Ireland suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the first rubber of their Davis Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group 11 second round tie with Finland.

Harri Heliovaara claimed a 4-6 6-4 7-6 6-7 6-4 win against James Magee in a topsy-turvy match in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Castleknock Lawn Tennis Club.

Jarkko Nieminen then crushed Colin O'Brien 6-1 6-2 6-0.

McGee took the first set of his match but faltered from there and lost a critical tiebreak in the third.

He rallied from 2-0 down in the fourth to earn a tiebreak, and took the set.

But a double fault on the third match point when serving at 4-5 proved the end of the Irishman's hopes.

It looks ominious for Ireland with the classy Nieminen in two of the final three rubbers, starting with the doubles tomorrow.