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  Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Ireland hammer poor Welsh
Peter Stringer (left)
Peter Stringer attempts to get in a clearance
Wales 6-36 Ireland

Ireland maintained their 18-year unbeaten record in Cardiff with a fine victory over Wales to lift the pressure on coach Warren Gatland.

The Irish endured a few nervous moments in the second half before late tries by Denis Hickie, Brian O'Driscoll and Shane Horgan gave the scoreboard a slightly flattering look.

However, the visitors thoroughly deserved their victory, which guarantees Gatland's side second place in the Six Nations table.

They squandered a series of glorious try-scoring opportunities in both halves.

Shane Horgan and Mick Galwey both crossed the Welsh line in first half injury-time but were adjudged to have not grounded the ball.

The Irish produced some decent passages of play in the first half having clearly recovered from their mauling by the Scots.

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll scored second Irish try

The second half was a largely scrappy affair until the trio of late tries made the game safe.

Ireland enjoyed some early possession deep in Wales' half with outside-half David Humphreys launching a towering up-and-under.

The visitors retained the ball and continued to surge forward only for Humphreys to knock-on.

But Wales had strayed offside and the Ireland fly-half slotted over an easy penalty.

Humphreys went on to score four further first half penalties and he was also denied a further three points with a drop goal which was controversially adjudged to have gone over an upright.

A penalty from Llanelli fly-half Stephen Jones was Wales' only first half half score as the Irish governed the contest for the most part.

Wales launched their best first-half attack in the 22nd minute with the lively Williams kicking ahead only for Denis Hickie to avert the danger with a try-saving intervention.

Rob Howley (centre)
Rob Howley attempts a break
With Ireland dominating the closing stages of the first half, only desperate Welsh defence prevented the visitors from putting the game beyond doubt.

Horgan and Mick Galwey both seemed certain to score tries after crossing the Welsh line but the video referee said neither had grounded the ball.

Wales started the second half on top as they finally managed to secure some ball.

However, the home side were let down by some sloppy handling.

It was one such turnover that allowed Humphreys to pin the home side deep into their own territory.

But Henry's men won the ensuing line-out to dig themselves out of trouble.

Jones reduced the deficit five minutes into the half with a penalty from in front of the posts as Wales at last began to establish some continuity.

Kevin Morgan and David Humphreys
Kevin Morgan is tackled by Humphreys

But the Irish quickly re-asserted their superiority and, for the most part, the second half was played in Welsh territory.

Wales centre Leigh Davies tried to make his presence felt in midfield with some strong running but mistakes from his support runners ensured his efforts made little impression.

By the 73rd minute Wales were struggling to break out of their own half and Ireland's dominance was finally rewarded with the try they had been threatening to score all afternoon.

Humphreys released Hickie who skinned his opposite man Dafydd James to touch down for a try.

Humphreys then slotted the conversion over.

Two minutes later, O'Driscoll profitted from a Welsh error to score Ireland's second try.

With the Welsh challenge collapsing, Horgan added Ireland's third try in injury-time to atone for his failure to ground in the first half.


Wales: Kevin Morgan (Swansea); Dafydd James (Bridgend), Allan Bateman (Neath), Leigh Davies (Llanelli), Shane Williams (Neath); Stephen Jones (Llanelli), Robert Howley (Cardiff); Iestyn Thomas (Ebbw Vale), Robin McBryde (Llanelli), David Young (Cardiff, capt), Chris Wyatt (Llanelli), Andy Moore (Swansea), Colin Charvis (Swansea), Brett Sinkinson (Neath), Geraint Lewis (Swansea).
Reps: Rhys Williams for Kevin Morgan 77 mins, Barry Williams (Neath) for Robin McBryde 53, Chris Anthony (Newport) for David Young 63, Craig Quinnell (Cardiff) for Andy Moore 78, Gavin Thomas (Bath) for Colin Charvis 53.

Ireland: Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College); Shane Horgan (Lansdowne), Brian O'Driscoll (Blackrock College), Kevin Maggs (Bath), Denis Hickie (St. Mary's College); David Humphreys (Dungannon), Peter Stringer (Shannon); Peter Clohessy (Young Munster), Keith Wood (Harlequins, capt), John Hayes (Shannon), Mick Galwey (Shannon), Malcolm O'Kelly (St. Mary's College), Eric Miller (Terenure College), David Wallace (Garryowen), Anthony Foley (Shannon).
Reps: Emmet Byrne (St. Mary's College) for Peter Clohessy 62, Kieron Dawson (London Irish) for David Wallace 78, Guy Easterby (Llanelli) for Peter Stringer 79, Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution) for David Humphreys 75, Mike Mullins (Young Munster) for Brian O'Driscoll.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (SA).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC rugby correspondent Ian Robertson - BBC Sport
"This was a great day for the Irish"
Wales coach Graham Henry - BBC Sport
"A very disappointing display"
Ireland captain Keith Wood - BBC Sport
"I thought we played very well"

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