Kenneth H. Hood


First World War Period 1914-19

In common with all other sporting bodies Lisnagarvey was badly hit by the outbreak of war. By 1915 the Ulster Branch decided to suspend all competitive fixtures and a growing number of members joined the armed forces. The Club held its Annual General Meetings yearly and the same committee and officials were re-elected with substitutes for those on active service. The two grounds were kept in commission and a number of friendly fixtures were arranged, some against service sides. It was decided that the running expenses should be met entirely from the subscriptions of members living in Lisburn, and that such cash reserves as existed were to be kept intact. Later �35 from this source was invested in War Loan. Every year money was raised from donations, concerts, and other functions to send Christmas parcels and other gifts to all serving members. As usual the Ladies played their part, though the Ladies Section ceased to function from the playing point of view for the duration.

For such a comparatively small Club it is remarkable how many members joined up. Of these four were killed in active service, Corporal Quentin Dunlop, Lieutenant Edward Brown, R.I.R; Lieutenant Douglas Morrow, R. Garrison, Artillery; and Captain D. Mitchell, R.I. Fusiliers. Four others were discharged unfit for further service, F. T. W. Rice, W. G. Allen, H. Campbell and Stanley Boyd. Also serving were: J. B. Alexander, Dick Allen, G. W. Bannister, Ernest Boyd, C. Carson, Ernest Duff, D. J. Fullerton, Frank Garrett, Charles Garrett, Sydney Goldsmith, Oliver Goldsmith, E. S. B. Hamilton, Joe Harrison, G. Harvey, Jack Hobson, F. G. Hull, W. W. Hull, P. R. Keightly, N. B. Kilpatrick, Harry Kinkead, Tom Malcolmson, Hugh Morrow, W. P. Murray, R. P. McGregor, Nelson Russell, Harold Russell, J. H. Simpson, E. M. Smith, R. N. Stevenson, G. Thompson, W. Tyler, W. J. Wilson, W. A. Wilson, T. H. Wilson and W. Wilgar, a grand total of 43.

Four of these received the Military Cross for bravery in action, Captain Hugh Morrow, Captain E. B. B. Hamilton, Lieutenant R. P. McGregor, and Lieutenant Nelson Russell. For the first time in the season 1917-18 no games of any kind were played by the Club. At the General Meeting held in 1918, a certain feeling of depression was evident. No one, of course, was to know that the end of the War was only two months ahead. It was decided that if hockey was not restarted by the 1st November, 1921, or one year after the declaration of peace, steps should be taken to realize club assets and that it might be necessary to wind up the club and devote these assets to any charitable or sporting object in Lisburn on which the committee might decide. The meeting concluded by endorsing the committee's action in expelling four members for misconduct, gambling on the playing field.

The ending of hostilities on 11th November, 1918 completely altered the situation, and there was no further talk about winding up the Club. The declaration of peace and the return of so many members from the forces led to a great resurgence of morale and hope for the future.

Between the Wars 1919-39

With the prospect of a speedy return to full scale competitive hockey, there were high hopes for the future, but no one could have forseen what a great breakthrough was to come within the next few years. Several enthusiastic General Meetings were held in 1919-20 to get the club into full working order. New Office bearers were elected with George Bannister as Captain. As the second ground and Pavilion had been disposed of, it was decided to concentrate on improving the Magheralave Road Ground. It was suggested that the erection of a new Pavilion should be put out to contract but as this proved to be beyond the financial capabilities of the Club, it was decided that in the usual 'Garvey way, the members would do the work themselves. With rising inflation the subscription of playing members was increased to 12/6d except for original members, and it was made a firm ruling that their subscriptions should never be raised. A new category was also created, that of old members living in Lisburn who no longer played regularly, but contrived to take an interest in the Club, their subscription was fixed at 5 shillings and they were to have full voting rights. Before the end of this meeting, speaking on behalf of all who had joined up, Fred Rice expressed their deep appreciation of the interest the Club had taken in their welfare and particularly of the yearly gifts at Christmas time.

The membership was increasing rapidly, reaching 100 in 1922. It is not surprising that considerable attention was paid to a revision of Club rules with an enlarged committee. A code of conduct was laid down for playing members, on and off the field. Those who failed to turn out when selected could be fined up to one shilling, and be suspended until the fine was paid. Even in these days vandalism seems to have raised its ugly head and members could be fined for defacing or damaging Club property. Persistent breaches of rules would be punished by expulsion.

