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Under 18 boys in danger of losing their European top flight status

 

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland's Under-18 boys are in danger of getting relegated after they lost their second of three pool games to France in the European championships in Santander yesterday afternoon.

But there were no such worries for the Under-18 girls, who beat Belarus 3-1 to follow up Sunday's narrow 2-1 defeat by Germany.

It was Friends schoolboy Oliver Kidd who seemed to have set the boys on their way in the second half after Ewan Ramsey and Timothee Clement had swapped goals in the first period.

But Paul Piot levelled a second time and Clement put away his second penalty corner to claim a 3-2 success with just eight minutes left on the clock.

The boys complete their pool programme tomorrow when they face a strong Belgian side and now will have to do well in the crossover games against probably Poland and Spain later in the week.

The Under-16 boys are in action against England today (4pm) in their Six Nations tournament in Cork, having lost their opener 5-2 against Netherlands on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Banbridge Academy's Nadia Benallal was among the scorers as the Under-18 girls came from behind to score a crucial 3-1 win over Belarus.

Benallal hit the equaliser from close range after Belarus had taken an early lead and Hannah Kelly made it 2-1 at the break in similar fashion.

Yasmin Pratt got the insurance goal near the end with a superb effort, rounding the keeper before slotting home.

Ireland's win followed an opening 2-1 loss to Germany and gives them renewed hope of staying in the top flight for another term.

However, there was disappointment for Ireland's Under-16 girls who lost 4-0 to England at the Six Nations tournament in Cork, while the Under-23s resume their campaign today when they face Canada in Antwerp having lost their opening games against India and Netherlands.

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