Kenneth H. Hood


The Final Phase 1945-76

With the final defeat of Japan, and the unexpected end of the war, the Club was in a far stronger position than in 1918-19. It was well organized, had a proved 1st XI, a growing membership (the 3rd XI had been reformed the previous year) and a prosperous financial position. The only thing lacking was a ground of its own, and now the search began in earnest. At first it was confined to the town and its immediate vicinity, but the possible sites proved either unsuitable or too expensive considering their value for building development.
In 1950 an Extraordinary General Meeting was called to consider the acquisition of a field of approximately 5 acres off the Antrim Road, the property of Mr. Thomas Chapman and known as the "rhubarb field". Some members thought that the asking price (�2,000), was too much. It would be interesting to know its present value. More valid objections were that it had no road frontage and being rather uneven and being in the heavy clay belt, the cost of levelling and drainage would be prohibitive. The decision was not to proceed with the deal, and after this it was decided to look further afield.

There was great confidence in the future, but not even the greatest optimists could have foreseen just how successful the next thirty yearsA NOTABLE DOUBLE - 1945-46- Winners of Kirk Cup, Anderson Cup and Irish Senior Cup -Front Row (left to right) S. Finlay, W. J. M. Jess, W. McDonagh, F. C. Jefferson, J. Lappin, H. Clarke. Front Row (left to right) G. D. Smith, J. Corken, D. G. Paul (Capt), J. Bowden, G. B. Raphael would be, including many league titles with 5 successive wins, going a 2-year period without defeat. There were numerous successes in all cups. One of the most pleasing features was that these successes were not limited to the Firsts, but the Seconds emerged as the most successful Junior team of all time. It took the Club over 50 years to win the Irish Junior Cup but it now came to Lisburn 12 times in 21 years. The McCabe Cup presented to the Ulster qualifiers in this competition has never left Blaris since its inception in 1968 until this year. The 3rd and 4th XI's also have had their share of success. In one season the Club annexed 9 trophies. The first XI became the first Ulster side to win the British Championship, and then came the entry into Europe. In the current season 'Garvey became the first holders of the Telegraph Cup for indoor hockey. As well as playing success, came by far the most important development in Club history - first was the move to a permanent home at Blaris, and twenty years later the formation of a Social Club which has added so much to the amenities and has solved the Club's financial difficulties. This idea had its genesis in the mind of Bobby Richardson. It was the subject of many conversations, but to me, at least, it seemed only a pipe dream. Luckily, there were others like Bobby who had greater vision.

In the post-war years, much help and encouragement came from a loyal and active Supporters Club. Not only were its members prepared to travel almost anywhere, but they raised money on their own account and helped in all sorts of fund raising efforts particularly the Carnivals. When the new ground materialized, they contributed a great deal of work to it and the pavilion. It no longer functions, and many of its members have passed on but others are still with us, for example, its President, Mr. James Howard, former Mayor of Lisburn, and now Club President. Another is its former Chairman, Alec Gibson, who still visits Blaris as often as he can, and others include Percy Edwards, Alec McWatters, Cecil Downey and Tommy Lyness.

The first year of peace brought more success. In addition to the Kirk and Anderson Cups, the Irish Cup was retained after a memorable game with Dublin Y.M.C.A. at Bladon Drive which went to extra time.

The Club lost another good friend in the passing of Robert C. Bannister, "who through more than forty years in the affairs of Lisnagarvey was our guide, philosopher and friend".

Next year only the Anderson Cup was retained and in 1947-48 only the Kirk Cup, though the 2nd XI won the Hospitals Cup beating Saintfield in the Final. Two more old stalwarts died, Mr. Hugh Mulholland a former Patron, and Mr. Ernest Boyd.

Brian Raphael and Jack Bowden were honoured by being included in the Oxford-Cambridge Universities side which toured Rhodesia and South Africa at the special request of the South Africa Hockey Union. During the season the 1st and 2nd XI's visited Dublin as the guests of Three Rock Rovers.

In the following year the only trophy won was the Braddell Shield by the 3rd XI. All three elevens had now won this trophy. It was in the latter part of this season that Jimmy Corken returned to hockey after a long illness. Before long he was to establish himself as one of the country's leading players. In the King's Birthday Honours, Brigadier Nelson Russell, D.S.O., M.C., received the C.B., a fitting culmination to a brilliant career. A highly successful Scottish tour was arranged with convincing wins over Edinburgh University, Glasgow University and Northern H.C.