In 1920 the Ladies Club was revived with a membership of 42. Miss Dunlop became Captain and other officials included Miss Boyd, Miss S. Kirkwood, Miss Mulholland, Miss Rice and Miss L. Ogle. They entered the Junior League and were granted Senior status the next year and finished in second position in their first Senior year. Two at least of their players were later capped for Ireland, the Misses Sylvia and K. Kirkwood.

With the help of the Ladies a very successful Bazaar was organized. No further details have come to light except that the sum raised put the financial position of the Club on a sound basis. An attempt was made to secure another ground on the Antrim Road because of the impossibility of getting a long lease for the Magheralave Road Pitch. This attempt fell through and the Magheralave remained the playing headquarters until the thirties. Later a five year lease was secured which made some improvements possible. There seems to have been a considerable extension of social activities within the Club. In the earlier days some members had conscientious objections against the holding of dances or what used to be called soirees. One prominent member went on record that he would not contribute a single penny to a soiree to be held in Sloan Street Church Hall. In the more permissive atmosphere of the 1920's annual dances and dinners became a feature of Club life.

1921-22 saw at last a return to competitive games. With the 1st XI finishing 3rd in the Senior League and the 2nd XI reaching the finals of both the Braddell Shield and the Ulster Section of the Junior Cup and winning the Junior League (McMeekin Cup) for the first time, the future seemed more than promising and so it proved to be.

1924-25- Winners of Irish Senior Cup, Ulster Senior League (Keightley Cup), Anderson Cup, Kirk Cup - Back Row (left to right) R. T. S. Bailey, W. P. Bullick, W. H. Greenfield, S. G. Black, W. G. Allen. Centre (left to right) F. T. W. Rice, G. W. Bannister, G. L. Alderice, G. G. MacGregor, Ernest Browne. Front D. D. Duff (Res), W. BowdenThe following year saw the big breakthrough which the 1st XI had so long waited for. They annexed all the Ulster Trophies, the Senior League, the Anderson and Kirk Cups and in the process achieved that great ambition to lay the "Bann bogey". Banbridge had their revenge in the Ulster Final of the Irish Cup. The 3rd XI won their section of the Minor Cup, but were unluckily beaten in the play off by Ards III. Nelson Russell and the immortal Gregor McGregor made their first appearances for Ireland with Gregor being singled out as the most dangerous forward in Ireland, and Miss Sylvia Kirkwood won the first of her caps. To mark these  successes a well attended dinner was held in Ye Old Castle Resturante in Belfast. Among the guests were the chief officials of the Ulster Branch.

The following year was something of an anti-climax. Due to a new set-up in the League and persistent bad weather, the League programme was not completed. Antrim beat them in both the Anderson Cup and Ulster Final, but Cliftonville were defeated by 2-0 in the final of the Kirk Cup. One great achievement was the dual friendly success over leading Leinster Club, Three Rock Rovers by 4-1 in Dublin, and 5-2 in Lisburn. The Club sustained serious loss in the death of their esteemed President, Mr. Robert Bannister whose family had been associated with'Garvey from its inception. He was succeeded in this office by Mr. Hugh Mulholland. In his Annual Report, the Hon. Secretary Ernest Browne singled out the 1924-25 Season as the greatest in Club history. "The phenomenal success of the 1st XI engendered unprecendented local interest and enthusiasm among those who had hitherto appeared indifferent and good feeling both within and toward the Club". Very wisely, he was not slow to point out that when years slowed down the players and a transition period would ensue then would come the test of loyalty. Time was to show how prophetic this warning was!

There were those who believed that the feat of the 1923-24 team would never be surpassed. Yet within two years their feat had been equalled and surpassed with the Irish Cup joining the three Ulster trophies. The full playing record was:

29 21 8 74 21

They also drew 1-1 with a powerful Ulster XI, their victims in the Irish Cup were Limerick P.Y.M.A., but only after two drawn games were they defeated at Foxrock. Perhaps the most pleasing feature of all was the comment from a neutral source at the end of the season, "We applaud them highly for their success and it is just as gratifying to us to record that it was obtained by those fair and gentlemanly methods which characterized the Club at its outset". Also from a high ranking Dublin official came the statement regarding the thrice-played Final, "they have brought out fine sportsmanship .... cleaner games I have never seen".

