World League: Irish to face Australia after Belgium defeat

Shane O'Donoghue celebrates after equalising against Belgium
Shane O'Donoghue celebrates after equalising against Belgium

Ireland will take on top-ranked Australia in the World League quarter-finals after a 2-1 defeat by hosts Belgium left them fourth in Pool B.

Belgium dominated possession in Antwerp and Loick Luypaert fired in from a penalty corner on 19 minutes.

Shane O'Donoghue hit the bottom corner from a penalty corner to equalise four minutes later but John-John Dohmen slid in the winner with 26 seconds left.

World champions Australia won their pool and they await the Irish.

Ireland needed to beat a Belgium side ranked fourth in the world and 10 places above them to avoid a meeting with the tournament favourites.

The Irish suffered an early blow when Conor Harte was forced off with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

Peter Caruth was making his 100th Ireland appearance and he was first to threaten with his fierce shot saved by the keeper.

The two goals left the sides level at half-time but Ireland were reduced to eight men early in the second half with Chris Cargo, Ronan Gormley and Paul Gleghorne in the sinbin.

David Harte made three excellent saves to deny Belgium while Kyle Good deflected a penalty corner just wide in a late Irish chance.

With two minutes Irish coach Craig Fulton took Harte off and put Jonathan Bell on as the extra man.

Ireland pushed up in search of a winner and Dohmen capitalised at the other end as he finished into an empty net.

The Irish drew their opener with Great Britain and a defeat by Malaysia was followed by a 6-0 hammering of China.

A top-three finish in the tournament would guarantee Ireland a place at the 2016 Olympics, while finishing fourth or fifth would also provide a strong chance of reaching Rio.

Ireland: Harte, Jackson, Gormley, Watt, Cargo, Sothern, Caruth, O'Donoghue, Darling, Gleghorne, Harte.

Subs: Bell, Dowds, Magee, Shimmins, Carlisle, Good, Fitzgerald.

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