Wales’ young red dragons are on fire in Celtic clash with Ireland

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Ireland players look dejected after losing to Wales
Photo: Stephen Gormley (Red Eye Photo Agency)

Wales’ young red dragons are on fire in Celtic clash with Ireland

In a match without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, you would think that Martin O’Neill’s experienced Ireland side would be too strong for Ryan Giggs’ young Red Dragons. But of course this is Ireland 2018 vintage, who look void of any real purpose on a football pitch. They have won only 2 out of their last 11 competitive games.

One year is a long time in international football. After a great night in Cardiff just over a year ago, Ireland have hit the floor. They are on their knees, it looks like they will be relegated to pot 3 for the Euro 2020 draw which takes place in Dublin in December.

Ireland actually started the match well during the first 15 minutes, pressing high up the pitch. Cyrus Christie went through clean on goal after a slip from Ben Davis, but he gave welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey that extra second to get down to his far post and make a great save.

There was very little quality in the game by both sides until the 58th minute. Harry Arter made a rash tackle and gave away a free keep 20 yards away from the Irish goal. Up stepped young Harry Wilson who gave Irish keeper Darren Randolph the eyes he was going to his near post and just like magic the ball flashed in to the far post. It was a great free kick from a young 21-year old Liverpool player who looks a little special and was the best player on the pitch on the night.

You could feel the game was over. Ireland just don’t know how to score a goal at the moment. They worked hard for the next 35 minutes but never looked like they were going to score. At the final whistle their players fell to their knees like they lost a cup final.

Wales currently top the group (albeit with Denmark having a game in hand) and the most impressive thing for them to take away from their away victory in Dublin was that they did it without many of their more experienced players – they played with a front five with an average age under 21.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said after the match:

“You’re asking about responsibility and yes, I take it for every kick made out on that field by us. That’s my job and that won’t change”.

But maybe after 5 years, change is what is needed most for Ireland, otherwise Euro 2020 may well roll into Dublin (one of the host cities for the tournament) in less than 2 years’ time without the Boys in Green.

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[column size=”1/2″][blog type=”timeline” posts=”5″ cats=”317″ heading=”Wales” heading_type=”timeline” /][/column]
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