Naturally, the team received a rousing welcome from the people of Lisburn. At the annual Dinner in late May the occasion was marked by a presentation by the President, Mr. Hugh Mulholland, of tie-pins engraved "L.H.C. Undefeated 1925", while the Captain, Mr. J. L. Alderdice on behalf of the Club gave each player a suitably engraved miniature Cup. The original members gave an order to the Captain for 12 framed photographs of the victorious side.

For the Scottish match G. McGregor was joined in the Irish team by C. A. Gamble. Due to two successive wet winters it was found necessary to returf part of the pitch and carry out drainage. In spite of the heavy rental a further 5 year lease was obtained.

1932-33 - includes W. H. Greenfield, Gerry Leonard and a very young Jack BowdenOne disquieting feature was that the Ladies ran into a certain amount of trouble including the loss of a number of members but it was decided to persevere. After the Lord Mayor's Show! the next season was one of real frustration. The 1st XI suffered by injuries to key players, which in time weakened the junior sides. Nevertheless, they finished equal on points with Banbridge in the League but lost the play off. Banbridge also ousted them from the Irish Cup, while they went down to Cliftonville and Antrim in the
other Cup competitions. Friendly games were played with Limerick P.Y.M.A. in Lisburn and Three Rock R. in Dublin. McGregor and Gamble were again capped along with R. T. S. Bailey winning them against Wales. The Ladies Club had another difficult year with the defection of some players to Belfast Clubs.

In 1926-27 the 1st XI was back in business. Under R. T. S. Bailey they began in brilliant form with McGregor hitting three successive hat-tricks in League games and four out of five in the Connaught Inter-provincial. After two drawn games they lost 2-1 to Banbridge in the Final of the Anderson Cup, and they also made an early exit from the Kirk Cup. These disappointments were more than made up for with a second success in the Irish Cup. The Final against Railway Union in Dublin was a memorable one. The score was 2-1 after extra time and was a really pulsating game. Behind at half time, Lisnagarvey equalized through McGregor and the same player put them ahead in extra time with an unsaveable shot from a long corner. They hung on grimly, and in the dying seconds Railway Union forced a corner and the resulting shot from one of the Sully brothers hit the post but went past.

After various celebrations in Dublin and in the train coming North, the players were greeted by hundreds of their fellow townsmen including several members of the Urban Council. They were escorted to the Assembly Rooms where an impromptu reception took place and the Cup was twice displayed to the large crowd outside. The winning side was H. Greenfield; G. W. Bannister; F. T. W. Rice; E. Browne; W. P. Bullick; W. Allen; J. L. Alderdice; S. Black; G. McGregor; R. T. S. Bailey (Capt.); Joe Bowden. At a League match against South Antrim an additional medal was presented to a player called Sailes who had played in all the earlier matches but missed the Final through injury.

Unfortunately, the season 1927-28 was to set the fashion for some years to come. An early departure was made from all Cups and the side languished near the bottom of the League until a late run raised them to a reasonable fourth position. During this year Harry Greenfield gained the first of many caps. The lack of success would have been even worse had it not been for the performance of this brilliant `keeper'.
In the following year Mr. Tom Malcolmson succeeded Mr. H. Mulholland as Club President. By 1930 the brilliant Cup team had been almost completely broken up. Several like Ernest Browne were lost by ill health or injury and others retired. Lack of success on the playing field had the results which had been forecast, a falling off in interest both on and off the field, and a reduction of membership. Summing up the Season 1930-31, local hockey critic "Spectator" in the Lisburn Standard was scathing in his remarks ... "Both local sides ('Garvey and South Antrim) have fallen far short of expectations ... play far below senior standards ... is hockey locally what it used to be and is the same enthusiasm displayed in the part of so-called supporters?" To both theoretical questions he gave an emphatic negative.

Luckily there were members and officials who did not lose heart. As the 4th XI had folded up, the Hon. Secretary Gerry Leonard formed a school boys section, many from his own Market Square Primary School, and in the next year the Annual General Meeting created a new category of players "Junior Members (U.15) paying a nominal subscription of 1/6d. That year the Annual Dance was held in the Orange Hall and it is interesting to note that the starting time was eight o'clock and the subscription half-a-crown.

