EuroHockey 2015: Ireland beaten by Netherlands in semi

Ireland's Conor Harte
EuroHockey Championships
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London Dates: 21-30 August
Coverage: All England, Scotland and Ireland matches live on BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website, tablets, mobiles and app, plus selected commentaries on Radio 5 live sports extra.

Jeroen Hertzberger's early goal gave the Netherlands a 1-0 win over an impressive Irish side in the EuroHockey Championships semi-finals in London.

Hertzberger finished from close range on 12 minutes but Ireland almost made an immediate response.

Mitch Darling's shot was pushed onto the post by keeper Jaap Stockmann.

Ireland defended superbly in their first EuroHockey semi-final appearance while the Netherlands progress to face Germany in the decider.

It was always going to be a formidable task for the Irish, sitting 12 places below the number two team in the world rankings.

The Dutch pressed from the start at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and went close twice before Hertzberger flicked in from a defection.

Darling was denied by the woodwork in Ireland's first meaningful attack just seconds later.

Jeroen Hertzberger (right) celebrates scoring against Ireland
Jeroen Hertzberger (right) celebrates scoring against Ireland and sending the Netherlands into the final

The tempo dropped after the first quarter although the Netherland's carried a constant threat.

Billy Bakker fired wide and Mink van der Weerden was also off-target with his dragflick from a penalty corner.

Shane O'Donoghue saw his strike deflected wide from Ireland's only penalty corner.

In a frantic finale Irish keeper Davy Harte produced an excellent triple-save before John Jackson smashed his shot against the Dutch side-board.

Ireland, who needed to win the tournament to ensure a place at the Rio Olympics, will take on England for the bronze medal place on Saturday.

"We tried really hard to get over the line and make the final but it wasn't to be," said Ireland coach Craig Fulton.

"The Irish team is strong mentally and will bounce back. We will take the lessons from the game and get ready to go again on Saturday".

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