Ireland pushed European champions Germany all the way but ultimately succumbed as a third quarter blitz proved their undoing in Valencia as they lost 3-1 in their second World League 3 pool match
Nonetheless, they carried plenty of the verve and attacking gusto from their opening 4-1 win over South Africa a day earlier, creating a series of chances in a tie packed with action.
Indeed, three efforts bounced off the post while both sides having to save shots off the line. Ultimately, two goals in quick succession from Anna Schroder and Marie Mavers in the third quarter proved all-important.
Anna O’Flanagan got one back but Ireland could not nab another to force a result before Lydia Haase nabbed a late third goal.
The Germans were first to cause danger, Cliodhna Sargent called on to volley a deflected corner shot off the line. Charlotte Stapenhorst then hammered a shot off the frame of the goal before Ireland started to get back into the tie.
Kate Dillon had an effort disallowed when she tipped on to the post from Nikki Evans’s cross, an earlier foot the infringement. Megan Frazer slammed a clever corner routine onto the post as the match somehow stayed 0-0 at half-time.
But it did not stay that way for long early in the second half. Schroder popped home from the second phase of a corner from a baseline cross in the 32nd minute.
Mavers then got on the end of a great cross from the right to touch in for 2-0. Ireland rallied, though, and were back in the mix when Dillon and Katie Mullan worked a cross for O’Flanagan to sweep in.
Nike Lorenz kept out a chance for an equaliser before Germany killed off the game in the dying moments when Lydia Haase touched in for 3-1
Speaking afterwards, Shirley McCay – who celebrated her 200th cap – said that her side was “disappointed with the result but proud of the performance”.
“We are disappointed to concede so late on when we had come back into the game.”
We created enough chances to nick a result, at least a draw. But they are European champions for a reason and they took their chances and were clinical.”
Coach Darren Smith said that the game could have been different had Ireland nicked one or two more of their big chances.
“There were plenty of positives; the girls showed an ability to control the ball under a high press and we created eight to ten really good opportunities. At times, we defended really well and so, a lot of positives, we are looking forward to Saturday.
“It would have been nice to finish a few of the opportunities. I thought we had quite a few against a tough team. I really admire the way they move the ball and their skills. Sometimes that can suck a bit of energy out of you, trying to chase them.”
Ireland are next in action on Saturday against world number 29 side Uruguay – Ireland are 14th – in their third group game with a top four place ensuring a quarter-final berth