In 1949-50 the Keightley Cup was won with an undefeated league record, the first of five such successes in succession. With no immediate hope of a new ground a good deal of money and effort went into draining and improvements at the Antrim Road pitch. Three Rock Rovers sent two teams to play in Lisburn on the morning of the Ireland v England International. Jack Bowden regained his position in the Irish side at centre-half but announced his retirement from international hockey at the end of the season. Stanley Green also played in all internationals while Henry Mercer scored all four goals in an inter-provincial with Connaught.

1950-51 was another successful year. It began with the presentation of a flag by the Supporters Club which was unfurled by Mr. James Howard at the opening league match. It also saw the return to hockey of Brian Raphael after illness. Once more the league title came to Lisburn and also the Irish Cup, though, they almost went out to Newry Olympic in the first round just managing a draw at Newry but winning the replay very easily. The Final against Dublin Y.M.C.A. at Thiepval Barracks was a great game played in ideal conditions. In what could be called Jimmy Corken's match, the skipper scored a wo nderful winning goal in his sides 2-1 win from a centre from Bobby Howard.

An equally memorable game at the same venue was against a full strength Oxford University team. Though played in the most atrocious conditions, both sides turned on wonderful displays of hockey with star billing going to Brian Raphael on the left wing. The visitors were entertained at a Dinner in the Grosvenor Rooms in Belfast. Jimmy Corken won his first cap and was guest of honour at a Club Dinner in the Temperance Institute. The 2nd XI Won the Intermediate Cup for the second time defeating Portrush 2nds 2-0 at Antrim.

As the next season 1951-52 would be Golden Jubilee Year it was hoped there would be at least equal success, and so it proved. Again led by Jimmy Corken the 1st XI retained both the Irish Cup and Senior League and also annexed the Anderson Cup by beating old rivals Banbridge 2-0 at Bladon Drive. The Jubilee was marked by a Dinner in the Temperance Institute attended by past and present members including four of the "originals", Messrs. R. V. Hamilton (Patron) J. G. Hanna (President), Wallace S. Duncan, and J. Howard Wilson. Also present were officials of the Ulster Branch, the Ulster Umpires Association of the South Antrim and Lisburn Old Boys Hockey Clubs, and of course of the Lisnagarvey Supporters' Club. In replying to the toast of the "original members", Mr. Wallace Duncan recalled that when six of the original members were expelled, one of them was the Hon., Treasurer. There was some delay in getting him to hand over the Clubs financial sssets and when he did so, it was in half-pence.

The Final of the Irish Cup was probably the most exciting ever played. Having got the better of Antrim in a very close game at Blaris by 2-1 'Garvey faced Pembroke Wanderers at Londonbridge Road. Trailing 2-0 until well in the second half, Jimmy Corken scored with only 12 minutes to go and repeated the dose two minutes later. With six minutes to go Pembroke were back in the lead, but in the dying seconds Bert Richie threw himself forward to score a brilliant equalizer. Late in extra time Jimmy Corken ran with the ball to the by-line and squared it back for Irwin Hadden to hook it home with an unorthodox reverse stick shot. Near the end of proper time two lady supporters left the ground in tears and refused to believe the 4-3 result until they saw the Cup in the train. The chance of equalling the "clean sweep" was prevented by the action of the Ulster Branch in witholding the Kirk Cup. Steven Johnston won his first Irish Cap. At Easter a Club XI played very well in the Llandudno Hockey Festival.

Possibly the most important event in the whole history of the Club took place after lengthy negotiations, a field of approximately 51 acres was purchased from Mr. Tom Chapman at Blaris, convenient to the B.B.C. Transmitting Station, about 1j miles from Lisburn. The price (1,250 was a bargain. The Club had most of this in hand but there was also the cost of levelling, estimated at f400 and of a pavilion 1600. At the special meeting which authorized the purchase, Jack Bowden suggested a public appeal to the people and business community of Lisburn. This was later carried out with great success.

Luckily the site was an almost ideal one standing on some 17 feet of sand and so requiring a minimum of artificial drainage except in one corner where some levelling had to be done. This work was carried out by Messrs. McMullen. When the pavilion was built by the Contractor, Mr. Leslie Bell, it cost �850. At the present rate of inflation these sums may seem like "chicken-feed", but in the early 1950's they were very considerable. The appeal originated by Jack Bowden exceeded the target of 11,100 and other plans such as the organization of a Carnival in collaboration with Messrs. Barry were envisaged. Once the ground was laid out much of the maintenance was undertaken by the members themselves with some persuasion. Later much of the painting and interior work on the Pavilion was done by members like Bobbie Totten and also members of the Supporters Club.

