Lisnagarvey 3 (A Williamson, H Morris, B Nelson) Monkstown 1 (D Carson)
As if to underline how much the men’s Irish Senior Cup title still means to the players, Ben Nelson’s somersaulting celebrations illustrated the special nature of the world hockey’s oldest club hockey competition.
The complexity of the aftermath was in stark contrast to the simplicity of the finish, tapping into an open goal from a yard out after Andy Williamson’s shot bumped the post.
It provided extra confirmation of a 25th victory for Garvey in the cup, which dates back to 1893, building a 3-0 lead with less than two minutes to go, adding to goals from Williamson and Harry Morris in the second half.
Monkstown did get one back in the dying seconds but the Hillsborough club knew a treble was already in the bag with European hockey assured via their EY Hockey League and EY Champions Trophy titles.
Williamson’s role was pivotal on a topsy-turvy personal day, showing his value in recent weeks after an injury-ravaged season. He netted the first goal, was sin-binned while the second went in and then returned to assist the third when his effort bounced off the post.
“It feels great to get the third trophy this year. It’s something our guys have chased for a few years now, it’s fantastic,” he said afterwards, tormenting Monkstown for a second week running having scored late on in their Champions Trophy semi-final seven days earlier.
“We know it will be tough against those guys, one of the toughest out there. I just so happened to get the two goals. It has been a long season for me, only coming back in January after ankle surgery so great to be back and winning like this.”
Indeed, it could expand to five titles as they still have Ulster's Kirk Cup and a European campaign to come in June.
Monkstown were the sides out of the blocks quicker with Andrew Fogarty to the fore. His reverse was the first shot on target while Lee Cole's drag-flick was guided around the post by James Milliken.
Garvey came more into it in the second quarter with Daniel Nelson and James Lorimer pulling off shots from a very tight game.
It opened up more after the break with Troy Chambers exceptional down the Lisnagarvey right and they started a run of corners, one of which Williamson planted into the corner.
Monkstown, meanwhile, had strong shouts of their own. They argued one corner was denied by a body on the line by Johnny Bell but umpire Warren McCully – standing in his last fixture – and Alison Keogh – the first female to officiate the men's final – agreed it went off a stick.
When Williamson departed for the sin-bin, it seemed time for Monkstown to really turn the screw but it was their opponents who broke out in devastating fashion. Ben and Matthew Nelson combined with quick-fire passes and while the brilliant Lee Cole dove back to nick the ball away in the shooting phase, it squirmed invitingly to Morris waiting on the right post to tip in.
It left Garvey four minutes to play out but, with Town applying a full press, a lengthy James Lorimer overhead was brilliantly tipped around the last defender by Williamson. His shot bumped off the bottom of the post but Ben Nelson followed up to touch in.
There was still time for Davy Carson to rifle one into the net but it was a consolation as Garvey had their victory and a third trophy in this remarkable season.
Monkstown: D Fitzgerald, D Nolan, D Carson, A Fogarty, J Duncan, J Henry, D Cole, S Cole, G Cole, K Kenning, L Cole
Subs: N Dee, G Sarratt, K Lynch, S Hohn, M Gibbons, T Kohlmann, R Clarke
Lisnagarvey: J Milliken, J Lorimer, J Lynch, J Bell, M McNellis, J Corry, A Williamson, D Nelson, A Edgar, M Nelson, T Chambers
Subs: P McKibbin, B Nelson, H Morris, C Chambers, R Getty, O Kidd, J Ritchie
Umpires: W McCully, A Keogh