Erroll Lutton knows that every game in the EY Hockey League is going to be hard, as his Lisnagarvey side were given a tough lesson by Monkstown, who hammered them 5-2 at their Hillsborough base.
Even so, the Garvey coach wasn’t too disheartened after the game, when he said: “I thought it was a good game, especially for the spectators. Monkstown are the bench mark where teams have to be and they played very, very well.
“They scored five goals and you can’t take that away from them. We need to get our level up and it’s good to get a good look at the level we should be at this early in the season. We played much better last week but we played a very good team this week.”
Garvey really didn’t start firing until the third quarter, when they scored two goals to get back into the game, something Lutton agreed with. He said: “I thought the guys were a bit nervous playing in front of a home crowd. But even though we were 3-0 down, we were still in the game and to get back to 3-2 was a credit to the guys.
“But they scored a great goal at the end of the quarter and maybe if we had put the stroke away, things may have been different.”
Games don’t come any easier, as Garvey now travel down the A1 to Banbridge next week and Lutton knows that. He said: “People keep saying that games aren’t going to be easy but this is the level the guys want to play at. All the matches are tough and it doesn’t really matter who you play, they are all tough games.”
After just four minutes on the clock, Andrew Ward squeezed home the opener for Monkstown and on 23 minutes, Peter Caruth found Gareth Watkins loitering free in the circle, for Watkins to make it 2-0.
And with two minutes of the half remaining, Kyle Good slammed home the visitors third goal.
This wasn’t in the Garvey script but with Monkstown down to 10 men, after Carl Smyth was carded, Garvey punished the Dublin side, when Andy Williamson finished off a well worked penalty corner routine.
Four minutes later Garvey were back in it, this time Steven Arbuthnot popping up to score. But Monkstown hit back right on the whistle for the end of the 3rd quarter, when Andrew Carson slammed the ball in from the left at head height to be met by Ward for a superb second goal.
Minutes into the last quarter James Lorimer could have reduced the deficit but he will want to forget his penalty stroke, as the ball never got off the ground rolling kindly to David Fitzgerald for a simple save.
And with Garvey pushing forward, Monkstown struck again, when Good scored a screamer, rattling the ball off the back boards.
A delighted Monkstown coach, Johnny Caren, said: “This result has been a long time coming for us. Everything just connected and this forward line must be the best in the country and I wasn’t surprised that we scored five goals.
“Even when Garvey brought it back to 3-2 we were prepared for that and we knew that we could score again. But to take three points off Garvey at their base, I am well happy with that.”