Corry embracing big step up for Garvey in Europe

Lisnagarvey captain James Corry is expecting a massive difference in standard between their two European trips this year after they were drawn to play French champions CA Montrouge in late September in the Euro Hockey League.

Their extended 2021/22 season only finished in June in Copenhagen with a romp to victory at the EuroHockey Club Challenge I, scoring 38 times in four games as they dismissed Turkish, Croatian, Slovenian and Danish opposition.

It brought a remarkable fifth trophy of their season. As Ireland’s EY Champions Trophy winners, they are now back in with the big boys in the EHL for the first time since 2017 and facing a big challenge in Hamburg.

“Copenhagen was more of a team bonding trip more than anything,” captain James Corry said wryly of the comparison between the two events. 

“The standard of hockey wasn’t that great but this will be slightly more serious on the pitch! It’s the kind of thing you may never get to play in again so you have to take every opportunity!”

Montrouge are another side on the up, winning the third tier in Europe in April as well as landing the French crown. Whoever wins will face either England’s Wimbledon or Hamburger Polo Club, two big sides intent on reaching next Easter’s FINAL8 phase.

“I am sure Montrouge will be good but it is also a match we will have a good chance in. We did avoid one of the Dutch teams which could have been a write-off but this gives us a chance to get through and then face either Wimbledon or Polo which would be a fantastic match to play in. It will be nothing like the Copenhagen trip!”

It will give Garvey an early season focus with this Euro campaign coming after just two rounds of Irish league fixtures. It means a short, sharp off-season but he says many guys are already itching to get back with he, himself, finding it hard to stay away, helping out at club summer camps this week

“Half the boys are training away already and you have a lot in the Irish setup so it will be no bother to them. There’s probably four or five of us who are doing our own thing and then will get stuck into it the first week in August. The boys are buzzing to get back because last season was excellent and we can’t wait to get back at it.

“Having the EHL will make the running stuff that bit easier! Certainly looking forward to it.”

They are likely to travel with a reasonably settled squad but will be without Matthew Nelson who is travelling to Australia in September while his brother Ben has been signed up by Royal Uccle in the Belgian league.”