The next year, led by Steven, Johnston, the Firsts retained the League with only one defeat and won the Kirk Cup, but lost 3-0 to Three Rock Rovers in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.

In 1953-54 Jimmy Corken returned as Captain and led his side to success in the Senior League, Anderson Cup and Kirk Cup, while the 2nd XI won the Intermediate Cup. To mark these successes and also his marriage to Miss Mary Stevenson, the Supporters Club made a -presentation to the Skipper at a Dinner in the Temperance Institution. They also handed over a cheque for �100 from a sale of work organized mainly by the Misses Phoebe and Isobel Bowden.

GRAND SLAM YEAR - 1957-58- Winners of the Andcrson Cup, Corken Cu and Irish Clip -Back Boll, (left to right) R. W. Jess, C. S. Steuenson, P. Wilkin, J. Sturgeon, L. Jess. Front Row (left to right) D. Lowry, D. McClements, S. Howard, S. Johnson (Capt.), L. Woods (Vice-Capt), R. Howard, M. Jamison. Insets L. McKnight, I. Abbot 1957-58 - Irwin Hadden's Side - the first Irish Junior win in a hat-trick - 1957-58,58-59,59-60 1957-58-Grand Slant - Winners of Irish Senior Cup, Anderson Cup, Corken C'' up, Irish Junior Cup, Intertnediate C harity Cup Intermediate League Cup, The McMeekin Cup, Braddell Shield, Junior Charity Cup

Towards the end of the season there passed on another great personality, Mr. Frederick W. Rice.

The 1954-55 season was highlighted by the first success of the 2nd XI in the Irish Junior Cup. They easily disposed of U.C.D. in the Final at Paisley Park. Unfortunately, Captain John Hadden had to be taken to hospital with a head injury. On the same day Bobbie Howard led the 1st XI to another success in the Anderson Cup, and retained the Senior League. Having Skippered the newly formed 4th XI to a 1-0 success over Y.M.C.A. in the Minor Cup, the Author decided to hang up his boots after nearly thirty enjoyable years in hockey. Two very young members of that side later made their mark, Billy Lowry and Alan Howard, while Brian Raphael played his last game in that match.

The 1st XI played a very enjoyable game against an Irish Ladies XI at Thiepval in aid of the Ground Fund, winning by 3-2. They also had a very successful trip to the Scarborough Festival.

By this time one pitch was in full use at Blaris along with the Antrim Road.

A presentation was made to Brian Raphael before his departure to South Africa. The following season was a mixed one. The 1st XI at last surrendered the Senior League title but won the Kirk and Anderson Cups. The Final at Cliftonville against Banbridge was a thriller with Bann fighting back to 2-2 only to lose 4-2, all four 'Garvey goals winning from centre forward Henry Mercer.

Under Milne Christie, the 2nd XI made a clean sweep of all junior trophies. Irish Junior Cup, Intermediate Cup and League. In the Irish Cup they defeated North Kildare by 1-0 in Dublin. Their playing record was:

33 30 3 85 16

The three drawn games were all against Y.M.C.A. 2nds in the first round of the Intermediate Cup.

Unfortunately, everything else was overshadowed by the death in a drowning accident during the summer of Jimmy Corken at San Remo in Italy. Club members and the people of Lisburn were shattered by the tragic news. So there disappeared the "quiet man" of Lisburn, Ulster and Irish Hockey. As stated elsewhere he represented everything that was good in Lisnagarvey and its tradition.

Our next year both grounds at Blaris were in use followed by the final break with the Antrim Road. For the first time in years the 1st XI failed to win any trophies, only the 2nd XI had any success in the Intermediate Cup and League.

Early in the season, a plaque in memory of Jimmy Corken was erected at the new Blaris Pavilion by the Supporters Club. It was unveiled by Mrs. Mary Corken and dedicated by the late Canon S. P. Kerr, M.A., of Lisburn Cathedral. After the Irish Cup game against Hollywood, Jack Bowden announced his retirement from Senior Hockey after a distinguished career in which he won every possible honour. He was capped 21 times for Ireland, and would have had many more but for the War. He figured in Three Triple Crown Irish teams and also played cricket for Ireland on 18 occasions. After the Holywood game he was carried shoulder high around the field by players of both sides, later he was the recipient of presentations from both the Hockey and Supporters Clubs. He later came back to play for the Junior teams and was an inspiration to many young players.

Late in the season came the great news that Steven Johnson had been selected for the British Olympic squad for Melbourne.

