Ireland were defeated 1-0 by Spain in their second last match of the European Championships in Antwerp – making Saturday’s final game against Scotland a must-win for Ireland.
Ireland are in the final stages of the competition along with Spain, Scotland and Belarus – with the bottom two teams facing relegation to Europe’s B division.
Spain’s goal came after 18 minutes when Silvia Bonastre picked up a pass at the top left of Ireland’s circle and struck a good reverse shot past Emma Gray in the Ireland goal.
Gillian Pinder, Anna O’Flanagan and Naomi Carroll had chances for Ireland but without success, leaving them with a hugely important clash against Scotland this Saturday at 8am.
Commenting after the match, coach Darren Smith said: “Today’s match was a tough battle but we didn’t have any surprises Spain are a good team, we are pretty evenly matched as we saw in World League 2 when we beat them 1-0 – there was always going to be a goal in it.
“We had some reasonable opportunities during the match but we have to take this loss on this chin and get ready and focussed for Saturday (against Scotland).”
Ireland starting XI: Emma Gray, Cliodhna Sargent, Alex Speers, Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer, Naomi Carroll, Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Nicola Gray, Anna O’Flanagan, Gillian Pinder.
Reserves: Emma Smyth, Lisa Jacob, Nikki Symmons, Audrey O’Flynn, Nicci Daly, Niamh Small, Grace O’Flanagan.