Ireland’s poor form continues against Wales

Ireland’s woeful run of form continued with a 1-0 loss against UEFA Nations League opponent’s Wales in Cardiff on Sunday night. 

This means Ireland have now failed to score in six successive games, with Stephen Kenny still waiting for his first win as Irish manager. 

Bournemouth’s David Brooks headed home the only goal of the game from close range in the 67th minute to keep the Welsh at the top of the group. 

The Boys in Green had started the match promisingly creating several openings for themselves but once again failed to find the net and ended the match with ten men after Jeff Hendrick’s late red card for a poor challenge on Tyler Roberts. 

This result came three days after a 3-0 defeat to England, with the penalty shoot-out loss to Slovakia in the European Championship qualifiers still fresh in the mind as well. 

Kenny seemed keen to break the goalscoring duck, naming an attack-minded starting eleven which included James McClean, Robbie Brady, and Adam Idah. Wales saw the return of talisman and captain Gareth Bale to the starting lineup who eventually assisted the winning goal. 

Ireland started brightly with their best chance falling to Brady who saw his shot from the edge of the box fly just over. Wales on the other hand were reduced to a speculative free-kick from Bale during the first half, and were lucky to have eleven men on the pitch with Joe Morrell appearing to kick out at Jayson Molumby. 

The Welsh improved in the second half with the only goal of the game coming from a cross which saw Bale outjumping Matt Doherty at the back post, steering the ball towards an open goal with Brooks converting with ease. 

Ireland will now face Bulgaria in their final Nations League game on Wednesday, although they will be without Doherty and McClean who have both tested positive for Covid-19. Bulgaria will also be missing three players due to Covid during an international break in which FIFA have come in for criticism for continuing to play international fixtures during the pandemic. 

The positive news for Ireland during the rough spell has been the development and playing time given to some of their young players. Idah and Molumby started the game with promising Derby youngster Jason Knight replacing Daryl Horgan in the 59th minute. Troy Parrott has also joined the first team squad.