Rampant Aussies leave Irish Rio hopes on brink
Ireland 1 Australia 4
Ireland kept world champions Australia quiet for long periods of their match in Antwerp yesterday but still went down.
The result of yesterday's quarter-final at the World League tournament means that Craig Fulton's side must win their two remaining matches to qualify for next year's Olympics.
The game against a side which had been averaging five goals a game remained scoreless until 22 minutes when Mattie Ghodes batted in a rebound off a Davy Harte save.
Harte, whose twin Conor sat out the game recuperating from a shoulder injury, was by no means peppered with shots behind a defence astutely marshalled by Paul Gleghorne but he was well deceived once more by Aussie veteran Jamie Dwyer on 44 minutes.
Now forced to come forward, the Irish created some great chances but a Eugene Magee volley was well saved and an Alan Sothern shot was ruled out only after reference to the television match official.
The tournament favourites struck twice more late on before Shane O'Donoghue secured some late consolation with a drag flick that took a helpful deflection off a defender on its way to the net.
The result means that the losers will meet Pakistan in the opening round of the fifth place play-offs tomorrow, with the winners of that game having one more opportunity on Sunday to secure the prized ticket to Rio.
Ireland - D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, R Gormley, M Watt, C Cargo, P Caruth, S O'Donoghue, M Darling, P Gleghorne, K Good. Subs (used) A Sothern, S Dowds, E Magee, K Shimmins, D Carlisle. Not used: C Harte, D Fitzgerald.