Kenneth H. Hood



On looking back on the story of 'Garvey over the last 75 years, it is only natural to try to pin-point what were the factors which helped its growth from humble beginnings to its present eminence in the world of Hockey. What makes 'Garvey tick? This is not the easiest of tasks but a few salient features do emerge.

By far the most important, it might be suggested, was the continuing growth of a 'Garvey tradition though what that is, is hard to define. Reference has been made to the tribute paid to the Club from outside sources after the 1924-25 Final. Also it is illuminating to quote from the Hon. Secretary's Report written by Mr. R. C. Bannister in 1909.. . "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 characterize the Lisnagarvey Hockey Club". On the whole this tradition has been maintained down the years, opponents can testify that 'Garvey teams can play it hard, but the Club has always frowned on any of its players who might be prepared to use questionable or unfair tactics and has been prepared to discipline such players. Another facet has been the capacity to come from behind. Witness the final against Pembroke Wanderers when they came back to wipe out a two goal defeat and won 4-3 in extra time. Equally memorable was the first Blaris Final against Three Rock Rovers, though regarded as the rankest of outsiders the Blaris side set off at a searing pace and so knocked their opponents out of their stride that they won decisively by 4-2. But this tradition goes beyond the field of play. Three men in particular personify it. Reference has already been made to the personalities of R. V. Hamilton and Ernest Browne. In more recent times, there was the late Jimmy Corken. It was not only his prowess and fairness as a player and Captain, but his personality off the field. As a Club administrator he was a man of few words, but when he did speak it was frank, honest and to the point. His many friends have never forgotten the shock of his untimely death by drowning at San Remo in Italy. The plaque erected to his memory by the Supporters Club at Blaris bears the words "a sportsman at heart". I would have preferred the word "gentleman", but perhaps the two are synonymous. Right down the years there have always been a number of members prepared to work "above and beyond the call of duty". This is necessary in any organization, but Lisnagarvey has been particularly well served. It is remarkable the amount of actual hard graft that members gave to the maintenance of grounds etc., in the years when the Club was less affluent than it is today. There are still officials prepared to give an inordinate amount of time and mental effort to Club affairs, not always conclusive to domestic bliss. There were those who in the early days laid the foundations and took up the burden after the War. In the Intermediate period were Gerry Leonard and the Bowden family, not only the brothers but the sisters who worked so hard.

After the second World War Bobby Totten set up a record that will never be bettered. He was captain of the 3rd XI 1948-57 and a Committee member till 1965. During that time he never missed a single meeting. In my own small way I established something of a record. I became a Committee member in 1948, was Hon. Secretary 1949-65 and again on the Committee until domestic difficulties led to my resignation in 1970. Outstanding service also came from Milne Jess and Lindsay Woods, and there are three men whose service covers more than a quarter of a century, Bobby Howard, Jim Lappin and Ronnie Jess. The present generation has produced men like John Kennedy, David McClements, John Waring, Billy Lowry, Jim Reid, Bobby Richardson and Jim Clarke.

Another feature is the strong family tradition within the Club. Originally there were the Bannisters, the Boyds, the Hannas, continuing with the Bowdens, the Raphaels, Haddens, Corkens, Jesses, Howards, Lappins and the Quinns. Surely pride of place must go to the Bowdens. In addition to other offices three of the brothers-Joe, Harry and Jack - are past 1st XI Captains, while Billy is our current genial and highly respected Patron. A younger relation Michael is still very much to the fore as a player. Almost as outstanding are the Howards. Bobbie and Stan both Captained the 1st XI, Alan led the Seconds to some of their most notable successes, while their father Mr. James Howard was President of the Supporters Club and is now Club President. It is a very encouraging thing to see names like Jess, Corken, Woods, Raphael among the younger generation of players. One of the great strengths of the Club has been the presence in the town of at first one and now two hockey nurseries. There is no doubt that the playing success of Lisnagarvey was based in the constant flow of well-coached players from Friends School supplemented since the early 1950's by a second stream from Wallace High. The rise of Friends School Old Boys almost stopped recruitment from the former source but during these last few years it is flowing again. The Club owes a great deal to the work of School Coaches such as Arnold Bennington, Eric Shier, Brown Shaw, George Henry and Billy Lowry.