During the season a Carnival was held in Lisburn Markets in colloboration with Messrs. Barry. This was a most successful venture. This year also saw the first of Ireland's Schoolboys Hockey Internationals. Lisburn's representatives were Alfie Bolas (Friends) and Robert Browne (Wallace) both of whom later became 'Garvey players. Robert was the eldest son of Ernest Browne and Alfie is still playing for the Club.
1957-58 was another great year in Club history. On September 14th came the official opening of the Blaris Ground. The ceremony was carried out by the President of the Irish Hockey Union, Mr. W. R. Millar before more than 3,000 spectators. Two games were played. First Lisnagarvey played a scoreless draw with an Ulster XI and then came the exciting clash between Ireland and the British Olympic side, which ended in a 3-2 win for Ireland. The teams were:

IRELAND: H. Cahill (Belfast Y.M.C.A.); R. H. Bailey (Belfast Y.M.C.A.); S. Johnson (Lisnagarvey); A. D. Rose (Cliftonville); G. McElroy (Banbridge); K. Blackmore (Dublin U.); A. Allister (Banbridge); R. Wilson (Belfast Y.M.C.A.); D. Hennessy (Dublin Y.M.C.A.); N. O'Dwyer (Landsdowne); W. E. Haughton (Three Rock R.).

OLYMPIC XI: D. D. Archer (England); J. A. Stover (England); P. D. Smyth (England); C. T. Thompson (England); D. A. R. Eager (England); A. J. B. Robinson (England); G. M. Cutter (Wales); N. M. Foster (England); D. F. C. Thomas (Wales); F. H. Scott (Scotland); M. O. Doughty (England).

At the beginning of the season Mrs. Mary Corken presented a cup to the Ulster Branch in memory of her husband Jimmy. It was to go to the Ulster Qualifiers in the Irish Senior Cup. She must have been pleased that the first Club to win it was Lisnagarvey.

On the field the Club had unprecedented success winning no less than 9 trophies out of a possible 14, a record which may never be equalled.

These were:
1st XI Irish Senior Cup (Capt. S. Johnson) Corken Cup.
Anderson Cup.
2nd XI Irish Junior Cup (Capt. I. Hadden) Intermediate Cup.
Intermediate League.
3rd XI Braddell Shield (Capt. R. Totten) Junior Charity Cup.
4th XI McMeekin Cup.

In addition the 1st XI won the Portrush 5-a-side tournament and the Bangor 6-a-side. Lisnagarvey also became the first Club since Dublin University to win both Irish Cups in the same year.

In the final of the Senior Cup the 1st XI defeated Dublin University 2-O at Cliftonville while in Dublin the 2nd XI edged out Dublin Y.M.C.A. 2nd's by the only goal.

These successes were marked by a Civic Reception and Dinner given by the Urban District Council to the Senior Officials, the four Captains, and other members of the 1st XI in the Assembly Rooms with the 11 trophies on show.

Unfortunately, this wonderful year was marred by a long and acrimonious dispute with the Ulster Branch regarding the behaviour of spectators at the 'Garvey/Bann Irish Cup match. The Club took its stand on a matter of principle that it had not been informed of the complaint and that the decision had been taken without it being allowed to make any explanation of defence. Warning notices were erected on the last day of the season at Blaris, kept in position for one hour, photographed, and then taken down again. Happily the dispute was eventually resolved and relations with the Branch improved and are nowadays very harmonious. The situation was summed up in the Honorary Secretary's Report when he said... "this playing success is partly due to the sense of injustice felt by all members, and to the shabby treatment received by the Club".

1958-59 was a quieter year. The 1st XI retained the Corken Cup by defeating Y.M.C.A. 1-0 after extra time, but lost by the same score to Three Rock Rovers, in the All-Ireland Final. To win the Senior League they needed one point from the closing game against Y.M.C.A. at Blaris, a nail-biting encounter ended 1-1 and 'Garvey were home and dry. The 2nd XI retained the Irish Junior Cup and the Intermediate Cup, the 3rd's the Junior Charity Cup and the 4th's won the Minor League in addition to the McMeekin Cup.

1959-60 was another great season. For the second time the big double was achieved with the 2nd's defeating Dublin University 2-0 in the Irish Junior Cup, while the Ist's upset all the odds with a brilliant 4-2 win over Three Rock Rovers at Blaris. In the Anderson Cup, Banbridge were defeated 2-1 in a replayed Final at Cliftonville. Here there was an example of real dedication as David McClements interrupted his honeymoon in Southern Ireland to play in this game. In all eight trophies came to Blaris, John Sturgeon and Brown Shaw were both capped for Ireland, but at the end of the season the former emigrated to Canada. The 1st XI played a charity game against Ulster in aid of the World Refugee Fund. One sad note was the passing of Dick Megran one of Ireland's finest Umpires who achieved international honours in this field.

