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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019

Ireland teetering on the brink of relegation after narrow defeat to England

Alexander Cox’s side need to beat Wales on Saturday to have any chance of retaining their European Championship status.

Robson pulled a goal back for Ireland.
Robson pulled a goal back for Ireland.
Image: WSP Koen Suyk

Ireland 1 

England 2 

IRELAND’S STATUS IN the top tier of European hockey is now hanging by a thread after Alexander Cox’s side were defeated by England this afternoon, meaning victory over Wales on Saturday may not be enough to avoid falling through the trap door.

Should England and Scotland draw their final game at the European Championships in Antwerp, Ireland will be relegated to the second tier for the 2021 edition of the tournament. 

Having failed to win any of their three pool games earlier in the week, Ireland made it difficult for themselves again here, conceding two goals in as many minutes during a damaging first quarter.

Cox’s side fell behind when Zachary Wallace finished after a swift England counter and then Phil Roper deflected home following a penalty corner.

Ireland battled back in the second quarter and reduced the deficit through Michael Robson but they were unable to find an equaliser in the second half. 

“We’re very disappointed after that result today,” Eugene Magee said.

“England are a strong side. We had some good phases of play, but unfortunately our end product wasn’t good enough today.

“We’ll pick ourselves up, go again, recover well and look forward to Wales.”

Ireland’s fate may already be confirmed by the time they face Wales on Saturday [2.45pm Irish time] with the result of that England-Scotland game crucial for the Green Machine’s hopes of staying up.

IRELAND: M Ingram, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, M Robson, B Walker, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, C Harte.

Subs: J Carr, T Cross, S Murray, J Duncan, L Cole, S Loughrey, S Cole.

ENGLAND: G Pinner, D Ames, H Wier, A Jackson, I Sloan, S Ward, P Roper, A Dixon, B Creed, J Gall, W Calnan.

Subs: H Gibson, O Willars, H Martin, C Griffiths, J Waller, T Sorsby, Z Wallace.

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Ryan Bailey

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