Ireland women edged out by Germany in latest World League 3 game
Ireland produced a fine display against European champions Germany before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat in their latest World League 3 game in Valencia.
The Irish had a Kate Dillon effort disallowed as they sides went in 0-0 at half-time before Anna Schroder and Marie Mavers netted for the Germans.
Anna O'Flanagan pulled a goal back for Ireland before Lydia Haase's late clincher for the Germans.
Ireland face Uruguay on Saturday before their last group game against the USA.
The Irish carried plenty of the verve and attacking gusto from their opening 4-1 win over South Africa on Wednesday, creating a series of chances
Three efforts bounced off the post as the Irish produced several counter-attacking thrusts.
The Irish did have to produce superb defence early on to keep the Germans at bay as Cliodhna Sargent superbly cleared off the line.
Dillon diverted a Nikki Evans cross over the line but the effort was ruled out for an earlier foot infringement following a long video adjudication.
Irish skipper Megan Frazer slammed a shot onto the post as the match somehow stayed 0-0 at half-time but the Germans take the lead in the 32nd minute as Schroder popped home from the second phase of a corner.
Mavers then got on the end of a great cross from the right to touch in for 2-0 but great work by Dillon and Katie Mullan set up O'Flanagan to sweep in a reply early in the final quarter.
Nike Lorenz kept out an Irish chance before Germany closed out the game late on as Haase touched in.
Speaking afterwards, Shirley McCay, celebrating her 200th Irish cap, said that the Irish were "disappointed with the result but proud of the performance".
"We created enough chances to nick a result, at least a draw. But they are European champions for a reason and they took their chances and were clinical," said McCay.
Coach Darren Smith spoke of "plenty of positives" despite the defeat.
"The girls showed an ability to control the ball under a high press and we created eight to 10 really good opportunities," said Smith.
The world-ranked 14th Irish are next in action on Saturday (12:00 BST) against world number 29 side Uruguay as they aim to stay on course for a quarter-finals place.
There are only three guaranteed places for Rio next summer, but a top six finish would keep Irish hopes alive, as the Continental championships are played out over the next few months.