EuroHockey Championships 2019: England beat Ireland in relegation pool
England claimed their first win of the 2019 Men's EuroHockey Championships as Phil Roper's goal earned a 2-1 victory over Ireland in Belgium.
Danny Kerry's side failed to reach the medal stages after a 2-2 draw with Spain on Tuesday and fell into the relegation pool in Antwerp.
But they started quickly against Ireland, with Zach Wallace and Roper on target in the first quarter.
Michael Robson struck for Ireland in the second quarter but England held on.
England midfielder David Ames said: "The last few days have been quite frustrating and demoralising but we are delighted to get a win over a really good Ireland side.
"We came into the tournament with expectation to get a medal. We thought we played well in the first few games but it's such fine margins. So we had to regroup - do we want to sulk? I thought we played good hockey for large parts today."
Ireland's Eugene Magee said his team were "very disappointed" by the result.
"We had some good phases of play, unfortunately our end product wasn't good enough today," said Magee.
Scotland and Wales also dropped into the relegation pool, with the bottom two sides being eliminated from the top tier of European hockey.
Kerry's side are back in action against Scotland on Saturday (12:30 BST) and a win or a draw would ensure they remain in the top flight of the next EuroHockey Championships in 2021.
Ireland must beat Wales in their final game on Saturday to have any chance of avoiding relegation although a draw between England and Scotland will guarantee a drop into the second tier for the Irish even if they beat the Welsh.