Women's EuroHockey 2017: Ireland avoid drop after 7-2 hammering by Spain

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Katie Mullan's relief as Czech win over Scots prevents Ireland relegation

Ireland's women narrowly avoided relegation from European Hockey's top tier despite a 7-2 hammering by Spain in Amsterdam on Saturday.

The Irish looked set to go down after their defeat but the Czech Republic's unexpected 1-0 win over Scotland reprieved Graham Shaw's side.

Two Anna O'Flanagan goals saw the Irish levelling twice against Spain.

However, Spain hit five unanswered goals after O'Flanagan's second equaliser shortly after half-time.

After Spain's win, Ireland looked doomed but Tereza Mejzlikova's goal just before half-time proved enough for the Czechs to overcome Scotland as goalkeeper Barbara Cechakova made a series of superb saves.

In the earlier match, Cristina Guinea put Spain ahead of seven minutes before Irish captain Katie Mullan set up O'Flanagan to equalise 15 minutes later.

Maria Tost restored Spain's advantage within two minutes but O'Flanagan, earning her 150th Ireland cap, levelled shortly after half-time.

However Carlota Petchame gave Spain the lead again within two minutes and after two strikes from Lola Riera pushed the advantage to 5-2, goals from Marta Segu and Rocio Ybarra completed the scoring.

Ireland coach Shaw was unhappy with his team's defending.

"The most disappointing thing is the soft nature of the goals that we conceded, particularly very early after we scored," said Shaw.

"We never really gave ourselves that platform to build on. We'll have a look within and see what's gone wrong, but it's not from lack of effort or preparation."

The Ireland women have their final match of the tournament against Austria on Sunday morning (10:00 BST).

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