Ireland’s women secured a 3-2 victory over Belarus in a must-win game at the European Championships today in Boom.
Darren Smith’s side made a fine start and were ahead in the eighth minute when captain Alex Speers slotted home after Anna O’Flanagan laid off a beautiful pass from Shirley McCay.
Ireland had plenty of chances to extend their lead in the first half, but led by just that solitary goal at the interval.
Belarus started the second period brightly and Vola Shyntar levelled the encounter from close range in the in the 45th minute.
Ireland took advantage of a Belarus sin-binning as Speers restored their lead in the 50th minute after a goalmouth scramble.
The Green Machine stretched their advantage in the 63rd minute when Lisa Jacobs wrong-footed the Belarus keeper to make it 3-1.
A reverse stick flick from Nastassia Syrayezhka hauled Belarus back into contention, but Ireland kept their composure to claim victory.
Ireland will now have a rest day before their final pool stage match against hosts Belgium on Tuesday where they will be in pursuit of a semi-final spot.
Ireland starting XI: E Gray; A Speers; S McCay; M Frazer; L Jacob; N Symmons; A O’Flynn; C Watkins; N Atcheler; A O’Flanagan; G Pinder
Reserves: C Sargent; E Smyth; N Small; N Carroll; N Daly; N Gray.