Super sixth trophy for Rovers who pay tribute to Denham’s influence

Men’s Irish Senior Cup final
Three Rock Rovers 1 (J Hosking) Lisnagarvey 0

Having won six trophies for a second successive season, the old hands around Grange Road were struggling to recall a run of results quite like it.

Only the run of three Senior Cup wins from 1962 to 64 – the first of which was shared with Lisnagarvey – comes close as the club signed off on another notable season with their 12th victory in the cup courtesy.

Jody Hosking got the winner in the 20th minute, the skipper diving on to Luke Madeley’s low push to nick the ball beyond the clutches of James Milliken.

From there, Rovers were stoic in defence and kept Garvey blank for the second time in a week, backing up their 2-0 EY Champions Trophy final victory. Therein lay the key to a not overly memorable tie. Garvey had scored 133 goals in all competitions this season but they found real openings of note extremely thin on the ground.

Jamie Carr was only tested once, a solid boot to James Lorimer’s drag-flick, while Matthew Nelson and his younger brother Ben were off course with backhand shots from tough angles.

Rovers, meanwhile, carried slightly more menace and might have gone further ahead but for John Mullins hitting the post a minute before the break.

Harry Morris was typically imposing as one of the stars of the team. The second half proved a fiery, if not wholly edifying affair with turnovers abounding and a few fractious exchanges with a number of cards shown.

Three Rock Rovers celebrate their Irish Senior Cup success. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Garvey found their direct approach stymied as Ravin Nair, Harry MacMahon, David Kane and Madeley again offered no easy options.

Nonetheless, they will reflect on a strong campaign, winning the EY Hockey League regular season, blooding a host of new faces after the departure of a wealth of senior internationals.

For Rovers, that might be a template they have to follow next season. Madeley, Carr and Daragh Walsh are all set for European moves in the summer while coach Niall Denham is also stepping down.

The coach feels the time is right to move on, saying the squad will benefit from a new voice in the form of Gareth Borland who takes on the reins.

Denham took on the role a month before the 2015/16 season, stepping up from his post as a pivotal member of the youth setup in something of a crisis with players leaving left, right and centre.

He steadied the ship in year one with a mid-table finish before going on to win the Champions Trophy three times in a row as well as two Irish Senior Cups, two Neville Cups and two Mills Cups while also notching the biggest win by an Irish club in the Euro Hockey League – 6-0 against Racing Club de France.

During that time indoors, Rovers also won three National Indoor Trophies and back-to-back European promotions. The club paid tribute to his impact on social media in the aftermath of the tie.

“At times like this, it is easy to sit back and revel in the glory. But success never comes easily. This squad is the product of all before it; all the junior and senior coaches of the last 20 years; development committees; and the countless hours and euros that have been spent by friends, families, local companies and more.

“But most importantly it is a product of their own hard work and dedication since joining the club at underage level. Many of this squad have been together since Under-8s.

“They’ve played with each other on every squad from club to regional to international. If they’ve not played together they’ve been coached by each other. But, most notably, they’ve been coached by Niall Denham.

“Niall has been at the forefront of this group’s development since he started his coaching journey at colts level. It is only fitting that he has been at the helm of their greatest successes, helping them come full circle and signing off on the greatest period of success the club has seen, for which he has been building for nearly 20 years.

 

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“If you really look closely most overnight successes took a long time” ~ Steve Jobs ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This weekend @trrm1 capped off another incredible season. A 3rd National title in a row; a 2nd ISC trophy in a row; 13 trophies since 2017; unbeaten in HQ since Oct 2017. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ At times like this it is easy to sit back and revel in the glory. But success never comes easily. This squad is the product of all before it; all the junior & senior coaches of the last 20 years; development committees; & the countless hours & euros that have been spent by friends, families, local companies & more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But most importantly it is a product of their own hard work & dedication since joining the club at underage level. Many of this squad have been together since u8s. They’ve played with each other on every squad from club to regional to international. If they’ve not played together they’ve been coached by each other. But most notably they’ve been coached by Niall Denham. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Niall has been at the forefront of this groups development since he started his coaching journey at colts level. It is only fitting that he has been at the helm of their greatest successes, helping them come full circle & signing off on the greatest period of success the club has seen, for which he has been building for nearly 20 years. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Next year Niall leaves us for new ventures. Along with him we say goodbye to some of our most exciting young players, Daragh, Jamie & Luke, who we know will bring the same success to their new club Lueven as they have helped to bring to Rovers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To the guys, we say good luck and thank you for all that you have done not just this year but every year that you have been involved in Rovers. To those that remain we look forward to watching you & Gareth continue the journey. Finally to the rest of our members we say thank you. Success is built on a strong, stable and often invisible foundation. Let’s look to this recent achievement as a catalyst for continued growth to ensure that this is a blueprint for how we can shape today’s juniors, boys & girls, to be the champions of tomorrow. 📸 Irish Hockey photographers

A post shared by Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club (@trrhc) on

“Next year, Niall leaves us for new ventures. Along with him, we say goodbye to some of our most exciting young players, Daragh, Jamie and Luke, who we know will bring the same success to their new club Leuven as they have helped to bring to Rovers.

“To the guys, we say good luck and thank you for all that you have done not just this year but every year that you have been involved in Rovers. To those that remain, we look forward to watching you and Gareth continue the journey.

“Finally to the rest of our members we say thank you. Success is built on a strong, stable and often invisible foundation. Let’s look to this recent achievement as a catalyst for continued growth to ensure that this is a blueprint for how we can shape today’s juniors, boys and girls, to be the champions of tomorrow.”

Three Rock Rovers: J Carr, D Kane, R Nair, R Canning, M Darling, B Walker, L Madeley, H Morris, J Hosking, H MacMahon, D Walsh
Subs: M Walker, J Mullins, C Empey, K Mullins, M English, A Flynn, S O’Brien

Lisnagarvey: J Milliken, J Lorimer, J Bell, M McNellis, J Corry, D Nelson, A Williamson, P McKibbin, A Edgar, M Nelson, T Chambers
Subs: J Lynch, H Morris, C Chambers, O Kidd, R Arneill, J McGall, J Tormey

Umpires: B Bale, M Coombes

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