Anna O’Flanagan’s late finish left Ireland senior women with a dramatic 2-1 defeat of hosts Belgium at the Belfius EuroHockey Championships.
The Antwerp tussle featured Bethany Barr as Ireland’s opening scorer before Belgium grabbed an equaliser in the Pool C clash.
However, the final turning point arrived in Ireland’s favour thanks to O’Flanagan.
“It was a game we played quite well in,” said Ireland head coach Sean Dancer. “We probably deserved to be another goal up at half time.
“Belgium played really well in the second half; we probably went to sleep in a few areas, so they certainly got back into the game.
“It was really cut-throat to the end, and I suppose for me what was pleasing is that the girls kept fighting and we were good enough to score a goal in the last minute.”
Belgium enjoyed the upper hand early on in terms of possession but Ireland regrouped to break the deadlock on 11 minutes off a penalty corner as Shirley McCay inserted and Roisin Upton deflected back to her.
She shot in towards the goal and gave Barr the opportunity to knock it home.
Belgium left it 1-1 in the third quarter to set up a final push.
With 90 seconds left on the clock, McCay shot into the circle and found Nikki Daly, who deflected to O’Flanagan to finish.
The video umpire was called upon to confirm there was no back stick involved and the goal was granted.
IRELAND: A.McFerran, N.Evans, K.Mullan, S.McCay, E.Tice, B.Barr, C.Watkins, L.Colvin, A.O’Flanagan, Z.Wilson, D.Duke.
Subs: R.Upton, G.Pinder, N.Daly, H.Matthews, E.Murphy, S.Hawkshaw, A.Meeke.
Ireland now close out the tournament tomorrow against Russia in search of a single point to retain top-tier status - with the men’s national side set to meet Wales today for a final match.