Ireland lose to Wales in UEFA Nations League…16/10/2018

Following their scoreless UEFA Nations League draw with Denmark in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening our senior international team returned to the South Dublin venue where they went down to a one nil defeat by Wales in the same competition this Tuesday evening. With concussion victim Callum O’Dowda ruled out, manager Martin O’Neill made two changes to the starting eleven with Callum Robinson and Aiden O’Brien replacing Shane Long and O’Dowda. Ireland did start on the front foot and were gifted an early opportunity but Cyrus Christie failed to take the chance. The remainder of the first half was fairly uneventful with Wales dominating possession but Ireland remained defensively resolute and were little troubled. The game changed dramatically on fifty eight minutes with a needless free kick conceded on the edge of the penalty area by Harry Arter, who to that point had been defensively sound in the holding midfield role. The free kick was scored and thereafter Wales looked increasingly confident and might well have added to their lead. Ireland made three changes, with strikers Shane Long, Sean Maguire and Scott Hogan introduced for O’Brien, Robinson and Kevin Long and did have some late opportunities to secure the equaliser but a lack of composure coupled with stout Welsh defending denied them. It is difficult, even dispiriting, to identify where we go from here with the probability that we will finish bottom of this Group, thereby being relegated to pot three for the 2020 European Championship qualifying draw. We complete our League B Group Four fixtures in Aarhus against Denmark on Monday the 19th November 2018, a match for which James McClean will be suspended following his yellow card booking this evening.