Another outstanding feature is that the Club is firmly based on Lisburn people and players. Naturally recruits have come from outsiders who settled here, but wisely it has never gone out of its way to attract members from outside. Admittedly it has benefited from players who had no direct connection with Lisburn or the two schools in it. The names of Gilbie Smyth, Moreland Kennedy, Davy Paul, Jerry Thompson, Henry Mercer and Stanley Green come to mind and in more recent times those of Norman Crawford and Neil Dunlop. By and large however, the great nucleus of the playing strength is still drawn from Lisburn people, or those with local connections. Club morale has benefited and this explains along with the phenomenal success of the 2nd XI, why so many players of Senior status have been prepared to stay and play for the Seconds, and to work to gain a place in the Senior side.

Perhaps those of our generation are not with it and are too rigid and conservative in our views, but there are those who are somewhat alarmed at the present proposition that the Hockey Club be merged in a more elaborate sports complex. The danger might be that it could lose its identity and with it, its tradition. Whatever the outcome it is to be hoped that it will flourish in the next 75 years as it has done in the past, and will attract the same dedicated service as it always has done. May those who do so derive the same satisfaction and pleasure as their predecessors enjoyed.

Famous Players past and Present

The number of Lisnagarvey players who obtained International honours is a long and imposing one:

F. J. Hull
Coburn Carson
G. G. McGregor
G. W. Bannister
E. Dillon
N. Russell
W. H. Greenfield
G. A. Gamble
R. T. S. Bailey
E. Coates
T. Kirkwood
Joseph Bowden
Jack Bowden
Brian Raphael
F/O Stanley Green
James Corken
John Sturgeon
Gerry Thompson
Brown Shaw
Steven Johnson
Wally Mercer
Peter Wilkin
Derek Shaw
Michael Bowden
Reggie Quinn
Noel Quinn
Eric Priestley
John Clarke
Ian Raphael
Alan Tolerton
Neil Dunlop
Ray Quinn was also capped, but not with Lisnagarvey.

One topic of conversation which often arises when past and present members come together is which was the best Club side ever to represent the Club. Many old timers would plump for the "immortals" of the 1920's. Others support the claims of the 1940 side and others the phenomenally successful elevens of the 1950's and early 60's. Such questions cannot really be answered but one thing is certain down the years 'Garvey has not been short of players whose skill and temperament would have brought success at any period or in any company.

It would be impossible to single out all of these and perhaps I may be forgiven for selecting my own list of "greats". The present generation cannot, of course, know a great deal about the very early players but one of these does have a unique place in Club history in the person of Fred Hull, the first' Garvey man to play for his country. In the 1920's there was the man with the ultra Scottish name who became a legend in his own lifetime, Gregor McGregor. He was recognized as the most dangerous centre forward in these islands. I saw him play only once in the twilight of his career in an inter-provincial in Derry. I remember little of the game except that he got three half chances all of which finished in the back of the net. I have heard him described as the "Joe Bambrick of Irish Hockey", not a bad description of a born opportunist, so deadly anywhere near goal. Lisnagarvey has not produced many really great goalkeepers but one who was outstanding was Harry Greenfield, who was Ireland's last line of defence in the late twenties and early thirties. The next generation produced probably the most talented all-round player in Club history. Jack Bowden starred in various forward positions particularly at inside left. He was then good enough to even win back his place at centre-half keeping out such a talented player as George McElroy who succeeded him when he retired. He had also a brilliant career as a cricketer for Lisburn and Ireland. He served the Club for many years as Captain, Hon. Treasurer, in succession to his brother Joe, and as a committee member. The war unfortunately cost him many caps in addition to the 21 he did win.

