus turns to Saturday for the rematch. We know it won’t be easy but we are All Ireland League champions and have plenty of talent to get the job done.”
“We are going to take the Dublin venue as an advantage. Playing at their home ground in an ISC final will create a huge amount of pressure for them. I said it before last weekend – whatever the outcome, this young squad will learn bucket loads for the future. This season has been unbelievable and a massive success.”
“Winning the All Ireland League and qualifying for Europe with such a young squad is unheard of. Nobody gave us any chance at the start with losing 10 players from the squad. We have proved people wrong week after week.”
“We will really enjoy the experience on Saturday and I think Three Rock know they won’t get it easy.”
There are two other finals on Saturday with Newry facing Queen’s in the Sussex Cup and Ballynahinch taking on CI Men in the Intermediate Cup, with both games at Stormont.
Meanwhile. on the women’s front, Pamela Glass has announced her retirement from first team hockey after a glittering career with club and country spanning a quarter of a century.
The Pegasus and former Ireland defender hung up her boots in stylish fashion with two typically impressive displays at the EY Champions Trophy last weekend when the club completed a Champions Trophy-regulation season title double.
Now 39, she made her Pegasus debut at the tender age of 14 and went on to win every trophy on offer, completing the clean sweep at Banbridge on Sunday. Her list of achievements makes hugely impressive reading with, in addition to her weekend swansong, seven all Ireland titles under the old format, six Irish Senior Cup winner’s medals, 13 Ulster Shield successes, 12 domestic league triumphs and numerous inter-provincial crowns at U21 and senior level.
Glass also excelled on the wider stage, having played club hockey in Europe on eight occasions, winning two gold medals in the process and represented Ireland 52 times. She quit the international arena at the age of just 22 after playing at the 2002 World Cup in Perth, Australia.
Her retirement marks the end of an era on that front as she now becomes the last player from the class of 2002 to stop playing first team hockey.
Glass explained: “I had been in the Irish squad for five years and the commitment required was huge so although it might have seemed a young age to quit international hockey, I have no regrets.”
“I had taken a year out of university to play for Ireland and was planning at the time to start up my own business so something had to give and, having played at a World Cup and in two European Championships, I certainly had a good innings.”
After the trip to Australia, Glass concentrated all her efforts on her club hockey with her beloved Pegasus, having joined them at the age of 13 and gone on to have a stellar career with the club.
She added: “There have been so many highlights and playing in my first Europeans and scoring my first Pegasus goal at the age of 14 were just two fond memories.”
“The most satisfying achievement was on Sunday though, having previously come in 2012 when I won an Irish Cup – all Ireland league double playing alongside some of my best mates in Arlene Boyles, Sharon Moffett, Nadine Graham, Claire McMahon and Suzanne Beaney.
Glass admitted she had toyed with the idea of retirement several times in recent years but always discovered a motivating factor to continue playing.
She explained: “What kept me going was not being satisfied with how the previous season ended and then training hard during the summer and staying fit in order to get better. Then when one of my best friends, Shirley McCay, arrived at the club, that was another reason to stay on for another two seasons and playing alongside her and Stephanie Thompson in the Pegasus defence has been a privilege.”
However, Glass won’t be lost to the game entirely as she will play down the club as she prepares to continue a new career at veterans’ level.
She explained: “I made my veterans debut a fortnight ago playing for Ulster over 40s as, with my birth date, I was eligible and it was nice being the baby of a team for once. I also still want to play with my mates and Suzanne and Nadine are on Pegasus seconds, so I plan to join them next season.”
“I’ll always try to give something back to Pegasus, as the club have given me and my dad so many happy memories. It’s the best club in Ireland for so many reasons and that’s why I’ve been there for so long. It’s more than just a club.”
Saturday sees the various plate finals at Stormont with Loreto facing Cork Harlequins in the Irish Senior Cup decider at Grange Road.
Irish Senior Cup Final: Three Rock v Lisnagarvey 3.45pm @ Grange Road
Sussex Cup Final: Queen’s v Newry 10.30am @ Stormont
Intermediate Cup Final: CI v Ballynahinch 3.30pm @ Stormont
Irish Senior Cup Final: Loreto v Cork Harlequins 1.30pm @ Grange Road
Intermediate Plate Final: Omagh 2 v PSNI 1pm @ Stormont
Junior Plate Final: Lisnagarvey 4 v Saintfield 2 11am @ Stormont
Minor Plate Final: Elks 4 v Mossley 4 3.30pm @ Stormont
Qualifying Plate Final: Lurgan 2 v Owls 1.30pm @ Stormont