Cockram's return will be real boost for Garvey: Bell
Lisnagarvey's prolific goalscorer Timmy Cockram will miss the crucial EY Irish Hockey League clash against Pembroke in Dublin on Saturday as he continues to take an extended break following Ireland's exploits at the Rio Olympics.
But there is a chance that the striker will be available for Garvey's second clash with the Dublin side three weeks later - this time in the Irish Senior Cup.
Life without Cockram, so far, has been successful. In fact, Garvey have scored 10 goals in their two opening wins, with James Lorimer converting penalty corners and Andy Williamson and the Nelson brothers, Daniel and Matthew, regularly on the scoresheet.
But coach Errol Lutton awaits the return of his top goalscorer in recent years as Cockram's presence adds so many options to his attack.
Another of Garvey's internationals, Jonathan Bell, admitted: "Timmy's taking an extended break but we hope to have him back soon. We all had an incredible time in Rio, it was an unbelievable experience, although results might not have been as good as we would have liked.
"We have fond memories of the tournament in a special city with a spectacular backdrop and stunning scenery.
"But we're back to the bread and butter and looking forward to another IHL campaign.
"It won't be easy to defend our title as it is unlikely there will be any easy games. The chances are that a few unexpected results could be thrown up along the way.
"However, we've hit the ground running with two wins and we hope to build on that, although Pembroke on their own ground is usually difficult."
Bell has handed over the captaincy this season to Daniel Buser and the midfielder is relishing his new role - he got off the mark with a goal in Sunday's 7-0 success at Railway Union.
Ulster's other two Irish Hockey League clubs, Banbridge and Instonians, meet at Havelock Park with the pressure on the Belfast club after what has been a difficult start following last season's promotion.
Where Bann opened with four points from two games, Inst narrowly lost both against top Dublin opposition, and it isn't likely to be much easier against their Ulster foes.
Meanwhile, two of the Kirk Cup semi-finalists, Portadown and Annadale, meet at Edenvilla in what is the top game in the Ulster Premier League.
And there's also an intriguing clash at Deramore where Belfast Harlequins and Kilkeel meet head-on.