Few really great outside lefts have come from 'Garvey, but all time "great" in this position was Brian Raphael. He made up for his lack of physique by sheer artistry. Who will forget his brilliance against a star studded Oxford University side at Thiepval on a water-logged pitch? With Jack Bowden he formed the most dangerous left wing combination in Irish Hockey. It is not surprising that South Africa, particularly asked for their inclusion in a combined Oxford/ Cambridge XI which toured the Union and Rhodesia. It is a travesty of justice that Brian gained only one Cap. He was unfortunate to have to compete for his place against George McVeigh. His career was brought to a premature end by ill health while the War also deprived him of other honours. High in the list must come the name of Jimmy Corken. He overcame the handicap of severe illness to return to Hockey and even his place in the Ulster and Irish side, and to lead his club to some of its greatest triumphs. He was both a maker and scorer of goals. Like all great players he was often the victim of tough tactics but was never known to retaliate.

A famous contemporary was Steven Johnson, an outstanding full back who made the position his own in the Irish side for a considerable period. He was not a typical full-back. Though he looked frail, he was a fearless tackler with a remarkable turn of speed. He was the first one of only two Irish players to gain Olympic honours, playing with distinction in the Melbourne Olympiad. Another notable full-back was Wally Mercer who successfully captained Ireland including their last win in the International Home series.

In later days there were Derek Shaw and Reggie Quinn. There are those who think that Derek's self-imposed retirement from the international scene was premature. Happily he is still playing for the first eleven. It was a great blow when at the height of his career Reggie decided to emigrate to Canada. Another former International, Johnnie Sturgeon also lives in the Dominion.

There have also been many great players who were on the fringe of International honours. Some who spring to mind are Eric Jefferson, a great centre-half, Davy Paul, an equally great full-back. There was also Bobby Howard, who like Brian Raphael in the other wing was of frail physique and who, although without a really strong shot, scored innumerable goals by his capacity to read a game and be in the right spot. Most outstanding of all was David McClements "the greatest full-back never to have played for Ireland". He announced his retirement from Senior Hockey after the visit to Rome, but was persuaded to come back and is playing as well as ever.

Club Captains

R. C. Bannister, replaced by W. S. Duncan
A. Ernest Boyd
A. Ernest Boyd
F. G. Hull
J. H. Wilson
R. V. Hamilton
F. G. Hull
H. B. Hanna
B. Boyd
F. G. Hull
J. G. Hanna
F. T. W. Rice
J. C. Carson
All existing officials re-elected
S. W. Bannister
F. G. Hull replaced by F. T. W. Rice
G. G. McGregor
Nelson Russell
E. Browne
L. Alderdice
W. H. Greenfield
R. T. S. Bailey
W. P. Bullick
G. W. Bannister
G. W. Bannister
T. Kirkwood
Joseph Bowden
J. H. Kerr
Harry Bowden
Rev. R. S. H. Kennedy
Rev. R. S. H. Kennedy
E. Jefferson
K. Raphael
Jack Bowden
Jack Bowden
Jack Bowden
G. B. Raphael
G. B. Raphael
D. G. Paul
D. G. Paul
Jack Bowden
M. Jess
John Hadden
J. Lappin
J. Corken
J. Corken
S. Johnson
J. Corken
R. Howard
H. B. Mercer
R. W. Jess
S. Johnson
L. Woods
D. McClements
P. Wilkin
R. B. Shaw
A. Bolas
D. McClements
S. Howard
W. Mercer
Derek Shaw
A. Bolas
W. Mercer
M. Bowden
D. McClements
W. Mercer
T. Lappin
Derek Shaw
Derek Shaw
A. Tolerton
M. Bowden

Club Chairmen
1972-73 J. Kennedy
1973-74 J. Kennedy
1974-75 J. Lappin
1975-76 D. McClements
1976-77 D. McClements (June - September) W. R. Howard


