Ireland 2 Belgium 6
As Ireland’s warm weather series draws to a close they faced a notable step up in opposition in the form of world number five Belgium.
And it was a tough afternoon for The Green Machine as they slumped to a 6-2 defeat.
Fitzgerald was called into action to make an early save from a well-worked penalty corner routine but it was on the five minute mark that the Belgians took the lead via a powerful reverse shot by Thys.
Two minutes into the second quarter Loughrey made it 1-1 as he tipped in a John Jackson cross after a terrific drive along the baseline. The tempo and speed of the game was nothing short of tournament-hockey, and Belgium scored a breakaway goal from an interception on the halfway line leading to a tap in at the back post.
Four minutes later Belgium had increased the pressure and Dockier, showing his skill, created space for himself and fired home on the reverse to make it 3-1.
Shimmins added his name to the scoresheet in the opening minutes of the second half as a route one ball into the circle deflected up off a Belgian foot, Shimmins was first to react and showed great composure to smash it past the oncoming goal-keeper.
The Belgians appeared to go up another gear and two goals in quick succession made it 5-2.
Their fourth goal came via an interception in the Irish 25 and their fifth thanks to a clever penalty corner routine.
Good phases of hockey for the Green Machine went unrewarded and a PC won by Caruth was well saved.
Another speedy counter by Belgium saw great interplay at the top of the circle and a simple tap in to make it 6-2.
Squad: Fitzgerald (GK), Harte, Gleghorne, Jackson, Gormley (Captain), Cargo, Magee, O’Donoghue, Cockram, Darling, Watt, Carr (GK), J Bell, Loughrey, Shimmins, Robson, S Cole, Caruth, Sothern, Bruton