The next year saw a very shaky start and defeat in the Irish Cup, but the 2nd's retained the Irish Junior Cup. The 1st's however staged a great recovery. Needing three points to even the League they dropped a point to Y.M. After two draws Y.M.C.A. were beaten 4-0 in the Anderson Cup and earlier the Kirk Cup was retained in a 2-1 win over Banbridge. In all 8 trophies were won making a remarkable total of 33 in four years. Late in the season 'Garvey were the guests of Limerick P.Y.M.A. as part of the Southern Club's Diamond Jubilee. Early in 1961-62 it was Lisnagarvey's turn to mark their own Diamond Jubilee. It should have been celebrated in 1962 but difficulties about dates necessitated it being brought forward. Two special challenge games were played at Blaris where Three Rock Rovers beat their hosts by 5-1, but the 2nd's accounted for Limerick P.Y.M.A. by 4-1. The "Jubilee" Dinner was held in the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast with an attendance of over 170. Guests of honour were two foundation members the Patron Mr. R. Hamilton and Mr. J. G. Hanna. The Irish Hockey Union was represented by Mr. Louis Bowers (President), the Ulster Branch by Mr. Harry Burrows (President), the Umpires' Association by Mr. George Blower (President), Alderman James Howard represented the town of Lisburn and other guests included members of the Supporters' Club, South Antrim H.C., and Friends School O.B.H.C., as well as the members of both visiting teams. Unfortunately the President was unable to attend but from his hospital bed, Mr. George Bannister sent a special recording which was presented at the Dinner by his daughter Miss Margaret Bannister.

It was appropriate that Jubilee year was marked by the Club's third double in the Irish Cups. The 2nd's easily disposed of Waterford by 4-0. Hard hit by injuries, Jack Bowden was drafted in as a late substitute and this remarkable veteran added an Irish Junior medal to his imposing collection of Senior awards. After three drawn games the I.H.U. decided that the trophy should be shared with Three Rock Rovers. The first game at Blaris saw a typical piece of 'Garvey sportsmanship. They saved well in the second half a goal which would have meant an outright win. The umpires were adamant that it was a legitimate point until Skipper Brown Shaw pointed out that the ball had been kicked before Dixon Lowry put it in the net. The Kirk Cup was retained with a 2-0 win over Antrim at Randalstown. During the season the Club's 4th XI was the youngest in Club history with an average age of 151/2 years.

A rather quiet season followed though the Senior League title was regained, and the 2nd's retained both the Irish Junior and Intermediate Cups. A successful Easter tour took the 1st XI to Bournemouth, and an enjoyable friendly took place with Limerick P.Y.M.A. at Blaris. Brown Shaw and Wally Mercer were capped for Ireland.

In 1963-64 the Anderson and Kirk Cups were retained with victories over Y.M.C.A. by 4-2 (replay) and Antrim by 2-0.
New ground was broken by friendlies against Durham University and Devon "Dumplings" a touring side made up of county players.
Wallace High School made history by supplying a record four players to the Irish Schools International side. R. Vallance, A. Harrison, N. Connor and I. Clarke. The first three also played for Lisnagarvey.

Season 1964-65 was the least successful in a long time. Hockey was badly interfered with by a long spell of wet weather. The Senior League was even after a play-off with Cliftonville. Once again the Devon "Dumplings" were welcome visitors to Blaris.

The following year saw all sports badly hit by a serious "flu" epidemic. In spite of the loss of key players for important matches the Irish Cup again came to Blaris. Banbridge were beaten 2-0 in the Ulster Final and Pembroke Wanderers by 3-0 in Dublin with centre forward Eric Priestley the star. A grand finish saw the Keightley Cup retained. They also defeated an Ulster XI by 2-1 as part of the Downpatrick Civic Week Festival. Wally Mercer also regained his place in the Irish team. During 1966 passed two great Club stalwarts. First came the loss of Fred Hull, 'Garvey's very first International. The Club benefited from a �100 legacy in his will. The second was Ernest Browne, J.P., as well as his life long interest in sport generally and in Lisnagarvey in particular, he did sterling work as a Justice of the Peace with a strong interest in child welfare. It must have pleased him very much that his sons Rob and Colin, now both living in England, played with distinction for Lisnagarvey. At a social evening in the Woodlands Hotel the author was presented with a watch to mark the end of sixteen years as Honorary Secretary.