2nd XI Captains
1906-7 R. McGregor
1907-8 L. Goldsmith
1908-9 W. Murray
1909-10 T. Garrett
1910-11 R. McGregor
1911-12 D. McGregor
1912-13 D. McGregor
1913-14 S. W. Bannister
1914-15 S. Boyd
1921-22 Rev. W. A. McNutt
1922-23 J. C. Malcolmson
1923-24  D. Duff
1924-25 J. Gillespie
1925-26 W. Patterson
1926-27 H. Bowden
1927-28 J. F. Alexander
1928-29 J. F. Alexander
1929-30 B. Wilson
1930-31 S. Stockman
1931-32 W. Fletcher
1932-33 N. Allen
1933-34 W. V. Halliday
1934-35  R. Newell
1935-36 J. Browne
1936-37 C. Evans
1937-38 W. V. Halliday
1938-39 W. Crawford
1939-40 -
1940-41  R. Johnston-Smyth
1941-42 H. Cregan
1942-43 J. Taylor
1943-44 J. Taylor
1944-45 S. Wilson
1945-46 E. Kee
1946-47 I. Hadden
1947-48 J. Jess
1948-49 J. Welch
1949-50 K. H. Hood
1950-51 W. Corken
1951-52 G. D. Smith
1952-53 R. Spence
1953-54 C.Stevenson
1954-55 J. Hadden
1955-56 M. Christie
1956-57 P. Wilkin
1957-58 I. Hadden
1958-59 D. Boomer
1959-60  J. Lappin
1960-61 L.Jess
1961-62 A. Howard
1962-63 J. Reid
1963-64 J. Kennedy
1964-65 K. Watt
1965-66 R. Howard
1966-67 L.Jess
1967-68 A. Howard
1968-69 W. Lowry
1969-70  I.Wells
1970-71 A. Boyd
1971-72 A. Boyd
1972-73 S. Howard
1973-74 S. Howard
1974-75 S. Howard
1975-76 N. Shaw
1976-77 S. Howard

Trophies won by the Club

1924-25 (L. Alderdice) 1954-55 (J. Hadden)
1926-27 (R. T. S. Bailey) 1955-56 (M. Christie)
(1940-41 (Jack Bowden) *1957-58 (I. Hadden)
(Limerick P.Y.M.A.) 1958-59 (D. Boomer)
1944-45 (D. G. Paul) *1959-60 (A. Bolas)
1945-46 (D. G. Paul) *1961-62 (A. Howard)
1950-51 (J. Corken) 1962-63 (J. Reid)
1951-52 (J. Corken) 1966-67 IIB (G. Pelan)
*1957-58 (S. Johnson) *1969-70 (I. Wells)
*1959-60 (D. McClements) 1971-72 (A. Boyd)
*1961-62 (R. B. Shaw) 1972-73 (S. Howard)
(Three Rock Rovers) 1973-74 (S. Howard)
1965-66 (W. Mercer) 1974-75 (S. Howard)
1969-70 (M. Bowden)  
1970-71 (D. McClements)  

With 13 wins (2 shared) Lisnagarvey hold the lead over Dublin University -11 and Three Rock Rovers - 8.

Lisnagarvey 2nd's 12 wins are followed by Dublin University 8, but'Garvey's have all come during this last 21 years. Lisnagarvey
has done the double on 4 occasions against Dublin University's 3.
No other Club has had this honour. Railway Union had the chance last year but the 1st XI lost to Cliftonville in the Senior Final.


