Women’s senior international test match
Ireland 1 (Nicola Evans) Belgium 5 (Lisa Scheerlinck 2, Louise Versavel, Anouk Raes, Jill Boon)
Belgium scored twice late in the day to pull away from Ireland in the first tie of two this week, this one taking place in Auderghem.
Ireland were without Megan Frazer who sustained a knee injury and was replaced in this week’s panel by Ali Meeke while Katie Mullan stepped up as captain.
After an early Belgian corner which Grace O’Flanagan cleared, Ireland created their first opportunity at goal after good work by Emily Beatty down the right flank.
Soon after, Lena TIce had to be alert moments later to clear off the line as Belgium applied the pressure and took the lead with via Louise Versavel, taking the ball down the right of the circle, her shot taking a deflection into the goal.
Again, Ireland went close when Meeke and Gillian Pinder showed some magic but the latter’s cross skipped just by the far post with no one there to touch home,
O’Flanagan was called into action to make two class saves before Belgium extended their lead after an intercept which gave Lisa Scheerlinck the easiest of chances with a tap in for 2-0.
Ireland, though, finished the half stronger with Ruth Maguire shining on her debut with Robyn Chambers the other new cap on the night. Pinder laid off the ball to Nikki Evans who roofed her shot, an excellent strike to pull one back at the break.
Belgium, however, pulled away in the second period. Against the run of play, they won a corner which was converted by Scheerlinck for her second and a 3-1 lead.
An Irish corner, won by Beatty, went incomplete with Megane Simons saving from Mullan and they continue to try and press but they were stung twice late in the day.
Belgium scored on the double in the 65th and 67th minutes from a corner converted by Anouk Raes and Jill Boon from open play.
The second test takes place on Tuesday at 7pm at Waterloo Ducks.
Ireland: Grace O’Flanagan (GK), Clodagh Cassin (GK), Yvonne O Byrne, Kate Lloyd, Nicola Evans, Katy Mullan, Lena Tice, Naomi Carroll, Emily Beatty, Gillian Pinder, Sinead Loughran, Ruth Maguire, Robyn Chambers, Lizzie Colvin, Hannah Matthews, Zoe Wilson, Ali Meeke, Rebecca Barry
Belgium: Megane Simons (GK), Aisling D’Hooghe (GK), Louise Cavenaile, Aline Fobe, Anouk Raes, Judith Vandermeiren, Emma Puvrez, Lisa Scheerlinck, Alix Gerniers, Emilie Sinia, Anne-Sophie Weyns, Louise Versavel, Maureen Beernaert, Barbara Nelen, Silke Steenackers, Manon Simons, Jill Boon, Marie Lanckneus