Lisnagarvey Hockey Club

Lisnagarvey Hockey Club is the most successful Irish men's hockey club. The club is based in Hillsborough, County Down, Northern Ireland. It has a current membership of 700. The club also has a ladies section.


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.

transmitter.Fact|date=April 2007 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.

Playing successes

Early years

In the 1904-05 the club won its first trophy, the Mulholland Shield.Fact|date=April 2007

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.Fact|date=April 2007

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.

Post-World War I expansion

After the War, the membership increased to over 100 by 1922.Fact|date=April 2007

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. [Belfast Newsletter 18/03/1925 Page 2, 14/04/1925 Page 10 and 04/05/1925 Page 5] 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. [Belfast Newsletter 28/03/1927 Page 5] This was the era of the famous Gregor McGregor, an international player who was described as "the most dangerous forward in Ireland".Fact|date=April 2007

Post-World War II success

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. [Ireland's Saturday Night 23/04/1955 Page 6]

The club won 9 out of 14 available trophies in 1957-58.Fact|date=April 2007

As a club, Lisnagarvey won 43 Trophies from 1950 until 1960.Fact|date=April 2007

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.Fact|date=April 2007

New Blaris years

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.

Ladies section

A ladies section was added when Lisburn Ladies joined the New Blaris setup in the early 1990s, the first time that a ladies section had played under the Lisnagarvey name for several decades.Fact|date=April 2007

The Lisnagarvey Ladies 1st team currently plays in Section 2 of the Ulster Women's Hockey Union Senior League.

Notable Players

In 1908 Fred Hull won an International Cap - the first by a 'Garvey player.Fact|date=April 2007 So far forty players have followed in his footsteps.

These include

* Gregor Guthrie McGregor (born 1899-died 31 March 1944, age 44). A dangerous forward, Gregor was the most famous Lisnagarvey player in the 1920s and 1930s. He was born in Greenock, Scotland and was selected at age 17 by Scotland. However, as he had moved to Ireland at a young age, he turned down the selection in favour of his adopted country. He played in 19 matches for Ireland. [Northern Whig Obituary 01/04/1944 Page 3]

* Jack Bowden, who first played on the first team as a fifteen-year-old

* Brian Raphael formed a fearsome partnership with Jack Bowden

* Steven Johnson played with the British Squad at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne

* Brown Shaw and Wally Mercer won their first Irish Caps in 1962-63. Wally had the distinction of leading Ireland to success in the Home International Championships of 1968, the first time they won the series since 1949.Fact|date=April 2007

* Michael Bowden, a winger, maintained the family tradition by gaining International honours.

* Jimmy Kirkwood, Olympic Gold Medallist with the British Squad at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Notable Officials

* John Kennedy - President of the Ulster Branch in 1986-87

* Bobby Howard - the first Lisnagarvey man to become Ulster Branch President in 1977-78. He went on to become President of the Irish Hockey Union, in 1989-90, and he had the honour of presenting both the Irish Cups - Senior and Junior - to his Lisnagarvey colleagues during his term of office.


Lisnagarvey has won the Irish Senior Cup twenty one times (and two shares) and the Irish Junior Cup sixteen times, more times than any other club has won either trophy.

* Irish Senior Cup (21 wins and 2 shared)
** 1924-25, 1926-27, 1944-45, 1945-46, 1950-51, 1951-52, 1957-58, 1959-60, 1965-66, 1969-70, 1970-71, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1996-97 , 2002-03, 2004-05.
**Shared - 1940-41, 1961-62

* Irish Junior Cup (16 wins)
**1954-55, 1955-56, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1966-67, 1969-70, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1976-77, 1986-87, 1989-90, 2002-03.

* Ulster Senior League
**1924-25, 1933-34, 1937-38, 1938-39, 1944-45, 1949-50, 1950-51, 1951-52, 1952-53, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1959-60, 1960-61, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1969-70, 1971-72, 1976-77, 1977-78, 1980-81, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02.

* Kirk Cup (29 wins and 1 shared)
**1922-23, 1923-24, 1924-25, 1933-34, 1938-39, 1941-42, 1942-43, 1944-45, 1945-46, 1947-48, 1952-53, 1953-54, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1963-64, 1970-71, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1977-78, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1989-90, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2000-01, 2001-02.
**Shared - 1955-56

* Anderson Cup
**1922-23, 1924-25, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1942-43, 1945-46, 1946-47, 1951-52, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1955-56, 1957-58, 1959-60, 1960-61, 1963-64, 1975-76, 1979-80, 1980-81, 1986-87, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 2007-08 ("incomplete")

Club Ethos

The spirit of the Lisnagarvey Club was summarised by Captain Robbie Taylor in his speech after the 1996 Final of the Irish Senior Cup which was won by Avoca. He quoted part of the 1909 Annual Report of the then Honorary Secretary RC Bannister, a founder-member. "We hope to have a better Season than last, but whether good or bad, it is to be hoped that fair play and good sportsmanship may ever characterise the Lisnagarvey Hockey Club."


External links

* [ Lisnagarvey Hockey Club]

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