Wales produced a scintillating display to demolish the Republic of Ireland 4 -1 in Cardiff on Thursday evening. Ryan Giggs will be extremely pleased by the sheer quality of the performance given by his side and especially the brilliant individual showings from his young midfielders David Brooks and Ethan Ampadu. For the Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, this devastating result and performance in what has been a tumultuous week for the Irish coaching staff and players will vastly increase the level of scrutiny that he will now face, in the coming days and months.
In what was Giggs’ first home competitive game in charge, Wales effectively finished the match as a contest in the opening 37 minutes. Wales scored three top quality goals in the opening half which highlighted the schoolboy level defending shown by the Ireland back-line throughout the night. Derby County winger Tom Lawerence expertly finished a brilliant slide-rule ball by Joe Allen in the 6th minute. Twelve minutes later, Gareth Bale beautifully chest controlled a raking diagonal pass from Ben Davies and preceded to whip a fantastic shot into the top right-hand corner of the Irish net. With 8 minutes left before halftime, a rampaging run by the impressive 17-year-old Chelsea starlet Ethan Ampadu ended with Aaron Ramsey dispatching the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of Darren Randolph’s net.
The beginning of the second half saw no respite for the beleaguered Irish team as Allen and Ampadu bossed the midfield. The relentless short passing and movement showcased by the Welsh players was terrific to watch. Swansea youngster Coner Roberts capped an excellent start to the Ryan Giggs era for Wales when he despatched a splendid half-volley into the net on 55 minutes. Ireland scored a consolation goal in the 66th when Millwall’s Shaun Williams dispossessed Ramsey to finish past Wayne Hennessey neatly.
The future for Wales looks promising with the introduction of exciting young talents to supplement the world-class ability of Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger who is now free from the imposing shadow of CR7 in Madrid has now netted 10 goals in his last 9 appearances for club and country since May 6th. The skillful manner with which he scored his long-range goal in the first half was reminiscent of many of his best goals in his final season for Tottenham in 2013. Wales manager Ryan Giggs told Sky Sports after the game:
“The lads were magnificent, some brilliant goals and great football. I can’t be much happier.
Following the 5-1 loss at home to Denmark in November, the Irish fanbase’s confidence in Martin O’Neill has dropped like a stone. O’Neill’s subsequent dalliances with the Stoke job has vastly increased his number of critics amongst Irish public and media. His side has now conceded nine goals in their last two competitive fixtures and now face the possibility of slipping into the third pot of seeds for the draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers in December.
Written by Rob Giles