Irish young guns must make most of quick rematch after heavy loss
Ireland's Under-21 women fell to a disappointing 5-0 defeat to Belgium in Dublin yesterday as both teams continued their preparations for the upcoming European Junior Championship in Valencia.
The Belgians were much more clinical than their hosts, who have had problems scoring goals in the build up to the trip to Spain, most recently when finishing second to their Indian counterparts in a Four Nations tournament last month.
Ireland, with five Ulster players in the squad, including senior internationals Jessica McMaster and Erin Getty, who is vice-captain, had several chances to put some gloss on the scoreline.
However, they were unable to convert and Belgium took advantage, making best of the opportunities that came their way and capitalising on a couple of Irish defensive errors.
After Laura Foley had gone close at the other end, the visitors scored twice in quick succession to make it 2-0 at the break,
They added a third shortly after the restart from a penalty corner, and then Michelle Barry and McMaster were denied by the keeper.
Belgium scored twice more in the final quarter to run out comfortable winners and Ireland will be looking for an improved performance in today's rematch at Serpentine Avenue (2pm).
Under-21 head coach Dave Passmore will name his squad for the Europeans over the next couple of days.
Ireland have a tough draw as they must face hosts Spain, the Netherlands and France after opening their campaign against Russia on July 13.