Season 1966-67 opened with friendly matches against Avoca 1st and 2nd XI's at Blaris. For the first time for some years no senior trophies were won, yet no less than nine Lisnagarvey players figured in the Senior Inter-provincial trials. The 2nd XI regained the Irish Junior Cup by virtue of a hard fought 1-0 win over Pembroke Wanderers 2nd's. Norman Shaw survived a serious motor accident in England, luckily it did not end his hockey career as feared for a long time.

Another lean year followed at Senior level. Indeed the only trophy won was the Intermediate League. Friendlies were played against St. James Gate in Dublin, and Birmingham University at Blaris where 'Garvey won 2-0.

1968-69 saw the retirement from competitive hockey of two great players, Bobbie Howard, and Steven Johnson who had won every honour in the game. Lack of success on the playing field had the inevitable result of a falling off in enthusiasm among many players and supporters. In order to fulfil their engagement in the Northern Tournament at Liverpool, several guest players had to be drafted into the side, though the scratch team acquitted itself very well. It also saw the departure of striker Eric Priestley to Friends Old Boys. Indeed there was a feeling in many quarters that Clubs like Lisnagarvey were on the way out, and that the future lay with the Old Boys Clubs like Instonians, Friends, Collegians, and Annadale. Time was to show that such forecasts were not quite accurate. Luckily too, the majority of the players and officials and supporters retained their faith in the Club. At one time it looked as if the 1st XI might suffer the indignity of relegation, but eight points from their last six games put them well clear of any such danger. The 2nd XI shared both the Intermediate League and Cup by playing a draw with Banbridge 2nd's in their final match of the season. Michael Bowden received his first International honour with Lisnagarvey and at a reception his International Cap was handed over by his illustrious relative, Jack.

As part of the Banbridge Civic Festival teams representing Banbridge and 'Garvey "Old Crocks" met in a challenge game. In the Lisburn side was Milne Jess who holds a record number of Irish Senior Cup medals. Immediately afterwards Lisnagarvey defeated Banbridge by 3-1. Wally Mercer had the distinction of leading Ireland to her first success in the home International Championships since 1949. The games were played at Nottingham.

1969-70 opened with an even more successful visit to the Northern Tournament in Liverpool. It also saw the Club emerge from its lean spell. In the Ulster Final of the Irish Cup, Cliftonville were defeated 3-1 and in the Final proper Monkstown went down 1-0 after a replay. This was the fourth time the double had been achieved, another new record. Also once again Lisnagarvey were League Champions, Senior Cup success meant automatic entry to the British Club Championship at Douglas, Isle of Man. 'Garvey were the first Ulster Club to achieve this honour which had been won by Cork C. of I. in the two previous years. They entered the play-off unbeaten, and dispensed of Edinburgh Wanderers by 2-0 with two goals from Reg Quinn the "Man of the Tournament". This in turn meant entry into Europe, the European Cup-Winners Cup to be played in Rome.

1970-71 began with the decision to accept the invitation to Rome. This entailed the raising of �2,500 and Messrs. Ronnie Jess and Jim Lappin were put in charge of the arrangements. Due to the generosity of the people of Lisburn and various fund raising efforts this large target was reached. At Easter a party of about 30 players, officials, wives and a few supporters flew out to Rome via Gatwick. Proceedings opened with a parade of the twelve competing clubs each under its national flag at the former Olympic Stadium. The team played extremely well without much luck. They opened with a 1-1 draw against crack Spanish Club, Egara, winners the previous year. Then came a scoreless draw against Warta Sportsway (Poland) but they lost 1-0 to Lyons (France). Only poor finishing kept them out of the final stages. They also lost 1-0 to Flushing (Holland) in the play-off for seventh place. Twice'Garvey hit the wood-work but could not get the ball in the net. On the social side the host club Roma (Italian Air Corps) provided transport to all matches and for other trips. These included outings to the Vatican Museum, St. Peters, the Catacombs, and the Trevi Fountain. One supporter even got as far as Capri. Those lucky enough to attend will never forget the wonderful hospitality of the Roma Club at the Dinner for all the competing teams at a Club in Ostia, Rome's seaside resort. Altogether an unforgettable occasion.

