IRELAND’S COMEBACK FELL agonisingly short as England pipped them to a place in the European Hockey Championships semi-finals.
Two second-half goals from Shane O’Donoghue earned the ‘Green Machine’ a 2-2 draw and ensured that the sides finished level on points in Pool B.
But it was not enough to give Ireland a place in the final four as England progressed by virtue of their superior goal difference.
Andrew Meredith’s side started slowly in Boom and were a goal down inside seven minutes, Tom Carson getting a touch on David Condon’s shot to steer the ball past Davy Harte.
Carson grabbed England’s second in the 19th minute and trailing 2-0 at half-time, Ireland looked down and out.
But they kept the tempo high and got a lifeline on 51 minutes when the umpires awarded a penalty stroke despite furious English protests.
Shane O’Donoghue sent goalkeeper George Pinner the wrong way and then held his nerve to draw Ireland level six minutes later, firing home a second penalty stroke.
Ireland piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but couldn’t find a way through for the winning goal.
England now play the winner of Group A in the semi-finals on Friday evening while Ireland will play-off in the consolation pool.