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Page last updated at 21:48 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Republic of Ireland 3-0 Wales

Darron Gibson and Andy King
Republic goal-scorer Darron Gibson battles with Andy King at the Aviva Stadium

Three second-half goals helped the Republic of Ireland beat a poor Wales side in Tuesday's Nations Cup opener at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

Damien Duff clipped a post early on and the Welsh had a penalty claim turned down but it was a poor first half.

The tempo lifted after the break and Darron Gibson scored his first Republic goal with a glorious strike on 60.

Duff doubled the lead six minutes later and Keith Fahey rounded off the win with an 82nd-minute free-kick.

Giovanni Trapattoni handed Irish debuts to Seamus Coleman and Ciaran Clark while Stoke striker Jonathan Walters made his first start after coming on as a substitute against Norway in November.

New Wales manager Gary Speed included Reading's Hal Robson-Kanu in a three-man attack alongside Simon Church and Robert Earnshaw while Aston Villa defender James Collins took over as captain.

Duff tormented Wales full-back Neal Eardley early on and the Fulham winger clipped the bar with an out-swinging cross in the fifth minute which deceived keeper Wayne Hennessey.

But after a promising opening, there was little to excite the 19,783 Aviva Stadium attendance during the remainder of the opening quarter.

Wales did have a strong penalty shout in the 25th minute as Republic debutant Coleman appeared to bundle over Robson-Kanu but Northern Ireland referee Mark Courtney ignored the appeals.

Kevin Doyle created the first clear-cut opening of the game in the 35th minute as he brushed aside Eardley and cut inside James Collins before firing straight at his Wolves team-mate Hennessey.

606: DEBATE
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Another of the Republic's debutants Clark headed inches wide in the 39th minute after Coleman's cross.

Shay Given's only first-half exertion was saving a low shot from Andy King just before the break but it was not a 45 minutes of football that will live long in the memory.

Shane Long was introduced for Doyle at half-time and the Reading striker blazed over a great chance to put the home side ahead on 50 minutes after being played in by Duff.

Duff, himself, missed another great Republic chance five minutes later as he failed to get full purchase on his shot which enabled Hennessey to block.

The Republic were starting to take a stranglehold but Gibson's superb 60th-minute strike was still very much out of keeping with the action that had gone before.

Gibson played a one-two with Glenn Whelan before unleashing a glorious curling shot from 25 yard which flew into past Hennessey into the top right-hand corner of the net.

It was Gibson's first international goal on his 14th international appearance and will surely press his claims to Trapattoni for a more regular starting spot in central midfield.

The Republic doubled their lead lead six minutes later as Duff produced a close-range finish after Walters had dispossessed Chris Gunter and unselfishly cut the ball back to the Fulham man.

Wales showed little appetite to fight their way back into the contest and Fahey's 82nd-minute free-kick beat Hennessey all too easily to round off the Republic's win.


Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea (O'Dea 85), St Ledger, Dunne, Clark, Coleman (Fahey 58), Whelan (Green 76), Gibson (Wilson 81), Duff (Keogh 71), Walters, Doyle (Long 46). Subs Not Used: Westwood, Kelly.

Wales: Hennessey, Eardley (Gunter 46), Danny Collins, James Collins, Ricketts (Nyatanga 83), Crofts, Vaughan (Ledley 61), King, Robson-Kanu (Eastwood 68), Church, Earnshaw (Easter 80). Subs Not Used: Brown, Williams, Dorman, Blake, Vokes, Price.

Referee: Mark Courtney (N Ireland)

Attendance: 19,783



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see also
Duff pleased by Republic victory
08 Feb 11 |  Football
Republic hit by more withdrawals
06 Feb 11 |  Football
Best in return to Republic squad
25 Jan 11 |  Football
Trapattoni denies stroke rumours
05 Jan 11 |  Football
Trapattoni accepts pay decrease
01 Dec 10 |  Irish
Long display impresses Trapattoni
17 Nov 10 |  Irish
Republic of Ireland 1-2 Norway
17 Nov 10 |  Irish
Slovakia 1-1 Republic of Ireland
12 Oct 10 |  Football


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