| 15.4°C Dublin

heartache for Girls in green

Ireland's women came agonisingly close to a place in the final at the European Team Squash Championships in Aix-en-Provence, France.

In their semi-final against France, Laura Mylotte was first on court facing Maud Duplomb. She fought hard in the opening game, only losing 11-8 and then raised Irish spirits when she took the next game 11-5.

But Duplomb found an extra gear, winning the next two games 11-4, 11-5 and taking the points.

No1 player Madeline Perry then took on Camille Serme. The Frenchwoman narrowly edged the first game 11-8 but, in a match that went on for 53 long minutes, Perry dug in and closed out the match at 11-4 in the fourth.

Now it was the turn of Irish No2 Aisling Blake, who faced Isabelle Stoer, a player she had previously beaten.

It was not to be this time though -- lifted by the raucous home crowd, Stoer took the first game 11-7 and went on to win the match in three games. It meant a first ever appearance in the final for France.

In the 3rd place play-off, the Irish faced England for a second time after losing to them in the pool games.

Ireland started well, with Madeline Perry recovering after an 11-2 loss in the fourth game to beat Jenny Duncalf for a second time.

No such luck for the other two Irish, with Zoe Barr beaten by Tania Bailey and Aisling Blake losing to Sarah Kippax. It meant the Irish lived up to their fourth-seed status.

Dropping to 11th place was the Irish men's team, who had finished seventh last time. Lacking Irish No1 Liam Kenny and national champion John Rooney, the Irish had called up veterans Derek Ryan and Steve Richardson, along with Arthur Gaskin, Niall Rooney and Neil Martin.

Ireland had finished third in their pool, finishing off with a good 3-1 victory over Scotland.

Against Sweden in the 11th place play-off, the score was 2-2 after wins for Richardson and Rooney.

A single game won by 40-year-old Ryan in his 1-3 defeat by Christian Drakenberg gave Ireland a 9-8 win on games count-back.

Ryan was celebrating his 23rd successive appearance in the championship.