G. W. Bannister was now a leading Umpire and was honoured by being selected to handle the Scotland-England International. Another outstanding International referee later connected with the Club was the late Dick Megran.

Perhaps the lightest spot in these lean years was the Senior debut of a fifteen year old player. This was Jack Bowden who made an immediate impact, and began a most distinguished senior career covering more than two decades. In those days he figured at outside-left, and it was when he moved to inside-left to partner Brian Raphael that he reached his full potential and this combination became the scourge of defences all over Ireland and beyond.

The rebuilding programme soon paid dividends, though in the following season the 3rd XI no longer played in competitive games. The reconstitution of the Ladies Club was very helpful after a lapse of 8 years.

In 1933-34 the 1st XI under J. H. Kerr made a clean sweep of all the Ulster trophies, a feat which was marked by a special dinner at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. During that year the Club without much warning were informed that the Magheralave Road would no longer be available and a move was made to a former home of the Club in the Antrim Road, the property of the Corken family. With the help of Mr. Callaby of the Golf Club the pitch was moved further up the field, and considerable work was done in preparing it for the coming season. So this became the Club headquarters for the next twenty years. It was by no means an ideal playing surface with a distinctive slope and inclined to be "guttery" in wet weather. This defied all attempts to drain it properly. Improvements were made difficult as here too it proved impossible to obtain a really long lease. In spite of this many exciting games took place there attracting crowds which would surprise present day fans. It was never popular with visiting players and it was one of these who remarked "seeing that 'Garvey have learned to play good hockey on that so-and-so mud heap, they can play it anywhere". The succession of four letter words has been omitted!

With practically the same personnel as in the previous year much was expected from the 1st XI but it did not show either the same skill or enthusiasm and had a poor enough year. The one bright spot was the improved form of the 2nd XI, no trophies were won but a number of promising young players were introduced. Another quiet year followed although much work was done to improve both the financial position in the Club and to improve the pitch. To build up the stamina of the players the services of a professional boxer from Belfast was employed as trainer but the attendance at the training sessions was disappointing. In 1937-38 the pendulum swings again. The 1st XI under Eric Jefferson began brilliantly and eventually annexed both the Senior League and the Anderson Cup. Jack Bowden was capped for the 1st time and later was to figure in three Triple Crown successes for Ireland. After nearly 10 years as Hon. Treasurer J. M. Allen retired to be replaced by William Fletcher.

In the last season of peace Kenneth Raphael elder brother of Brian led 'Garvey to futher success. They defeated Antrim by 2-1 at Dunmore Park in the Final of the Kirk Cup and again won the Keightley Cup. The run in for the Senior League was a nail-biting one. Needing three points from their last two games they just scraped home by 2-1 against bottom of the table, East Antrim, but then went to Banbridge and deservedly took that vital point at that most difficult of venues for visiting teams.

The Second World War 1939-45

The outbreak of war was to bring many headaches, particularly during the first two years. The membership was depleted due to those who left to join the armed forces. However, the situation never became as serious as in 1914-18 as far as Lisnagarvey was concerned as there never was a complete shut down. The decision of the Ulster Branch to discontinue all competitions was strongly criticized in some quarters as precipitate. Admittedly petrol rationing and other travel restrictions would have posed problems, but experience was to prove that these were not insuperable. It was decided to keep the Antrim Road ground in commission and to run A and B teams playing friendly matches, some against service teams. With many servicemen stationed in and around Lisburn, the Club ran a series of dances, mainly through the work of the Bowden family. These raised a considerable amount of money which was to prove very useful in later years.

Some other Clubs found it impossible to function under wartime conditions and among those which closed down for the duration was South Antrim. A number of their players joined Lisnagarvey and some of these remained after the war. Among these was Jim Lappin who was to make his mark both as a player and in administration.

Unlike the 1st World War period which was extremely well documented there is little information about those who served in 1939-45. There are a number of references to the large number of members on active service, but few names have come to light. A former member Lieutenant R. N. C. Scott was killed in action. A member, Captain M. F. McHenry, Royal Engineers, died of natural causes in Larne. The Club sent its condolences to a former Captain, Mr. G. L. Alderdice and Mrs. Alderdice on the death of their son, Pilot-Officer George Alderdice who was killed in action. Brigadier Nelson Russell received the D.S.O. He had a remarkable career both as a soldier and sportsman. He had been decorated as a Junior Officer in World War I and reached the very senior rank of Brigadier. Like Jack Bowden he was a double international, both in hockey and cricket and during his army career he had the distinction of both commanding a battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and leading the regimental hockey team to success in the All-India Gold Cup. This, as far as can be ascertained was the only occasion in which this highly prized trophy, open to all units of the Indian Army and of the British Army serving in India, was won by a British Army team.

