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Tumilty determined to make Garvey a force again

By Graham Hamilton

Lisnagarvey's new coach Mark Tumilty has admitted the Blaris Blues are not the force they once were.

But he has warned teams that they won't be a pushover and that he will be a disappointed man if they don't secure a place in the new All-Ireland League which kicks in next season.

Garvey, of course, had a poor campaign last term by their own high standards, and indeed were held to a home draw by Senior One side Antrim in the Kirk Cup opener last Saturday.

That sent a buzz throughout the sport, as some teams rubbed their hands in glee at the propsect of another Garvey poor showing this term.

But Tumilty, although cutting his teeth on the coaching front, doesn't see it that way.

"The effort from the squad pre-season has been excellent, and we didn't do that much wrong against Antrim ... apart from not doing well at penalty corners.

"We won eight and didn't convert any. Rest assured we've been practicing set pieces this week!

"With Mark Robinson back on board after a year away and Jason Lynch fitting in well since his arrival from Cork, we've a stronger squad than last term.

"But we have to be realistic. We are not the force we once were in Ulster or Ireland, and that's something we hope to put right.

"I want to see Garvey back in the forefront in Ulster, and also qualifying for the All-Ireland play-offs at the end of the season. And, of course, qualifying for the new All-Ireland League set-up which starts next season."

Tumilty's lads take on Lisburn neighbours South Antrim on Saturday but it's the derby clash against Banbridge next week which will decide whether they make the Kirk Cup semi-finals or not.

Bann now have the edge in their pool, following Garvey's slip-up against Antrim, but Tumilty isn't too distressed.

"At the end of the day, we still need to beat Bann in the final game. Sometimes it's better knowing you need to win the game rather than knowing a draw would suffice."

In the other pools, the seeded teams are expected to make it two wins from two and go into next week's showdowns in a strong position to make it to the semi-finals.

Annadale, Instonians and Cookstown are already topping their pools on goal difference and with home advantage next week too, should progress at the expense of Kilkeel, Mossley and Bangor respectively.

Inst captain Chris Barnes, one of the most prolific strikers in Ulster, has already set a marker for the season with a five-goal haul against Queen's last week.

KIRK CUP Pool A: Annadale v Raphoe, Jordanstown, 2.30pm; Kilkeel v North Down, Kilkeel HS, 2.30pm. Pool B: Instonians v Belfast Harlequins, Queen's 1pm; Mossley v Queen's, The Glade, 2.30pm. Pool C: Cookstown v Civil Service, Cookstown HS, 2.30pm; Bangor v Portadown, Ballykillaire, 2.30pm. Pool D: Banbridge v Antrim, Havelock Park, 2.30pm; Lisnagarvey v South Antrim, Hillsborough, 2.30pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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