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Ireland fall to Spain at World League

The first half was a somewhat cagey affair, Spain on top with the majority of possession but unable to take advantage of a number of chances.

In the opening minutes a break down the right forced Spanish number 1 Cortes to make a great reaction shoulder save after a wayward deflection from his captain Alegre inside the circle.

After that however Spain began to take control and a reverse stick effort from Casasayas slid inches past the upright in the 14th minute.

Ireland failed to clear their lines, allowing Casasayas once again to enter the circle from the top and force Harte into action before Lleonart skewed the rebound wide.

Gormley and Jackson began to take some control of proceedings at the back but Spain forced their only penalty corner of the game in the 22nd minute after Harte raised a cross from Oliva.

Good was out like lightening to charge down the strike, and his determination found him join the breakaway that ensued.

The Monkstown man somehow dived to get on the end of the Caruth cross from along the back-line but found Cortes in the way to punch to safety.

Both sets of players were marking aggressively with some hefty challenges from the Spanish going unpunished.

Casasayas was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch, and forced Harte to make a save from his reverse effort in the 29th minute.

Seconds before the half time hooter he was at it again, his deflection forcing Harte to show world-class reflexes to dive low to his right and parry the ball to safety.

Half time Ireland 0 Spain 0.

Ireland made marked improvements in the second half and forced the Spanish press to retreat to the half way line.

Caruth won the Green Machine's first corner of the game but Harte's low flick was deflected wide by the Spanish postman.

Oliva then missed a great chance when a crash ball wreaked havoc in the circle and his effort from wide hit the side netting.

Minutes later Watt had his reverse effort saved by Cortes and Ireland's second corner was dragged wide by O'Donoghue, as Ireland mounted sustained pressure.

Spain took the lead with 17 minutes to go, somewhat against the run of play. Gleghorne received a green for a push and with the Irish defence stretched Harte made another world-class save from Lleonart.

His save appeared to brush a Spanish attacker's shin but the ball fell kindly to Padros who fired home leaving Harte with no chance.

Four minutes from time O'Donoghue missed a gilt-edge chance to equalise when the ball bounced off his stick at the back post from a Caruth cross.

Seconds later another chance fell Good's way after he missed a Cockram cross by a matter of millimetres.

Ireland threw everything at the Spanish and were left with one last chance with their third corner of the game came in the final minute.

With everyone forward bar Davey Harte a slip left and back to injector Cargo left him room to deflect across goal, but his effort was missed by a number of green jerseys as the ball slipped despairingly out of the circle.

The final whistle went, along with Ireland's chance of qualifying for the World Cup at this stage.

It was a heart-breaking finish to a game that saw Ireland create enough chances to come away with a result.

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