Hockey: Men's and women's U-21s on brink of relegation
Losses for both sides have left them facing nervy weekends in Valencia
Both the Ireland under-21s and women’s team lost in the EuroHockey Junior Championships. Photo: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Both the Irish men and women’s Under-21 sides face nervous weekends as they bid to avoid relegation from the tier of the EuroHockey Junior Championships in Valencia.
For the men, they were unable to threaten the World Cup silver medal winning Belgium to land the win they needed for a semi-final berth, eventually succumbing 3-1.
A Henri Raes cracker and a hotly contested Alexis Lemaire penalty stroke made it an unhill battle before Raes extended the lead to three in the second half.
Geoff Cole got one back and Ireland showed up well after that but could not turn the tide.
The Irish women fell 3-1 to Germany despite Abbie Russell scoring their first goal of the tournament, leaving them bottom of their pool.
It means they must win their final tie on Sunday morning against either Spain or Belgium. For the men, they carry one point into their relegation pool where they meet outsiders Portugal and one of either the Netherlands, England and Spain.
EuroHockey Junior Championships
Pool B: Ireland 1 (G Cole) Belgium 3 (H Raes 2, A Lemaire).
Standings: 1. Germany 9pts (+7) 2. Belgium 6pts (+5) 3. Ireland 1pt (-4) 4. Austria 1pt (-8).
Pool B: Ireland 1 (A Russell) Germany 3 (C Gerstenhofer, L Micheel, N Aring).
Standings: 1. England 9pts (+5) 2. Germany 4pts (+1) 3. France 4pts (0) 4. Ireland 0pts (-6).