With only friendly games being played in 1940-41, interest tended to languish. There seems to be something in the Irish temperament which demands the competitive element. That things were kept going was due mainly to the efforts of two men, Jack Bowden who captained the A team, and Gerry Leonard. It was a serious blow when later in the War, Gerry gave up the Secretary-ship though he remained a member of the Committee for some years.

In 1940 Friends School had their first of many successes in the Burney Cup. Among the Stars of this win were the Haughton brothers. Friends, of course, were to emerge as a prolific nursery for the developing Lisnagarvey Club which owes a great deal to the School and to their coach for many years, Mr. Arnold Bennington.

In 1940-41, Ulster Clubs again entered for the Irish Senior Cup (only Newry Olympic had competed the previous year). The Ulster FinalFIRST IRISH SENIOR CUP WIN FOR 20 YEARS - 1944-45- Winners of the Irish Senior Cup, Kirk Cup and Senior League (Keightley Cup)- Back Row (left to right) S. Finlay, J. Corken, W. McDonagh, M. Jess, F. C. Jefferson, J. Lappin. Front Row (left to right) S. Wilson, E. N. Williams, G. B. Raphael, D. G. Paul (Capt.), J. Bowden, G. D. Smith, J. S. Hadden between Banbridge and 'Garvey was a real thriller. 'Garvey seemed home and dry when they went into an early 3-0 lead, but Bann fought back in typical style to equalize by netting three times in 10 minutes after the interval, but further goals from Brian Raphael, the man of the match, and Jack Bowden took 'Garvey to the Final against Limerick P.Y.M.A. A long spell of frost and snow caused a postponement and the Saturday eventually decided on was that following the "Easter Blitz" in Belfast. With a number of players engaged in A.R.P. and other war work, Lisnagarvey were unable to travel and offered to scratch, but very generously the Irish Hockey Union ruled with the support of Limerick that the trophy should be shared by both Clubs.

The following year saw a resumption of Cup competitions under the Ulster Branch, but the Senior League was not played. 'Garvey lost 1-0 to Banbridge in the Ulster Final of the Irish Cup, but won the Kirk Cup.

The next year saw a full return to competitive hockey in the North. 'Garvey celebrated by collecting all 3 Ulster trophies. The Anderson Cup Final against Queens at Banbridge was marred by the deplorable state of the ground, and by the even more deplorable behaviour of the spectators who twice invaded the pitch. Queens were beaten 2-1 but threw the match away by missing three penalty bullies in the closing stages. After disposing of Millbrook in the All-Ireland Semi-Final, they were outclassed by a brilliant Dublin University side to the tune of 5-0, their heaviest ever defeat in a Final. However, one important development came from this debacle. After the game a long discussion took place between past and present players who came to the conclusion that if Lisnagarvey was to have any future it must have a ground of its own, and one more in keeping with the reputation of the Club. As in 1923-24 and 1933-34 the 1st XI under Brian Raphael lost only one game. Unfortunately during the year the Club lost its esteemed President, Mr. Thomas Malcolmson.

The following year was somewhat disappointing though the Keightley Cup was retained and the 2nd XI joined in the act by winning the Intermediate Cup for the first time. In a way this season marked the end of an era. In New Zealand one of the original members, Mr. Bertie Boyd, died, and in Lisburn came the death of Mr. Gregor McGregor at the early age of 44. Born at Greenock, he moved with his family to Lisburn when only two years of age. This explains why a man with the name of Gregor Guthrie McGregor came to win 19 caps for his adopted country. As a Greenock paper said in his obituary "he was qualified to play for Ireland both by residence and accent, if not by birth". Among his goal scoring records was 10 goals in one inter-provincial series.

The last year of the war saw 'Garvey end on a most successful note. Under Davy Paul, the 1st XI avenged their earlier defeat by turning the tables on Dublin University in the Irish Cup Final. They also won the Senior League and Kirk Cup. These successes were celebrated when the players and officials attended a complimentary Dinner as guests of the Old Members.