Pembroke Men look ahead to IHL Finals this weekend


Retention of their title as Irish Club Champions and a place in next season’s premier European Club Championship – The EHL is the prize on offer this weekend as the lads gear up for their semi-final match up against Lisngarvey in in Hillsborough. Pembroke beat ‘Garvey in last years final, but the sides will be more evenly matched this time out with the loss of senior players like Ronan Gormley, playing with continental sides this season. The winners will face either Glenanne or Banbridge in the final on Sunday.

Pembroke line up before last month's IHL match against Monkstown. Photo Adrian Boehm

Extract from an interview with Adam Pritchard taken from the Irish Hockey League website:
For 2010 champions Pembroke, their success was the culmination of five years of building a team, one which swept to a glut of titles in Leinster and the national stage. Building a team of superstars took a while but it dismantling was swift as Conor and David Harte, Craig Fulton, Andy McConnell, Alan Sothern, Justin Sherriff and Ronan Gormley all moved on last summer. It obviously left a major void to fill but, while Brendon Carolan is in the process of reshaping the panel; Irish international Adam Pritchard says that the residual belief of that vintage has been retained even if it is not immediately apparent.

“Last season, I think there was kind of an unspoken expectation that we would win. We were the holders and we’d done quite a good performance in the EHL just a couple of weeks before the IHL finals.

“We felt we were on the up and up and it would take a very good performance from another club to beat us. It sounds arrogant but there was a lot of confidence in that side. Now we come into this weekend and it’s much more low-key. I don’t think anyone else expects a lot from us but at the same time there is a lot of belief within the team that if we get things right, we can go a long way”

“In a way, the same belief is there but it isn’t so outwardly visible. There’s a lot of onus on the guys that have been there before to make sure the new guys, especially the likes of Eric Foy and Kirk Shimmins, to make sure they believe we have the ability in the team rather than if we go out with a defeatist attitude, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

His side face Lisnagarvey at 5pm on Saturday just a week after a rough 11-0 defeat to Club de Campo in the EuroHockey League. Drawing solace from that wreckage is tough but the Munster man says there are a few things which can be learned from.

“That’s the key word, challenge. Friday was a bit of a depressing one. No one likes to lose that heavily but it’s up to us to bounce back.

“If we can take any positives from that defeat and use them as building block. As a learning experience, how Campo played and how we approached the game was a contrast. Everything they did was one-twos, slick, guys moving off the ball.

“Anyone who was watching the game will have seen we were much more, maybe naive; thinking we could beat two or three players and that kind of stuff. Hopefully, we can learn the lessons from that.”

Read the full interview by Stephen Findlater here

Posted by PWHC

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