Rovers hoping to sign off in style as Garvey plan Grange Road ISC final ambush

A forceful contingent of the Three Rock Rovers trophy-gathering machine are hoping to sign off with one more victory before heading for pastures new.

On Saturday, they take on Lisnagarvey in the Irish Senior Cup final (3.45pm), a repeat of last Sunday’s EY Champions Trophy decider which the Rathfarnham club won 2-0.

It brought their trophy haul since 2017 to 12 across indoor and outdoor codes in what is probably the most golden era in Three Rock’s 126-year history.

Luke Madeley and Daragh Walsh have been central cogs in that gold-rush but have already confirmed they will depart for professional contracts in Belgium with KHC Leuven.

Coach Niall Denham is also set to step down after four successful years at the helm with his current assistant Gareth Borland taking over. As such, there is bound to be extra emotion on display, particularly as the tie is on home turf.

With Belfield out of service, Rovers won the hosting rights when they went up for grabs in the spring. Recent times suggest that could be a big factor – their last defeat at Grange Road was in October 2017, albeit against Lisnagarvey when Daniel Nelson scored the clincher – and they have won their last 28 Irish and Leinster knock-out games in succession.

Nonetheless, Garvey will have seen more than enough in last Sunday’s Trophy final to suggest they can cause problems not least if Matthew Nelson hits form.

Shorn of several internationals last summer, that Garvey have won the regular season league and reached both national finals is a truly sensational testament to Errol Lutton’s coaching. He was captain of the side the last time they won the trophy back in 2006 and is hopeful top scorer Andy Williamson can overcome a foot injury sustained against Glenanne last weekend.

He will again field a side with only a trio over the age of 23 with several teenagers lining out and they will have taken a massive amount from their first major final a week ago.

Lisnagarvey captain James Corry insists most of the pressure will be Three Rock and his side are on for a notable double of their own having won the regular season.

Corry said: “It was a tough one to take on Sunday but all focus turns to Saturday for the rematch. We know it won’t be easy but we are All Ireland League champions and have plenty of talent to get the job done.

“We are going to take the Dublin venue as an advantage. Playing at their home ground in an ISC final will create a huge amount of pressure for them. I said it before last weekend – whatever the outcome, this young squad will learn bucket loads for the future. This season has been unbelievable and a massive success.

“Winning the All Ireland League and qualifying for Europe with such a young squad is unheard of. Nobody gave us any chance at the start with losing 10 players from the squad. We have proved people wrong week after week.

“We will really enjoy the experience on Saturday and I think Three Rock know they won’t get it easy.”

Saturday, 11th May
Men’s Irish Senior Cup final: Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3.45pm

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