Ireland 1 (Michelle Harvey) Belgium 2 (Emilie Sinia, Sofie Gierts)
Ireland produced a more competitive performance in the second of their two fixtures in Nivelles this weekend but squandered opportunities meant a second defeat was the end product.
Michelle Harvey gave them the lead inside 12 minutes from the game’s first corner, dragging low and right and they had a couple of golden opportunities to extend the lead in the 24th and 26th minutes which went a begging.
Roisin Flinn also went close early in the second half but the Belgians upped their level after the interval, forcing Mary Goode into an excellent double save.
Niamh Small missed another chance from close range before Emilie Sinia got Belgium back on terms with a superb passing move midway through the second half, eliminating three players with slick passing and set up a simple finish.
And Sofie Gierts snatched a last-minute winner, despite being down to ten players, from their final attack of the game.
Speaking afterwards, Irish coach Gene Muller was annoyed his side gave up the late goal: “2-1 is a disappointing result for an improved performance; we created goal chances which should have put the game out of reach by half time. Instead, of a buffer of a few goals we ended up losing with only a minute left on the clock.
“Generally, these matches were very beneficial in our WCQ preparations we are experimenting with players and tactics and we will use our next matches in England and the Celtic Cup to continue with this process.” he continued.
Irish squad: Emma Clarke (Leicester); Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney); Lizzie Colvin (Loreto); Nicci Daly (Loreto); Roisin Flinn (Old Alex); Mary Goode (Bray); Michelle Harvey (Pegasus); Lisa Jacob (UCD); Rachel Mulligan (Armagh); Shirley McCay (Dragons); Julia O’Halloran UCC); Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins); Niamh Small (Loreto); Emma Smyth (Railway Union); Nikki Symmons (Loreto)