Spain were a lot more dynamic than Ireland in attack and their efforts were rewarded after just nine minutes when Alejandro Alvarez got the scoring under way.
They had the game wrapped up before half-time as Enrique Zorita, Alvaro Tello and Sam Cortes found the back of the net.
Ireland came out for the second half and halted Spain’s attack on more than one occasion. Matthew Crookshanks and Alexander Tinney made important interventions in defence before Xavier Gispert’s red card offered the hosts some respite.
However, Enrique Zorita sunk Irish hearts with a penalty corner.
The hosts now face Italy today in a must-win clash in Garryduff. The result will determine whether Ireland stay in the top tier for the 2018 competition. The Italians defeated Czech Republic 5-1 scoreline yesterday.
There was some good news for the hosts yesterdays as the girls team avoided relegation to the second tier after beating a dogged Polish side 1-0.
Ireland looked to attack from the beginning and Poland cracked after 12 minutes when Ellen Curran hit home the decisive goal.
Ireland retained possession for long spells in the second half to see off Poland, with Freya McDermott, Suzie Kelly and Grace McLoughlin all making good use of their time on the ball.
Ireland’s girls team will now finish their championship against Spain at Garryduff today.
L Roleston; M Crookshanks; K Marshall; D Power; M Samuel; C Robson; G Sarratt; D Rae; C Empey; A O’Hare; S McCabe.
H MacMahon; B Walker; A Tinney; D Jennings; D Lynch.
E Buckley; M Barry; K Burns; F McDermott; J McMaster; H McLoughlin; S Kelly; H Irwin; G McLoughlin; E Getty; K Edgar.
N Carey; A Doyle; M Carey; R Burns; R Henderson.