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Barr's effort is scant consolation

Ireland 1 England 2

Bethany Barr
Bethany Barr

By John Flack

Ireland's women were left frustrated and disappointed after losing 2-1 to England in their opening game of the European Championship in Antwerp yesterday.

Katie Mullan's side recovered superbly after a slow start against a side that contained seven players who had won Olympic gold medals in Rio in 2016 as they came back from 2-0 down at half-time.​

But Ulster woman Bethany Barr's 43rd minute goal wasn't enough to salvage a point that Ireland richly deserved after one of their best performances against the full-time English team in recent years.​

Maddie Hinch, twice voted world's best goalkeeper, had to be at her world-class best as she twice denied Anna O'Flanagan an equaliser in the dying moments.​

However, Ireland can take many positives from their performance as they prepare to take on Belarus today and Germany on Wednesday with a semi-final spot still a possibility.​

Ireland captain Mullan said: "We were pretty frustrated with the result but not the performance. We controlled phases of the game and had a lot of opportunities whereas in the past against England it would have been a different story."​

England broke the deadlock seconds before the end of the opening quarter when Suzy Petty fired home a rebound.​

Two minutes from half-time England doubled their lead when Giselle Ansley sent a powerful drag flick into the roof of the net giving McFerran no chance.​

Results: Saturday: Pool A: Spain 1 Russia 0; Belgium 1 Netherlands 1; yesterday: Pool B: Ireland 1 (B Barr) England 2 (S Petty, G Ansley); Germany 13 Belarus 0; today: Pool A: Spain v Netherlands (5pm); Belgium v Russia (7.30pm); Pool B: Germany v England (12.30pm); Ireland v Belarus (2.45pm).

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