Euro Hockey: Ireland win secures spot in top tier

Emma Clarke
Emma Clarke scored Ireland's opener in Germany on Saturday

Ireland have secured their place in the EuroHockey Nations top-flight after beating Italy in Moenchengladbach on Saturday morning.

Goals from Emma Clarke, Nicola Symmons and Aine Connery put the Irish 3-0 ahead after 21 minutes.

Alessia Padalino pulled one back before Shirley McCay sealed the win with two minutes left.

Azerbaijan's 3-1 defeat to Belgium ensured Ireland finished sixth and avoided the drop into the lower tier.

The Irish needed to win their last two games to keep their hopes alive of remain among the elite, and they started with a 3-1 defeat of Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Ireland would still be relegated if Azerbaijan beat Belgium by two clear goals but their defeat means they go down along with bottom placed Italy.