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Tumilty tastes his first defeat as Ireland boss

Belgium 6 Ireland 0

In action: Stephen Cole and Belgium’s Augustin Meurmans
In action: Stephen Cole and Belgium’s Augustin Meurmans

By John Flack

Ireland's men fell to their first defeat under new coach Mark Tumilty last night when they went down 6-0 to Belgium in Wavre in their final warm-up match ahead of this month's Olympic qualifiers against Canada in Vancouver.

However, there was no disgrace in losing to the current world and European champions, who were a step up in class from France whom Ireland had beaten twice earlier this month.

The Irish made a poor start and conceded a penalty corner goal expertly converted by Alexander Hendrickx after only five minutes.

Ten minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead when Cedric Charlier scored a well-taken goal after a slick passing move.

Six minutes before the break, Belgium added a third when Hendrickx dragged in another set-piece, giving Ireland goalkeeper Davy Harte no chance.

Charlier then scored his second of the night in the 39th minute from yet another penalty corner as the Belgians continued to dominate.

Despite Harte being in fine form between the posts, Belgium added two more goals in the last seven minutes through Arthur van Doren and Thomas Briels to seal an emphatic win.

The Irish squad fly out to Canada today with nine days to get acclimatised and familiarise themselves with the pitch in Vancouver.

Tonight, it's the turn of Ireland's women to face Belgium as they, too, continue their Olympic qualifying build-up.

Fixtures: Tonight: Men's Kirk Cup: North Down v Annadale (8.30pm). Women's international: Ireland v Belgium (Abbotstown, Dublin, 6pm).

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