Belgium 4-1 Ireland

Ireland's Alex Speers challenges Barabra Nelen in Sunday's final
Ireland's Alex Speers challenges Barabra Nelen in Sunday's final

Ireland have missed out on a place in the Olympic Games after losing to the hosts in Sunday's qualifier play-off.

Sofie Gierts fired Belgium into a 14th minute lead and she added the second from a penalty stroke.

Gierts made it 3-0 from a penalty corner move but Audrey O'Flynn gave Ireland hope with a 58th minute strike.

Erica Coppey netted within 30 seconds to seal the win and the Irish women follow the men in falling at the final hurdle for the London Games.

The women's side were attempting to become the first Ireland team to qualify for the Olympics.

Belgium broke the deadlock when a high ball in gave Gierts a chance to smash the ball in from the top of the circle.

Ireland continued to attack but to no avail and Belgium were awarded a controversial penalty stroke which Gierts put away high into the net.

Just two minutes later Ireland conceded their third when a well worked penalty corner was switched back to the injector for Gierts to score her hat-trick.

Ireland attacked early in the second half and O'Flynn dragged home from a penalty corner.

But Belgium immediately countered and restored their three-goal lead thanks to Coppey, who volleyed into the back of the Irish net.

"Belgium were the better team - we couldn't get a foothold on the game," said Ireland coach Gene Muller.

"They scored three goals in quick succession and we couldn't sink our nails into the match.

"I think we played with a level of consistency throughout the week and that got us into the final but Belgium were better over the course of the week.

"I am disappointed in the result but it was a fair result."

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