Ireland’s women missed out on a semi final place at the Europeans when they lost 3-0 to hosts Belgium on Tuesday in Boom.
Commenting after the match coach Darren Smith was disappointed with the result, but shifted his focus towards Thursday’s game with Spain.
“We started the game playing some quite good hockey in the first half and we did some good things. But in the second half we didn’t do as good a job as we would have liked; we rushed our outletting and turnover balls. As a result we had to absorb a lot of pressure and Belgium were able to pick off a few goals. We didn’t do as good a job as we would have liked in this match and as a result the Belgians took the game away.
“We play Spain on Thursday in a very important match and we need to make sure we do well and play as effective as we can. It was a tough day today but we are looking forward playing on Thursday.”
Ireland started lively creating the first two attacks within the opening minute including a penalty corner, but Audrey O’Flynn’s drag skimmed wide. Ireland felt their first test on nine minutes when a bobbling ball forced Emma Gray to stretch to keep the effort out. A penalty corner ensued but an on form Nikki Symmons knocked it out of the circle to keep the sides level.
However Belgium broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute with a penalty corner, when Raes took the ball out past the Irish first runner fire into the Irish net.
Ireland looked to have a golden opportunity to level the sides when Anna O’Flanagan laid off to Alex Speers who upon rounding the keeper was taken out of it giving Lisa Jacob the chance to step up and take the stroke. However Jacob was unfortunate to be denied by the post.
Belgium doubled their lead with a penalty corner dragging down the centre of the goal thanks to De Scheemakere’s effort in the 56th minute. Belgium copper fastened their victory and place in the semi- finals in the 65th minute thanks to a goal from Coppey to make it 3-0.