Lisnagarvey were crowned the Men’s Irish Senior Cup champions for the first time in 15 years on Saturday after they secured a 3-2 win over UCD.
The Irish Senior Cup is the world’s oldest hockey competition and since its inaugural year in 1894, Lisnagarvey have dominated the scene, lifting the trophy for the 24th time in their home ground over the weekend.
However, they were made to work very hard for that privilege. The students from UCD were competing in their first-ever final but they dominated much of the proceedings and it wasn’t until late in the game that Lisnagarvey wrapped up the win.
The game got underway in a frantic fashion with Garvey’s Ben Nelson grabbing his side’s first goal after just over a minute. Not to be outdone, UCD’s Andrew Meates secured the equaliser just 30 seconds later. The Dublin side pressed hard but aided by some great goalkeeping from James Milliken, Lisnagarvey kept the score level until the end of the first quarter.
UCD continued their assault on the Garvey goal in the second quarter and were eventually rewarded when Sam Byrne gave them a 2-1 lead which remained the score until half-time.
The home side found their rhythm in the second half, and attacked the UCD goal through Mark McNellis and captain James Corry while Ireland international Jonny Bell dominated at the back.
While UCD’s defence held firm throughout the third quarter, Ben Nelson eventually found a way through with 12 minutes remaining in the game, despite Garvey being a man down.
Four minutes later, Andrew Williamson scored the winner for Garvey. However, the drama was far from over with UCD awarded a penalty corner which incredibly bounced off the post, much to the relief of the home crowd.
Lisnagarvey finished on a high with a late attack before the final whistle was eventually blown earning Erroll Lutton’s side their first title since 2005.
UCD crowned Women’s Irish Senior Cup champions
While there was no fairytale ending for UCD’s men’s side, their ladies’ team brought home the Women’s title earlier in the day following a 3-1 win over Pegasus.
Despite having won the Irish Senior Cup four times in the past decade, UCD went into Saturday’s encounter as underdogs considering the experience flowing throughout the Pegasus side in the form of Alex Speers and Ireland international Shirley McCay.
The sides had previously met in the 2018 final which UCD won 4-0 but all signs pointed to a much closer encounter in County Down.
Two early goals proved decisive for UCD, the first coming from Hannah McLoughlin from a penalty corner. Shortly afterward, Michelle Carey showed some incredible skill with her stick to make it 2-0 despite a packed Pegasus defence and UCD managed to maintain that lead until half-time despite serious pressure from the Belfast side.
The fight for the Irish Senior Cup was far from over, however, as Ruth Maguire brought the battling Pegasus side back into contention from a setpiece. That goal set up a grandstand finish as the 14-time winners desperately searched for the equalising score.
Despite all the pressure coming on the UCD goal, it was the students who grabbed the final score of the game, this time through Katherine Egan, sealing their third Irish Senior Cup title in four years.