3 Nations Hockey: Ireland lose 3-1 to Belgium in final match

Nikki Evans had chances to add to Ireland's tally against Belgium
Nikki Evans had chances to add to Ireland's tally against Belgium

Ireland went down 3-1 to Belgium in the final match of the Three Nations tournament in Spain on Saturday, their fourth successive defeat in the series.

Pauline Leclef gave Belgium the lead in the dying seconds of the first quarter and Emma Puvrez tapped in at the back post to make it 2-0 in the early stages of the second quarter.

Sarah Torrans fired into the bottom corner from an acute angle for Ireland.

Alix Gerniers sealed the victory for Belgium in the second half.

Ireland, who were the lowest ranked team competing at the tri-nations tournament, lost 5-2 and 4-2 to Spain, and were also beaten 4-2 in their first contest with Belgium earlier in the week.

Ireland are ranked 16th, with Spain 11th and Belgium 13th.

The Irish women's team fell to their second defeat in as many days at the 3 Nations tournament in Spain as Belgium came from 2-1 down to clinch a 4-2 win.

Goals from Elena Tice and Nikki Evans helped Ireland to recover from conceding the opener to take the lead.

However, Belgium replied with three goals to claim victory in Alcala.

After losing to the tournament hosts Spain by the same margin on Tuesday, Graham Shaw's Irish side remain without a win going into their rest day.

Ireland (16th) are the lowest ranked team competing at the tri-nations tournament, with Spain ranked 11th in the world and Belgium in 13th place.

After a goalless first quarter, Belgium took the lead in the 17th minute from a penalty corner, with Alix Gerniers scoring from the rebound.

The teams were level at the start of the third quarter when Deirdre Duke forced a penalty corner before Zoe Wilson and Tice combined to score with a deflected shot that looped over the goalkeeper.

The momentum was now with Ireland and they took the lead in the 43rd minute when Evans marked her 150th international appearance with a reverse shot from a narrow angle.

The lead lasted just two minutes before Belgium drew level from another penalty corner routine, which was converted by Joanne Peeters.

The Belgians regained control just three minutes into the final quarter when Stephanie Vanden Borre scored from a hotly contested penalty corner and they doubled their advantage shortly afterwards when Louise Versavel rounded-off the scoring.

Ireland will play their next match on Friday when they face Spain for the second time.

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