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Lisnagarvey out to recreate glorious cup runs to end 13 year drought

 

By Graham Hamilton

This is the time when much talk centres around new year resolutions, and in Lisnagarvey's case, one of their targets for 2018 is to make it lucky 13 and bring the Irish Senior Cup back to their Hillsborough base.

It's hard to fathom that the Blues - who have won what is recognised as the world's oldest knock-out competition more times than anyone else - haven't had success since 2005.

But they have a chance to keep their dream alive when they face Railway Union in a rearranged second round tie at Comber Road on Saturday (3pm).

The game was originally postponed due to the bad weather in the last week of November.

Errol Lutton's squad has six current Irish internationals in their ranks - Paul Gleghorne, Jonathan Bell, Neal Glassey, Sean Murray, Matthew Nelson and James Lorimer, who between them have almost 450 caps - yet none of them have managed to get hold of an Irish Senior Cup.

They can boast Irish Hockey League, Irish Champions Trophy, Ulster League titles, Kirk Cup and Anderson Cup honours, as well as World League 2 success, and some of them have won European Nations Cup bronze while two have even played in the Rio Olympics.

However, for everyone the missing piece of the jigsaw is the all-Ireland knockout cup.

Gone are the days when Garvey won seven Irish Senior Cup titles in a row, and the current squad is determined to put that right.

Already they have eliminated fierce rivals Banbridge from this year's competition and go into Saturday's tie as clear favourites against a team currently sitting at the bottom of the Irish Hockey League table at the halfway stage.

And having beaten Railway 2-0 in Dublin earlier in the season in the Irish Hockey League, it would be a major surprise if they didn't make it through to the cup quarter-final draw.

Garvey, though, will be without central defender Gleghorne, who is on his honeymoon, but his international team-mates Bell and Lorimer are both back in the frame.

"Yes, none of us appear to have a cup medal between us, but we'd like to put that right," said skipper Daniel Buser.

"We last won the cup in 2005 and I just began playing a year later.

"It's been a new year resolution for about the past five years to win the cup, so here we go again."

Also trying to make it through is Ulster provincial side South Antrim, who take on Irish Hockey League side Pembroke Wanderers, while Mossley and Belfast Harlequins square up at The Glade.

Cookstown's away trip to Three Rock Rovers was also down for decision but has been put back a week.

Meanwhile, Instonians will be hoping Kilkeel can do some damage against Ulster Premier League leaders Bangor on Saturday, as this would give them a great chance of leapfrogging to the top of the table.

Inst take on bottom team Cliftonville at Shaw's Bridge and should win, whereas Bangor have a tricky test against Kilkeel.

Linden Cup beaten finalists Raphoe face North Down at their Co Donegal venue but the remaining three games all involve teams in the bottom six.

Newry Olympic have climbed to ninth but will have to be wary of Ulster's top goalscorer in Chris Barnes when they visit Civil Service, while Queen's hope to maintain their recent momentum when visiting Antrim.

Belfast Telegraph

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