Butler scores in 150th game but Ireland fall twice

Stephen Butler marked his 150th cap today with trademark drag-flick against Belgium but the milestone game for the Glenanne man ultimately ended in defeat as Ireland fell to their second defeat in Waterloo in two days.

Two very late goals from the Red Lions accounted for the Irish on Saturday in a lively opener. David Hobbs deflection in the 66th minute had made the game 3-3 but the hosts finished the stronger to take the win.

Earlier, Eugene Magee’s ninth minute tap-in and Mitch Darling’s solo and reverse nine minutes later had twice recovered single goal deficits.

But Belgium got back on top to take a 3-2 lead in the 27th minute. Ireland competed well for the next 40 minutes, eventually getting their just reward but were stung moments later.

To Sunday and a much tighter first half saw Belgium take the lead in the 31st minute with a scuffed shot deflecting over Iain Walker’s head. Magee rebounded on Chris Cargo’s shot early in the second half for 1-1 before the Lions pulled away to 3-1.

Butler dragged one into the top-left corner to make a game of it but a fourth Belgian strike put a result beyond reach.

Speaking about the two test series, Paul Revington said “The weekend proved to be a great benefit for the development of our team as we tested our quality against a top ten ranked team prior to the European trophy. Belgium outplayed us in the second half today and we had fewer penetrative opportunities as a result.”

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