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Page last updated at 21:45 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Nations Cup: Republic of Ireland 3-0 Wales

Republic of Ireland's Darron Gibson scores against Wales
Gibson grabbed the opener for Ireland in Dublin

New Wales boss Gary Speed began his reign as manager with a disappointing Nations Cup defeat at the hands of the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Wales were undone by second-half strikes from Darren Gibson and Damien Duff in the space of seven minutes.

Kevin Fahey completed a comprehensive Irish win with a free-kick seven minutes from time.

It gives Speed plenty to think about before Wales take on England in their Euro 2012 qualifier on 26 March.

Wales' best chance came when Simon Church forced Shay Given into a save at the end of the first half.

Speed was not helped by the fact that he only had one training session before the match and was without eight players, including Aaron Ramsey, who withdrew because of injury.

And it was not the most encouraging of starts to 41-year-old Speed's reign as manager as the Republic dominated the early exchanges.

The home side looked more lively - showing more urgency - and could easily have broken the deadlock within the first 10 minutes.

Glen Whelan chipped over Wayne Hennessey's goal on three minutes and that was followed by Duff shaving Wales' far post with an attempted cross in to the box.

And James Collins, in his third appearance as captain, was forced to keep the defence focused.

Wales eventually got into the game with a David Vaughan free-kick into the box that tested the Irish before the Welsh midfield put a neat passing move together, although it came to nothing.

Manchester United's John O'Shea was lucky to escape a yellow card with a clumsy challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu.

Robson-Kanu was in the action again when he had a fair claim of a penalty. The Reading player looked to have been pushed over in the area by Seamus Coleman but referee Mark Courtney was not interested.

A useful Rob Earnshaw attack ended with the Nottingham Forest striker being hacked down by Ciaran Clark just outside the box but from the resulting free-kick Earnshaw fired high over the bar.

On 35 minutes Kevin Doyle produced the first shot on target but he fired straight at Hennessey, his Wolves team-mate.

And four minutes later Clark headed just wide of Hennessey's left post from a free-kick as the home side looked the more likely to get the first goal.

Rob Earnshaw and John'Shea clash in the Dublin clash
Wales striker Rob Earnshaw is challenged by John O'Shea

In the last minute a low Simon Church shot from 25 yards produced the first save of the game by Shay Given as the first half remained goalless.

Wales made a substitution at half-time, with right-back Neil Eardley was replaced by Chris Gunter.

The Republic had the first chance of the second period when a weaving run resulted in Duff firing straight at Hennessey.

And the home side began to attack in waves but still the score remained at 0-0 as Shane Long was wasteful with a shot way over the crossbar.

A rare Welsh attack ended with Andy King being hacked down by Darren Gibson, who received the first yellow card of the contest on 54 minutes.

Hennessey was twice called on to make saves in the space of two minutes, the best stop a point-blank effort when Duff shot from the edge of the area.

The pressure eventually took its toll on the hour as a wonder strike from Gibson from 30 yards sailed past the diving Hennessey into the right corner.

It was goal that led to Celtic's Joe Ledley entering the fray for Vaughan.

However, seven minutes after taking the lead the home side were 2-0 ahead as Duff shot home after Wales' defence was left in disarray.

And Wales' performance was put in its full context when substitute Fahey shot past the wall and Hennessey into the right corner for the Republic's third on 83 minutes.

Rep 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.

Booked: Gibson.

Goals: Gibson 60, Duff 67, Fahey 83.

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.

Att: 19,783

Ref: Mark Courtney (N Ireland).

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see also
Duff pleased by Republic victory
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Wales form annoys captain Collins
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Dutchman appointed Speed deputy
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Gabbidon out of Wales retirement
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Fixtures revealed for Nations Cup
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Wales' international fixtures
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Wales' results archive
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Pick your Wales XI
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Welsh football history
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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