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LISNAGARVEY HOCKEY CLUB
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A little bit of ‘Garvey History
In September 1901, at a meeting held in the Lisburn Temperance Institute it was decided to form a hockey club to be called Lisnagarvey. The three founder-members were R C Bannister, who became Captain, E L Wilson, the Honorary Treasurer and W S Duncan, the Honorary Secretary. The annual subscription for playing members was set at five shillings, and the original colours were light and dark blue. Often referred to as Garvey they initially only played friendly matches. It was not until the 1903-04 season that the first competitive games took place.
Lisnagarvey has played at several locations in its history. The first home was located off the Antrim Road in Lisburn, where a pavilion complete with toilet facilities was built. The current clubhouse at Hillsborough. In the 1950s the Club moved to its famous Blaris pitches, under the shadow of a huge BBC transmitter. Off the field, a team of back-room helpers worked ceaselessly to establish a social and financial base for the Club. The Club made various structural changes to their premises at Blaris and the venue was used to host International and Interprovincial matches and Cup Finals.
In the 1980s the decision was taken to establish the first artificial pitch complex in Ulster at a completely new venue nearby. This significant move was made possible by the sale of the ‘old’ Blaris grounds to a private developer for retail use. The new home was named New Blaris. In 2002 New Blaris was sold to another retail developer and the club was forced to play its home games at the Queen’s University facilities at Upper Malone. Work on a new home at Comber Road, Hillsborough was started in 2004. This facility featuring a new clubhouse and two water-based artificial turf pitches was completed in time for the start of the 2005-06 season.
In the 1904-05 the club won its first trophy, the Mulholland Shield. From 1904-1908, Lisnagarvey played Junior hockey, reaching the Final of the Irish Junior Cup, but lost the replay 5-0 to Monkstown. They also won the Junior League and the Braddell Shield. These early successes ensured election to for admission to the Senior League. During World War I all hockey was suspended in Ireland. Forty-three club members served with the armed forces, of whom four were killed and four wounded. Four others received the Military Cross for bravery. After the War, the membership increased to over 100 by 1922.
In season 1924-25 Lisnagarvey won the Irish Senior Cup for the first time, beating Limerick PMYA. This Final was remarkable for requiring a second replay and seven periods of extra time were played in the two drawn games. The captain JL Alderdice gave each member of the victorious team an engraved miniature cup to commemorate the achievement. In 1926-27 ‘Garvey again won the Irish Senior Cup, under the captaincy of RTS Bailey. This was the era of the famous Gregor McGregor, an international player who was described as “the most dangerous forward in Ireland”. During World War II competitive hockey was suspended for two years (1939-40 & 1940-41) because Clubs found travelling difficult, due to petrol rationing. The post-war period brought a new era of success to Lisnagarvey. The Irish Junior Cup was won for the first time in season 1954-55. The club’s 2nd team defeated University College, Dublin by four goals to nil in the Final. The club won 9 out of 14 available trophies in 1957-58. As a club, Lisnagarvey won 43 Trophies from 1950 until 1960. The Corken Cup was donated in 1958 as a memorial to Club stalwart Jimmy Corken who died in a drowning accident at Sanremo in Italy. It is awarded to the Ulster team which reaches the furthest stage of the Irish Senior Cup. In the first three years it was won by Lisnagarvey, who have held it 23 times to date.
The transfer to the new premises at New Blaris and the building of a new pavilion led the way for a resurgence of Lisnagarvey’s success on the field. Under the guidance of Coach Terry Gregg, who was appointed in 1987 and others, the club virtually dominated Irish hockey for several years. When Terry Gregg arrived, the Club had not won the Irish Senior Cup for 17 years, despite reaching two Finals and two Semi-Finals. The club achieved the unequalled record of winning the Irish Senior Cup seven years in succession. In addition to the seven consecutive Irish Senior Cup victories, Lisnagarvey won four consecutive Senior League titles, seven Corken Cups, two European B Division trophies, sixth place in the A Division of the European Cup in Frankfurt, one Anderson Cup, one Kirk Cup, two All-Ireland League titles, and two All-Ireland Floodlit Cups. The Second XI also won two Irish Junior Cups, two McCabe Cups and four Junior League I titles.