Back on the domestic scene came another success in the Irish Cup. After needing extra time to dispose of Cliftonville in the Ulster Final they accounted for the powerful Cork C.O.I. side by 2-1 in Dublin. Both goals were scored by Reg. Quinn. After a draw Cliftonville again went down 1-0 in the Kirk Cup, but a defeat in the final league match cost 'Garvey that title. A second visit to Douglas at Whit saw them again British Champions. Harris Academy were defeated 6-1 and Cardiff 2-1. In the Final play-off Cardiff were defeated more easily by 3-1. This meant that Lisnagarvey had qualified for the trip to Frankfurt in the European Cup. At the end of the season the Club was sorry to lose outstanding defender Crawford Bell, who went to Africa as a Medical Missionary. Unfortunately there came an irreparable loss in the death of Mr. R. V. Hamilton, LL.B., whose outstanding services to the Club have been described elsewhere. In addition he was an outstanding figure in the Legal profession and was a former President of the Law Society. He was succeeded as Patron by Mr. William Bowden while the new President is Mr. James Howard.

The next year began with an invitation from Harris Academy to make a four match tour of Scotland, but reluctantly this had to be declined. For some years past the Club had the use of the Gymnasium at Lisnagarvey School for indoor training. Now through the good offices of the Headmaster the same facilities were obtained at Wallace High School, also an arrangement with the Army Authorities gave them the use of an all-weather pitch at Thiepval Barracks. Plans had to be made to finance the Frankfurt trip. This time the target sum was �1,600. More than a quarter of this was raised by a sponsored walk. It was swelled by a substantial cheque from Gamble Simms Limited, and one of �50 from Speedy Cleaners. Through their generosity, and that of other Lisburn business men and the efforts of Club members the amount was forthcoming.

The 2nd XI retained the Junior Cup with a 3-0 win over Deighton Wanderers, while the Firsts clinched the Senior League title with a 2-1 win over Portrush in the last league match. At Whit the 'Garvey party flew out to Frankfurt with high hopes though they had lost the services of Reg Quinn due to injury. The playing results were disastrous. They played well enough when losing to Egara by 3-0 but were swamped 10-0 by Russelsheim (Germany) surely the heaviest defeat ever sustained by a 1st XI. In the final game they were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Lyons (France) and finished in 10th position out of 12. Once again the hospitality was immense and the members of the party were amazed at the sporting facilities provided, far superior to those in Rome. Then came the unbelievable news that Reg Quinn was planning to emigrate to Canada. One more link with the past was severed by the death of double-international and distinguished soldier, Brigadier Nelson Russell, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. Finally came the second most important event in the recent history of the Club, the establishment of a Social Club which was officially opened after a game with an Ulster XI which ended in a 3-3 draw. The cost of the bar extension was over �8,000 and was made possible by a generous interest free loan over six years, provided by Bass, Charrington & Company. Most of this has already been repaid. This scheme was the brainchild of Bobby Richardson. With the admission of a large number of associate members and the extra work of administering the Social Club, a new set-up was necessary to deal with the growing complexities. Up till this the Club had been run by one large Committee under the Captain. Now three Committees were set up, Management, Selection and House. A new official, the Chairman of the management Committee became the Chief Administration Officer, which left the Captain free to deal with the planning and direction of playing activities. The Club was very wise in the selection of its first Chairman, John Kennedy. The Social Club opens on four evenings a week, also Saturday afternoon, with a dance on Saturday night. So far, and this is a tribute to the members, generally it has been possible to staff these openings on a voluntary rota system. Obviously, this has thrown an enormous burden on the shoulders of men like John Kennedy, David McClements, Jim Lappin, Billy Lowry, Ronnie Jess, Bobbie Richardson, Jim Clarke, Jim Reid, and one man in particular - the Hon. Treasurer, John Waring.

During the season junior goalkeeper Ross Blackburn was very seriously injured in a road accident. Playing members organized a subscription to give Ross a get well present.

In 1972-73 Reg Quinn, whose departure had been postponed till the New Year, continued to play, but dropped himself before Christmas in the interest of future team building. In the replayed final of the Kirk Cup at Blaris where Friends School O.B. were defeated 1-0, the game drew an attendance of more than 800 and a gate of more than �150, much to the delight of the Ulster Branch. They also won the Ulster Final of the Irish Cup, but lost by 2-1 to Pembroke Wanderers in the All-Ireland Semi-Final. The seconds retained the Junior Cup by defeating Waterford 4-0. At Easter came the first year of an Annual Festival which was won by those amazing Seconds who defeated their own Firsts, winning on corners after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

By this time the seconds had scored a record 104 goals with 40 of these coming from striker Norman Shaw. In the close-season, there was a great deal of coming and going among players with John Clarke and Norman Crawford leaving for Y.M.C.A. and Alan Tolerton and later Ian Raphael joined from Friends Old Boys. It is like old times to see a Raphael in a 'Garvey shirt. During the previous few seasons the Blaris contingent had been swelled by George Compston, Ray Quinn and Billy Campbell from Banbridge and Eric Priestley and Eddie Mateer from Friends.

