Lille and Bloemendaal for Garvey in EHL

Despite Ireland dropping back to the status of third seeds, Lisnagarvey have picked up a EuroHockey League draw with a hint of possibility about it.

They were placed in Pool G along with Dutch kingpins Bloemendaal and French champions Lille Metropole to be played on October 26-28 in East Grinstead’s London home.

In so doing, they picked off one of the friendlier top seeds avoiding the likes of Amsterdam, Berliner, Atletic Terrassa, Reading and Belgian champions the Waterloo Ducks.

And Garvey coach Kyle Lunn says that the Lille game will certainly be the game the Comber Road side target.

“The EHL draw is pretty much as expected in terms of facing one of the heavyweights of European hockey and one of the teams that are broadly on the same level as Irish teams.

“In Bloemendaal we will be facing possibly the most famous of all clubs sides and on the one hand it is a daunting task but on the other hand a prestigious match like this is a reward for what our players achieved last season.

“Lille will also be a difficult encounter and as Banbridge found last season at this stage of the EHL, French hockey is currently at a high level.

“But we will work hard between now and the end of October to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of qualification to the next stage of the EHL.”

For former international Brian Waring, it is 18 years since he made his European debut for the club – coincidentally in Lille in 1994 – but is still excited about a new challenge in the form of the famed Dutch outfit.

“Playing against Bloemendaal will obviously be a huge challenge for the Lisnagarvey squad but it’s also the kind of match that Irish-based players very rarely get to take part in.

“It’s therefore very much a test to look forward to. They are a well-known club with a long tradition of European success, so anything we are able to take from that match must be seen as a bonus.

“I think we realistically have to look to the match against Lille as our chance to record a victory in the tournament. In terms of playing the tournament at East Grinstead, it may well help to keep the overall cost of the trip down for the team and supporters.

“Whether the matches are played in Barcelona, Amsterdam or East Grinstead doesn’t matter a great deal however. It will be a challenging weekend against excellent opposition, and it’s a weekend we’re determined to make an impression at.”

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