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Fifth-spot finish the aim after loss to Germany: Shaw

Ireland 1 Germany 5

By John Flack

Ireland's women fell to a disappointing 5-1 defeat against Germany at the EuroHockey Championship in Amsterdam yesterday and now face a battle to avoid the drop back into the second-tier.

Graham Shaw's side already knew they would be in the relegation group before the game as any hopes of a semi-final place were ended when England beat Scotland 2-0 earlier.

However, the result against the Germans was still important as any points Ireland picked up would have been carried over into the four-team play-off series.

Alas, Ireland have only one to their name and Spain are best placed as they have three points in the bag as those two nations are joined in the shake-up by Scotland and Czech Republic.

Ireland face the Czechs tomorrow (11.30am UK time) and should be capable of securing a win before meeting Spain on Saturday, with the bottom two finishers relegated.

Ireland made a poor start to the game yesterday, conceding twice in the first-half but battled back to reduce the deficit before the break.

But after a bright start to the final quarter, Ireland wilted under pressure as the Germans scored three times to run out convincing winners.

Head coach Shaw said: "I'm not sure the result is a fair reflection of the game but we're disappointed with the last quarter.

"We gave away some very soft goals.

"We need to make sure we retain A division status, fifth would still be a good finish, and that's our aim."

Ireland got off to a nightmare start as Nike Lorenz converted a penalty after only 52 seconds and Franzcisca Hauke then made it 2-0 after a terrific passing move.

Yvonne O'Byrne equalised within a minute when she got a touch to Roisin Upton's penalty corner effort to reduce the deficit.

Chloe Watkins and Katie Mullan went close as Ireland enjoyed their best spell of the game on either side of the break.

But Pia-Sophie Oldhafer made it 3-1 early in the last quarter.

Afrer this, slack marking allowed Cecile Pieper to add a fourth and Charlotte Stapenhorst wrapped it up with a penalty corner conversion.

Ireland's men need to avoid defeat against England today (1.45pm) to book a slot in the semi-finals.

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