Neil Glassey marked his tournament debut as a Lisnagarvey player with a goal as the Hillsborough side were crowned McCausland, Light and Rankin super-nines champions at sunswept Stormont yesterday.
The Irish international, who joined the club from Mossley, was on the mark against his former team mates as Garvey finished the tournament in style with a 3-0 win against the Newtownabbey outfit.
Garvey went into the game needing only a draw to claim the trophy after opening with two wins over Instonians (2-1) and Banbridge (3-0).
Bann had kept the last game alive by beating Instonians 1-0 thanks to a terrific backhand strike from Owen Magee.
Had the penultimate match ended in stalemate then Garvey would have won the tournament with a game to spare rendering the Mossley game irrelevant.
But the underdogs were left with it all to do after Glassey put Garvey 1-0 up at the break before Andy Williamson added two more after the restart.
Triumphant coach Errol Lutton was delighted at the outcome as he looks forward to the upcoming IHL campaign when Garvey will pit their wits against the top clubs in the country.
In addition to the acquisition of Glassey, Garvey have also signed Paul Gleghorne, who was named man-of-the-match in the 4-2 win at the Olympic Park in London.
“I had been texting Paul through the week as I knew he was carrying a shoulder injury but, hopefully, he will be available for us at the start of the IHL,” said Lutton.
“It’s fantastic for Irish hockey that the team did so well and hopefully we can build on the publicity, especially now that we have the IHL to play for.
“The good thing about it is that there are gaps in the programme to allow the Irish players like Paul and Jonny (Bell) to continue their training without prejudicing their club hockey.
“The super-nines was a good exercise for us especially as we had a number of players not available, other than Paul and Jonny.
“We were able to give some of the younger lads a run out and it was good to get playing hockey after we had various other elements to our pre-season, including a team building trip up the north coast.”
Garvey had to come from behind in their opening match after James Corry had given Instonians a first-half lead but goals from Andy Forrest and Daniel Nelson saw them emerge with a 2-1 win after Bann had opened with a 3-1 success over Mossley.
Inst had beaten Mossley 2-0 in game two of the day but that defeat ended the south Belfast side’s chances of lifting the trophy.
But new coach Stephen Redpath was happy to have the opportunity to play in the tournament as Inst prepare for the Ulster Premier League campaign.
“Being nine-a-side on a full-sized pitch it gave me an indication as to what our fitness levels are like and we have a bit of work to do on that front so it was a useful exercise.” he said.
“Our aim this season will be to finish high enough in the Premier League to have a chance of making it into the IHL next season.”
Next up it was a virtual title-decider between Garvey and Bann and it was the former who came out on top 3-0, two of the goals coming from Daniel Nelson and one from Williamson.
Meanwhile in the Plate competition, Cookstown won the trophy with a game to spare, Raymond Millar, Timmy Sloan and John Ames scoring in a 3-0 win over the Irish Under 18s who are preparing for the UK School Games next weekend.
Results: Mossley 1 Banbridge 3; Mossley 0 Instonians 2; Instonians 1 Lisnagarvey 2; Lisnagarvey 3 Banbridge 0; Banbridge 1 Instonians 0; Mossley 0 Lisnagarvey 3.
Placings: 1. Lisnagarvey 12pts; 2. Banbridge 8; 3. Instonians 4; Mossley 0.