The next year began with the Firsts and Seconds both winning their sections in the Bangor Six-a-side competition. The 1st XI then went to Cork to take part in the opening of the Cork C. of I. new Sports Complex. In qualifying for the Kirk Cup Final Crossgarwere defeated 13-0. In the Boxing Day Final they drew 1-1 with Mossley. The Ulster Final of the Irish Cup saw a typical 'Garvey fight-back. Down 2-0 to Instonians they rallied to win by 4-3. Then they lost 2-0 to Three Rock Rovers in a replayed All-Ireland Semi-final. The Seconds recorded their twelfth success by defeating St. Brendan's by 4-0 in the Junior Cup Final at Blaris. The Firsts won the replay of the Kirk Cup Final by 3-0 but lost to Banbridge in the Final of the Anderson Cup. Almost the last of the old-timers died during the season. Mr. J. G. Hanna, a former President and a Trustee. The only survivor of the original band is his brother, Mr. Hector Hanna.

The Club inaugurated a new competition, the Blaris Shield, to be competed for annually by teams from Friends School and Wallace High School. This acknowledged in some small way the deep debt owed by the Club to both Schools.

1974-75 opened with a visit to Dublin to take part in an International Tournament organized by old rivals and friends Three Rock Rovers. In the Final of the Kirk Cup on Boxing Day, Instonians won 2-1. On the same day the Seconds defeated Banbridge Ist's in the Annual match for the Hagan Tankard. This was the third time that the Seconds deputized for their 1st XI and beat their senior opponents. In the Ulster Final of the Junior Cup, Antrim 2nd's were overwhelmed by 7-1 but there was to be no thirteenth win as they went down to Railway U. 2nd's by 3-1 in Dublin after extra time. The final of the Senior Cup, Cliftonville v Pembroke Wanderers, was staged at Blaris. The ground and facilities at Blaris during the summer months were made available to the newly formed Lisnagarvey Archers. Lambeg Cricket Club have already been summer tenants at Blaris for some time.

At the 1975 Annual General Meeting plans were tentatively adopted for further Pavilion extensions the cost of which would be some �60,000. Inflation has already raised this figure to �80,000. These plans envisaged the purchase of more ground, the establishment of a sports complex to include all the activities at Blaris, two squash courts, kitchens, and an extension of changing facilities. The Firsts again won the Bangor Six-a-sides, regretfully they had to turn down an invitation to take part in the Jubilee Celebrations of the Angels H.C. in London. They did however travel to Newcastle-on-Tyne to play in the Hadrian International Tournament. Here they were unbeaten, and finished in second position against very hot opposition indeed. A Social XI travelled to Dublin in September and took part in a Festival to mark the 21st Anniversary of the Aer Lingus Hockey Club, a junior club who have struck up a very friendly rivalry with the 'Garvey club over recent years. Another innovation was that they became the first holders of the Belfast Telegraph Cup for indoor hockey winning a memorable final by 5-3 against Cliftonville. However they crashed out of both the Kirk and Irish Cups. In the biggest upset for years the Seconds who had monopolized the McCabe Cup went down 1-0 to Antrim 2nd's in the Ulster Final of the Irish Cup. So the thirteenth title is proving elusive. However disappointing the result was to 'Garvey fans, it is not a bad thing for Ulster hockey.

Before Christmas came the news of the loss of another top-class player, Neil Dunlop, who has gone to England for further studies.

One remarkable achievement was the win by a scratch 1st XI including two 38-year-old veterans and two 16-year-olds, over a full strength Irish International team in Dublin by 2-0. A very sad note was the news of the untimely death of Sergeant Fred Montgomery, R.U.C., a former 1st XI goalkeeper.

A "Star" headline read - "never write off Lisnagarvey". The loss of eight points early in the season seemed an end to any hope of league honours, but they surged to the top of the table and threw down a real challenge to Cliftonville, however it was not to be, consistency was not maintained and the 1st XI challenge petered out. They did however, finish in splendid style picking up the coveted Anderson Cup in an end of season game against Instonians appropriately played at Banbridge - the home of the Anderson family of Banbridge Hockey Club who donated the trophy for annual competition.

Tribute must be paid to the outstanding work done by John Kennedy in obtaining a satisfactory settlement to the long legal negotiations, first against Messrs. Ardill, and later Wimpey & Co., and J. F. McCall & Sons caused by the undermining of the Blaris ground, damage to fencing etc. The Club is also deeply indebted to Mr. Victor Hamilton, Solicitor, for his advice and help in this matter, he is, of course, the son of the late R. V. Hamilton.