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Lunn reveals Lisnagarvey frustration as top-tier Euro hopes crushed

 

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The long-running saga over the allocation of European places for next season has finally reached a conclusion and Lisnagarvey have been left disappointed.  (stock photo)

The long-running saga over the allocation of European places for next season has finally reached a conclusion and Lisnagarvey have been left disappointed. (stock photo)

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

The long-running saga over the allocation of European places for next season has finally reached a conclusion and Lisnagarvey have been left disappointed. (stock photo)

The long-running saga over the allocation of European places for next season has finally reached a conclusion and Lisnagarvey have been left disappointed.

Having successfully appealed against Hockey Ireland's decision to hand them the second seeding, the Hillsborough club were looking forward to competing in the continental top flight, European Hockey League (EHL).

However, in an unusual move, the sport's governing body appealed against that decision, taken by an independent appeal panel they themselves appointed.

The Republic-based independent Sports Dispute Solutions Ireland (SDSI) organisation upheld Hockey Ireland's appeal this week with the result that Three Rock Rovers have taken the top seeding and will play in the EHL.

Garvey will now enter the much less prestigious third-tier Euro Hockey Trophy.

After this week's adjudication by SDSI, it's back to the status quo with the four European spots awarded, in the same order of merit, to the same teams.

The women's Irish representatives in Europe next season will be Pegasus, who will contest the EHL, and Loreto.

The affair dates back to May when Hockey Ireland used the last completed Irish Hockey League season to determine the allocation of European places via the play-offs won by Three Rock and Pegasus.

The decision was forced upon them after the 2019-20 season was declared null and void due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Garvey felt the standings at that juncture would have been fairer and, at the time, they were leading the IHL by five points with two games in hand while Three Rock were fourth.

Hockey Ireland stated yesterday: "The panel focused on Lisnagarvey's appeal without any, or sufficient, regard to consequences of such a change to the broader Hockey Ireland decision."

Garvey chairman Kyle Lunn said: "It is very disappointing that Hockey Ireland chose to ignore the most accurate indicator of the teams best placed to represent Ireland's interests at a European level. Various options were available that, in the opinion of Lisnagarvey and Hockey Ireland's own appeal panel, were more accurate and relevant."

SDSI's sole arbitrator stated that the Hockey Ireland board's (original) decision was made "without any procedural infirmity in the absence of which there was no basis for the Hockey Ireland Appeal Panel to overturn the decision of the Hockey Ireland board".

Belfast Telegraph