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Ireland exit World Hockey League at the hands of Belgium

IRELAND'S men lost 4-1 to World number one side Australia in Belgium yesterday to exit the World Hockey League at the quarter-final stage.

It now means they will head into tomorrow’s fifth-eighth place play-off knowing that a victory against the winners of Great Britain and Pakistan is likely to earn them a spot at next year’s Rio Olympics.

Facing the Kookaburras in 32-degree heat in Antwerp, it was always going to be a tough task for Craig Fulton’s side and so it proved.

Australia opened the scoring on 22 minutes but it would take them another 23 minutes before they could add to their tally.

The Australian’s then scored three goals in the space of 10 minutes with Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick the only consolation for the Irish.

”I’m incredibly proud of the performance today, at the same time were all very disappointed because we believed we could get a result,” said Fulton.

“We won four corners at crucial times and we played well to get those but we weren’t clinical enough. That said, it was a fantastic effort on everyone’s part in the heat today against the world number one.

"We look forward to the next game and finishing as high as we possibly can in this tournament."

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