Martin O’Neill’s men got off to the worst possible start today, coming out on the receiving end of a battering by Ryan Giggs’ Wales.
The signs were there from the earliest moments in Cardiff this evening. Tom Lawrence managed to fire home from close range to give Giggs’ side their first.
From there, things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Irish.
Gareth Bale was always going to have a stand-out moment if he could get his hands on one and after some admittedly generous Irish defending, he left goalkeeper Darren Randolph stranded with an absolutely beautiful effort.
Their third came courtesy of Aaron Ramsey soonafter.
And while Ireland had some flickers of momentum in the first-half, they really didn’t seem to have the quality to get anything substantial together and in the second-half, despite a first competitive goal for Shaun Williams, things didn’t exactly get too much better.
In the end, the Welsh were able to establish at 4-1 lead after Connor Roberts sealed the deal and from there, they slowly started to drain the life from the game, safe in the knowledge that they had kicked off their UEFA Nations League in the best possible way.
A poor night for O’Neill and co. for sure, but with such a long list of injuries and unavailable players, hopefully things will improve in the future.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena