Lisnagarvey face daunting task as they take on Dragons in KO16

Stephen Butler key man for Belgian side who claimed bronze last year

Timmy Cockram should be fit for Lisnagarvey’s European Hockey League game in Belgium.

Lisnagarvey travel to the Netherlands to face Belgian side KC Dragons in their European Hockey League KO16 game this evening.

The Ulster side qualified for the 2012-2013 competition by winning last year's Irish League, when they defeated Dublin's YMCA in the final.

The Irish representatives hope to progress to the quarterfinals, where they will meet the winners of the game betweenRotterdam and Reading in an Easter Sunday fixture.

But Lisnagarvey go into the match as rank underdogs. The Belgian side were the winners of the bronze medal in last year’s competition and have never lost a match in regular time in 12 EHL competitions. Only penalty shootouts have forced them out.


Timmy Cockram and Daniel Buser ought to be fit for Lisnagarvey after recent injuries, with big performances also hoped for from Greg Thompson and Mark Raphael.

Many things will have to gel if the Irish team are to produce an upset.

Familiar faces
The Dragons side will feature some familiar faces, most notably the former Glenanne and Ireland captain, Stephen Butler, as well as other top European players Jeffrey Thys and Belgian striker Florent van Aubel.

The former Newpark midfielder Butler has been playing in Belgium for a number of years and brings experience to the Dragons line-up.

Lisnagarvey are a little short on pitch time as the recent bad weather has hindered preparations around Hillsborough, with a match cancelled and training sessions this week severely curbed.

Lisnagarvey travel having drawn with French side Lille (3-3) and lost to Dutch team Bloemendaal (3-0).

Dragons have beaten St Germain from France and England's Reading, both games ending 2-1.
EUROPEAN HOCKEY LEAGUE (KO16): Lisnagarvey v KC Dragons, Amsterdam 4pm (Irish time)

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times