Other Senior Trophies

1922-23 1922-23 1922-23 (Winners
1924-25 1924-25 1923-24 Ulster
1933-34 1933-34 1924-25 Section
1937-38 1934-35 1933-34 Irish
1938-39 1937-38 1938-39 Senior
1942-43 1942-43 1941-42  Cup)
1943-44 1945-46 1942-43 1957-58
1944-45 1946-47 1944-45 1958-59
1949-50 1951-52 1945-46 1959-60
1950-51 1953-54 1947-48 1961-62
1951-52 1954-55 1952-53 1965-66
1952-53 1955-56 1953-54 1969-70
1953-54 1957-58 1955-56 1970-71
1958-59 1959-60 1960-61 1972-73
1959-60 1960-61 1961-62 1973-74
1962-63 1963-64 1963-64 (Total 9)
1964-65 1975-76 1970-71  
1965-66 (Total 17) 1972-73  
1969-70   1973-74  
1971-72   (Total 19)  
(Total 20)      

(Winners Ulster
Section Irish
Junior Cup)
1955-56 1943-44 1968-69
1956-57 1950-51 1969-70
1957-58 1953-54 1970-71
1960-61 1955-56 1971-72
1961-62 1956-57 1972-73
1962-63 1957-58 1973-74
1963-64 1958-59 1974-75
1964-65  1959-60 (Total 7)
1965-66(IIB) 1963-64  
1966-67 1964-65  
1967-68 1965-66  
1968-69(IIB) 1966-67  
  (Total 12)  


1970-71  1947-48
(Total 18)  

Junior Trophies

1906-7 (1st XI) 1957-58 1959-60 (3rd XI)
1912-13 (2nd XI) 1958-59 1966-67 (3rd XI)
1948-49 (3rd XI) (Total 2) (Total 2)
(Total 5)    
1973-74 (3rd XI) 1971-72 (4th XI) 1904-5 (1st XI)
    1909-10 (2nd XI)
1921-22 (2nd XI)    
1957-58 (4th XI)    
(Total 4)    

This makes a grand total of 147 Trophies since the inception of the Club. This does not include trophies won in various Festivals, Sixes Tournaments or Indoor Tournaments.

June 1976.


Mr. Cecil Pearson and Mr. Desmond Simon of the Ulster Branch.
The Linenhall Library, Belfast.
The Lisburn Historical Society and Mr. Trevor Neill.
The Ulster Star.
The Committee of the Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.
Mrs. Mary Corken.
Mr. Robert Lavery.

Lisnagarvey Hockey Club extend their grateful thanks to all our Advertisers and ask our readers to support them generously.
(The list of Advertisers is in order of appearance)

Henry Brown & Son
Robbie's Men's Fashions
Heatherington Bros. Ltd.
Speedy Cleaners
Spectrum Electronics
Steven Johnson Agencies Ltd.
Cottage Garden Centre
Moore's Caravan Sales Ltd.
Snoddons Construction Limited
George C. Baxter
James McKeown & Co. Ltd.
H. Geddis & Son
J. McConnell & Son
S. Rankin & Co.
Bass Ireland Ltd.
McCall Travel Limited
W. M. Larmour
Northern Excavators Limited
Robert W. McCall and Sons
Drayne Bros.
David W. Corry Limited
Walter S. Mercer & Son Ltd.
H. F. H. Motors Limited
James Thompson & Sons
Blessington Fair & Co.
E. & M. Tubular Products
Sports Council for N. Ireland
Manchester and Midland
John F. McCall & Sons Ltd.
Osborne King & Megran
C. Walker & Sons (Ireland) Ltd.
Milk Marketing Board
A. & S. Donaldson (N.I.) Ltd.
Evans Musical
Ernest R. Wilson
Woodlands Hotel
McKibben & Co.
Ulster Bank Limited
Richardson & Cardy
Rock Brick Limited
Alexander Boyd Displays Limited
Travan Engineering Limited
The Lisburn Jeweller
C. W. S. Design
Eric Johnston
Valentine Florists
Wm. Franklin & Son (N.I.) Ltd.
John McClean & Son (Lisburn) Ltd.
Ford Motor Company
Niagara Cafe
Redmond Jefferson Ltd.
L. J. McKelvie & Co. Ltd.
S. J. Anderson
J. Wood Stuart
Bank of Ireland
G. H. Fieldhouse
Smyth Patterson Ltd.
D. M. K. Products
Style n' Value
N.I.S. Fertilisers Ltd.
News Letter
Century Books
Outside Back Cover Gallahers