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EuroHockey U-18 Girls Championships
Ireland 1 (Carey) Belgium 4 (M Simons 2, M Ronquetti, T Duquesne)
** Report from Luke Madeley
Ireland face a must-win tie against Russia on Sunday if they are to avoid relegation from the EuroHockey U-18 girls ‘A division’ as Belgium’s 4-1 win meant they retained their place at this level of competition.
It was Belgium that started the better, winning a short corner in the first minute. They switched it left and the powerful sweep from Tiphanie Duquesne was deflected into the roof of the net by Manon Simons.
It was not long later that they doubled the lead when the influential Elise Dauw played a good ball into the circle and Marie Ronquetti deflected it delicately past Ayeisha McFerran in the Irish goal.
The Belgians looked the more settled team moving the ball around the pitch nicely and it was around the 25th minute mark when they made it 3-0. This time, a short corner gone wrong found it way to Duquesne who powered home from the top of the circle.
Ireland got back in the game when a long ball found its way to Elaine Carey who put the ball on her reverse and it flew past the keeper’s shoulder into the net. They could have reduced the deficit more when they won a short corner on the stroke of half time but it was mistrapped.
And Belgium put the game to bed half way through the second half when Simons deflected another short corner ahead of a defender. Towards the end of the game, Ireland held the ball well at the back with Millie O’Donnell and Jessica McGirr but Belgium seemed happy to sit back and defended resolutely.
The result means Ireland play Russia to avoid relegation with both sides locked on the same goal difference and points after Russia beat Wales 6-1.
Elsewhere, Germany and the Netherlands eased into the final with handsome wins over France (9-0) and England (6-1) respectively.
Ireland: A McFerran, M O’Donnell, A Gleeson, R Chambers, H Grieve, Z Thom, S Hawkshaw, R Maguire, E Carey, J McGirr (C)
Subs: N Costley, E Kernohan, R Gray, A Cronin, C Foley, A Oakes, E Duncan
Belgium: M Goethals de Mude, L Vilain, C van der Gracht, E Dauw, A Weicker (C), J Peeters, V Declercq, M Ronquetti, L Poels, T Duquesne, M Simons
Subs: A Steffen, V Rezette, E Van Havenbergh, L Coppens, M Flemal
Pool C: Ireland 1 (E Carey) Belgium 4 (M Simons 2, M Ronquetti, T Duquesne); Wales 1 Russia 6
Standings: 1. Belgium 6pts (+6) 2= Ireland 3pts (+2) 3= Russia 3pts (+2) 4. Wales 0pts (-10)
Semi-finals: France 0 Germany 9; Netherlands 6 England 1