Ireland fall at final hurdle to Belgium in Four Nations Final

Ireland's Megan Frazer
Ireland's Megan Frazer

Ireland were beaten 2-1 by a solid Belgium side in the Four Nations Final on Friday.

Two goals from Marie Ronquetti was the undoing of Ireland’s winning streak in a very close final but Ireland will think they should have got something from the encounter.

Reflecting on the tournament head coach Graham Shaw said: “Overall the tournament was invaluable for us.

“We learnt a lot. We know we have to improve in certain areas and we’ll work hard ahead of World League Two in Malaysia.”

The sides looked evenly matched for large parts of the contest but Ireland will rue a plethora of unconverted short corners.

And there was no shortage of chances in the opening exchanges as Megan Frazer and Chloe Watkins fired passes into the circle at will but the final touch was all too frequently missing.

The opening goal was created from a Frazer pass with Carroll and Pinder linking up to win a penalty corner.

Frazer duly scored from her trademark drag to give Ireland a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.

Belgium grew into the game and won several PC’s themselves but the Irish defence was always one step ahead and held on to their lead going into the half-time break.

Another Ireland PC in the third minute of the second half seemed to hint at things to come but it was Belgium who scored next.

A quick break seemed to catch the Irish off guard and a ball in from the left found two attackers waiting to tap the ball in at the back post.

Ayeisha McFerran made several fine saves but Belgium took the lead in the 55th minute through Ronquetti again. This time a slap low into the right corner.

‘The Green Army’ didn’t relent and Katie Mullan drew a superb save from Aisling D’Hooghe.

Five PC’s in quick succession yielded no return for Ireland and time eventually ran out as Belgium were crowned Four Nations Champions.