Belgian set piece efficiency outdoes the Green Machine on Euro Champs’ turf

Women’s international test match

Belgium 4 (L Versavel, S van den Borre, A Ballenghien, A-S Weyns) Ireland 2 (S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson)

Ireland’s women got a taster of the turf of the new European Championships in Antwerp as they fell to next to the competition hosts Belgium 4-2 in a challenge match.

Ultimately, the Belgians’ penalty corner efficiency saw them home, scoring three out of four set-pieces.

An early drag-flick goal from Louise Versavel in the third minute proved the only goal of the first half.

This was counter-acted by Sarah Hawkshaw who turned in a Katie Mullan reverse-stick cross at the back post for 1-1 in the 41st minute.

Mullan and Lizzie Colvin were in good form throughout the tie and were only denied by some good goalkeeping from Elodie Picard and Aisling D’Hooghe.

But two more Belgian corners stretched out a 3-1 lead via Stephanie van den Borre and Ambre Ballenghien in rapid succession early in the fourth quarter before Zoe Wilson continued her good form in front of goal with a direct hit to cut the gap with six minutes left.

In the closing moments, however, the hosts grabbed an insurance goal from Anne-Sophie Weyns to take the laurels. The two sides meet again on Friday afternoon at the same venue in their final preparation game for the main event which begins a week later.

Ireland: L Murphy, R Upton, S Barr, N Evans, L Tice, B Barr, C Watkins, L Colvin, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke

Subs: K Mullan, S McCay, H Matthews, S Hawkshaw, E Curran, A Meeke, E Buckley

Belgium: E Picard, S Limauge, J Vandermeiren, E Puvrez, L Versavel, A Gerniers, B Nelen, S van den Borre, P Leclef, L Hillewaert, J Boon

Subs: A Raye, A Fobe, E Sinia, A-S Weyns, M Struijk, A Ballenghien, A D’Hooghe

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