Garvey stutter as Bann fire out derby warning
The last thing Lisnagarvey needed before next week's huge derby clash with Banbridge was a humiliating home defeat in the EY Irish Hockey League.
But that's exactly what happened as current all-Ireland champions Monkstown ran up a 5-2 success at Hillsborough, leaving Garvey coach Errol Lutton to muster his troops in time for the Bann showdown in this Saturday's late slot at Havelock Park.
There's little doubt the Blues sorely missed the steadying influence of long-time injured skipper Jonathan Bell, but the good news is that he may be able to make his first appearance of the season against a Bann side who have already won both of their opening games and are the IHL's top scorers with nine goals.
Bann's visit to Railway Union was a potential banana skin but Mark Tumilty's men wore them down in the second-half to end up 6-1 winners.
Talisman Eugene Magee played a major role, scoring a superb goal and setting up another, while Neil Gilmore chipped in with two.
For Garvey, though, it was a tough lesson to learn.
They gave Monkstown too much respect in the first-half, by which time they were three in arrears, and it wasn't until the third quarter that they suddenly grasped the game.
The Dublin giants were generally faster on the ball, spread it around better, were much stronger in the tackle, weren't afraid to break down play when not in possession and crucially were clinical in front of goal.
Irish internationals Kyle Good and David Carson looked particularly sharp, as did Andy Ward and Ulsterman Peter Caruth, and it was no surprise that this quartet contributed to the comfortable interval lead.
A well worked penalty corner saw Andy Williamson pull one back and Steven Arbuthnot got another from second phase play.
But chasing goals left them vulnerable to the counter-attack and Carson's pace set up Ward for his second and then Good showed a clean pair of heels to rifle in Monkstown's fifth.
In between, James Lorimer squandered the chance of a third Garvey goal from the penalty spot to sum up a disappointing afternoon for the home side.
It all means that Bann, Monkstown and Cork C of I are the only teams to have won two from two, with John Jermyn the league's top marksman after scoring his second hat-trick in C of I's 4-2 win at Glenanne.
Annadale's Chris Jackson earned his side a point with a late equaliser against Three Rock but Cookstown were left with a mountain to climb against Pembroke when Stuart Smyth was red-carded in the first-half, finally losing 3-1 despite a wonder goal from Mark Crooks.
Meanwhile, the Kirk Cup semi-finals will be between Instonians and Harlequins, and Mossley and Civil Service, with the Linden Cup semi-finals between Bangor and Queen's, and Campbellians and Cliftonville.
EY Irish Hockey League: Lisnagarvey 2 (A Williamson, S Arbuthnot) Monkstown 5 (A Ward 2, K Good 2, G Watkins); Annadale 1 (C Jackson) Three Rock 1 (J Walker); Railway Union 1 (M English) Banbridge 6 (N Gilmore 2, E Magee, J Moffatt, S Dowds, J Wright); Glenanne 2 (E O'Malley, G Shaw) Cork C of I 4 (J Jermyn 3, P Brownlow); Cookstown 1 (M Crooks) Pembroke 3 (J Sherriff, A Sothern, H Spain)
Kirk Cup: Instonians 3 (S Kelso 2, W Robinson) Portadown 2 (G Croft, J Brown); South Antrim 1 (M Gray) Civil Service 4 (C Barnes 2, R Anderson, P Johnston); Raphoe 0 Kilkeel 2 (G Russell, D Rae); North Down 2 (C Speers, P Wilson) Harlequins 6 (C Lemon 2, J Hutchinson, L McClelland, S McGrath, N Anderson)
Linden Cup: Queen's 3 (S McQueen 2, T Sturgeon) Campbellians 4 (S McMillan, J Easley, S Kirk, A Burnside); Armagh 3 Portrush 2; Bangor 8 (R Burgess 3, S Scales 3, D McClune, R Cunningham) Ballynahinch 1; PSNI 0 Cliftonville 6 (D Hurley 3, M McKimm 2, W Booker).