Ireland were beaten 2-1 by England at the Rabo Eurohockey Championships on Wednesday.
England arguably started the stronger of the two sides and looked dangerous with pacey interchanges.
Ian Sloan, David Condon and Adam Dixon all found their way into the circle but Paul Gleghorne and Conor Harte were on hand to sweep up any danger.
However, it was Ireland who proved more efficient as they converted their first penalty corner of the game. Harte’s sweep was deflected past George Pinner by Matthew Nelson to give his side the lead in the 13th minute.
England came out of the blocks at half time at blistering pace and David Goodfield smashed the ball in from close range after just two minutes.
Ireland were down to ninemen for a short period as Kirk Shimmins picked up a green card while Shane O’Donoghue landed himself with a 10-minute yellow for appearing to lash out at David Ames.
The Irish defence finally cracked in the 44th minute when Ward bundled the ball into the goal following a run along the baseline from Sloan.
Commenting after the match, coach Craig Fulton said “We made some mistakes in the third quarter and the two goals put us under pressure. We had a few chances, they took theirs and we didn’t.
“We move on now and regroup and learn from this.”
Ireland now move into the 5th-8th place pool. They are next in action on Thursday against Spain or Austria.
Ireland women’s hockey team begin their 5th-8th place pool against Czech Republic on Thursday at 11:30am.