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Lisnagarvey have a big point to prove after Euro row, admits Corry

 

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Lisnagarvey and Banbridge, who were in first and second place respectively when last season's EY Irish Hockey League was abandoned due to the coronavirus, will have home advantage when the new campaign gets under way on September 26.  (stock photo)

Lisnagarvey and Banbridge, who were in first and second place respectively when last season's EY Irish Hockey League was abandoned due to the coronavirus, will have home advantage when the new campaign gets under way on September 26. (stock photo)

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Lisnagarvey and Banbridge, who were in first and second place respectively when last season's EY Irish Hockey League was abandoned due to the coronavirus, will have home advantage when the new campaign gets under way on September 26. (stock photo)

Lisnagarvey and Banbridge, who were in first and second place respectively when last season's EY Irish Hockey League was abandoned due to the coronavirus, will have home advantage when the new campaign gets under way on September 26.

Bann will host Pembroke Wanderers at Havelock Park while Garvey face Three Rock Rovers at Comber Road, with Annadale travelling to Dublin to meet YMCA.

Garvey's clash with Rovers sees next season's European representatives go head-to-head, and the Hillsborough side will be anxious to prove a point after having to settle for the second seeding behind the Leinster team following a series of appeals.

Garvey felt the fact they were runaway leaders of the IHL when it was declared null and void should have seen them awarded a place in the prestigious European Hockey League.

Instead, Hockey Ireland used the finishing positions from the last completed season to determine the order of merit, a decision that was set in stone by an independent arbitration panel after Garvey had an earlier appeal upheld.

So, after a fairly protracted wrangle, Rovers, who were fourth when the national league was halted but won the play-offs in 2018-19, will represent Ireland in the top flight next year, while Lisnagarvey will contest the third tier.

Team captain James Corry said: "We are gutted not to be going to the EHL as we were clearly the best team in Ireland last year, but we have got to suck it up and prove it again this year.

"The southern teams seem to have done lots of business over the summer, so will be in a strong position, but we'll continue to work hard with our young group and see what happens."

Garvey will be without two of last season's squad as Ireland defender Peter McKibbin is playing his hockey in Germany and Under-21 international Scott McCabe has returned to Queen's.

Banbridge will also be short handed as striker Johnny McKee has joined Bundesliga side Crefelder, while Annadale have lost Ryan Burgess who has returned to Bangor as player-coach.

On the women's front, Pegasus, who will be playing in the EHL next season, open their campaign at home to Pembroke, while Belfast Harlequins entertain Old Alex at Deramore.

EYHL opening fixtures (September 26): Men: Lisnagarvey v Three Rock Rovers; Banbridge v Pembroke; Monkstown v Corinthian; UCD v Glenanne; YMCA v Annadale. Women: Loreto v Railway Union; Muckross v Cork Harlequins; Pegasus v Pembroke; Catholic Institute v UCD; Belfast Harlequins v Old Alex.

Belfast Telegraph