Republic of Ireland 0
STEPHEN KENNY'S winless run in charge of the Republic of Ireland now stands at seven games as they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Wales in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday evening.
David Brooks’ second-half header was enough to separate the sides in Cardiff and Ireland, who saw Jeff Hendrick sent off late on, now need to avoid defeat against Bulgaria on Wednesday night to retain their place in league B.
Kenny made five changes from his starting eleven that was convincingly beaten 3-0 by England on Thursday evening with Douglas’ Adam Idah retaining his place along with former Cork City attacker Daryl Horgan.
Bishopstown’s John Egan was forced to withdraw early from that defeat away to the English with a head injury and he was replaced by Ballyphehane’s Kevin Long in defence.
Bandon’s Conor Hourihane dropped to the bench, accompanying Mahon’s Caoimhin Kelleher and former City forward Sean Maguire while his Preston North End clubmate Alan Browne also missed out having tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
Ireland started brightly and they went close to scoring inside the opening couple of minutes.
Robbie Brady’s dangerous free-kick picked out Shany Duffy at the back post but the Celtic centre-back could only send his diving header wide of the target.
The visitors again went close to breaking the deadlock on 18 minutes. Daryl Horgan caused problems for the Welsh rearguard down the right-hand side and after his inswinging cross was cut out by Neco Williams, Brady lofted his effort just over the crossbar.
Wales, who were without their manager Ryan Giggs, finally sparked into life moments later but David Brooks’ deflected attempt was easily claimed by goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
They almost snatched a spectacular opener midway through the first half as Gareth Bale decided to try his luck from 30 yards out but his fiercely hit free-kick dipped too late and clip the top of the bar.
Ireland created their best goal-scoring opportunity after half an hour. Brady’s hopeful ball over the top of the defence released James McClean inside the area but his low drive was saved by the feet of Danny Ward.
Brady found the run of Idah minutes later but the Norwich City man’s shot was blocked by Joe Rodon after he cut onto his right foot.
Idah appeared to suffer a knock as he got that shot away but fortunately for the Leesider, he was able to carry on after receiving treatment.
With the first half drawing to a close, Wales were fortunate themselves not to be reduced to ten men as the referee failed to punish Joe Morrell for kicking out at Jayson Molumby, who picked up a booking in the incident which means he will miss the Bulgaria game.
The final chance of the half fell to Ireland but Brady wildly fired the ball well over the target from a promising position.
The first chance after the half time break fell to Wales but Bale couldn’t get a good connection on his strike from 20 yards, allowing Randolph to make an easy save.
But the Republic soon regained control of proceedings and on the hour Adam Idah nearly scored his first senior international goal.
The 19-year-old forward was alert and pounced on a poor touch from Wales defender Chris Mepham following James McClean’s cross. Idah’s first touch took him away from his man but his shot was deflected wide of the near post before Duffy headed over from the resulting corner.
But in the 67th minute, Ireland were punished for not taking their chances as Wales snatched the lead against the run of play.
Duffy helped on a Daniel James cross and after Bale beat Doherty in the air and directed the ball back across the face of goal, David Brooks was on hand to head home from a couple of yards.
Kenny replaced Idah with Conor Hourihane as he went in search of an equaliser - and his second goal in charge - but it was Wales who almost grabbed the second as Randolph did brilliantly to turn Brook’s shot over the target when the attacker was through one on one before Hendrick was sent off late on.
WALES: Danny Ward, Neco Williams, Ben Davies, Joe Rodon, David Brooks, Gareth Bale, Ethan Ampadu, Joe Morrell, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Daniel James, Chris Mepham.
Subs: Kieffer Moore for Rhy Norrington-Davies (61), Tyler Roberts for David Brooks (88).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Darren Randolph, Matt Doherty, Shane Duffy, Daryl Horgan, Adam Idah, Robbie Brady, James McClean, Jeff Hendrick, Kevin Long, Dara O’Shea, Jayson Molumby.
Subs: Jason Knight for Daryl Horgan (59), James Collins for Jayson Molumby (76), Conor Hourihane for Adam Idah (76), Jack Byrne for Robbie Brady (82), Callum O’Dowda for Dara O’Shea (82).
Referee: Petr Ardeleanu (Czech Republic).