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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 21 October, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off for the game is 7.45pm.

Here’s the team to start tonight…

Unsurprisingly, Wes Hoolahan’s absence dominates the discussion on RTÉ.

Liam Brady envisages “route one football” without him, and it’s hard to disagree.

Martin O’Neill cites Hoolahan’s inability to play “two games in quick succession” as the reason for leaving him out tonight.

A reminder that David Meyler, Stephen Ward, Harry Arter, Cyrus Christie and Shane Duffy are all on yellow cards.

Another booking would see them miss the play-off first leg if Ireland get that far.

It’s easy to get caught up in viewing this game from an Irish angle, but it’s an equally big game for the hosts.

Wales Online are calling tonight “the biggest football match played on Welsh soil for a quarter of a century”.


Meyler heads away a Gunter cross.

Wales have started on the front foot.


Half chance for Wales, as Robson-Kanu heads off target from a corner.

Ireland have been playing fairly cautiously so far.


Ireland have started this game with five in midfielder with Meyler slightly deeper than everyone else.

As I type, McClean makes a typically robust tackle.


Wales are really dominating possession at the moment.

It could be a long evening for Ireland.


Good save from Randolph, who tips over a powerful Ramsey pot shot.

Ireland are under the cosh in these opening stages.


Brady has a chance to cross, but he lofts it well over.

Ireland’s deliveries need to be better if they are to prevail tonight.


RTÉ apologised for his use of this word…


Wales continue to dominate possession.

Ireland have looked solid at the back and are defending fairly well so far.


Joe Allen gets booked for a very reckless challenge on David Meyler.

The Hull midfielder looks like he will be okay to continue.


Williams does well to clear a dangerous McClean cross.

Better from Ireland, though as I type, Hendrick shoots well over the bar from outside the box.


Allen’s shot from the edge of the box is deflected wide.

Clark then heads out the corner for another corner.

Wales are applying plenty of pressure at the moment.


Half chance for Ireland.

Wales only half clear a long throw, but Hendrick fails to get a clean strike on it, and the hosts eventually properly clear their lines.


Lawrence finds space in between the defence and miffield.

His shot from distance, however, is comfortably saved by Randolph.


According to the BBC, Ireland have had 25% possession so far.

As expected, it hasn’t been pretty to watch.


A deep free kick falls to Shane Duffy.

His cross-shot goes wide of the post.


It was a pretty special rendition of the Welsh anthem prior to kick-off tonight.

Of course, the subsequent football has been less spectacular.


Wales make an early change.

Joe Allen has to go off injured and is replaced by Jonathan Williams.


Williams is involved immediately.

His dangerous cross is directed just wide by Clark.


A corner falls to Ben Davies, but his shot from the edge of the box rises well over.

Wales have had the slightly better half chances so far.


Wales v Republic of Ireland - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Group D - Cardiff City Stadium Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy goes down under a challenge from Wales' James Chester. Source: Nick Potts


Murphy does well to win a free kick by inviting the challenge from Williams.

The Notts Forest star is not the most mobile, but he’s an intelligent player, as was evident there.


Brady gets the ball on the edge of the box and finds space.

His shot fails to beat the ‘keeper at his near post.


Half-time and it’s been quite a cagey affair with no real clear-cut chances.

Wales have dominated possession without being able to break Ireland down, while the injury to Joe Allen is a blow, because he was controlling the game initially.

Ireland’s main tactic seems to be hit and hope, having had just 32% of the ball according to the BBC, with set pieces currently the teams only realistic chance of scoring.

In that regard, the likes of Cyrus Christie and Robbie Brady have been disappointing with their deliveries from wide positions.

So with Ireland offering little in the way of creativity and needing a goal, surely Wes Hoolahan will be introduced sooner rather than later.


If you want to hear some good news, then you will be pleased to hear that it’s 0-0 at half-time between Serbia and Georgia, meaning there’s still an outside chance of Ireland qualifying automatically if they win this game.


Paul McGrath is team Hoolahan.


The second half has been no different to the first so far.

It’s been scrappy, with little goalmouth action.


Half chance for Wales.

James Chester heads a corner into the side netting.


Fantastic save from Randolph, after a Robson-Kanu’s header from Williams’ cross.

Wales are continuing to play the football in this game.


Wales have Ireland pinned back at the moment.

It feels like Martin O’Neill’s side could do with a substitution or two.


Ireland take the lead.

Great work from Hendrick down the right, who wins the ball and then crosses to McClean.

The West Brom winger subsequently finds the net with a sweetly struck finish.


McClean plays through Murphy with a well-executed long ball.

Williams blocks the striker’s shot and Ireland have a corner.


Davies gets a sight at goal, but Duffy does well to get a block on his shot.

Wales then make a positive substitution, as Ben Woodburn replaces Andy King.


Ramsey crosses to Robson-Kanu, whose header is well off target.

Ireland have been very well organised at the back tonight.


Jeff Hendrick is injured but wants to continue.

Glenn Whelan was getting readied from the bench.

Meanwhile, Wales make their final change, as Sam Vokes replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.


Serbia are now 1-0 up against Georgia.

If Ireland win here, it now seems certain they will be heading to the play-offs.


Arter is down with cramp and goes off.

Whelan comes on in his place.


Clark has been booked for time wasting.

Ireland look comfortable at the moment.


Results elsewhere suggest a draw will not suffice for Wales to reach the plays.

Looks like they’ll need a win to avoid going out.


Woodburn’s cross evades everyone.

Randolph collects it calmly.


The ball comes to Ciaran Clark and he wacks it wildly out of play.

Not exactly composed, but effective, which sums up Ireland’s performance in general tonight.


Ramsey balloons a free kick from distance well over.

The Irish fans have been drowned out by the Welsh supporters for much of this game, but they can be heard now.


Duffy gets man-of-the-match from RTÉ.

He has marshalled the backline very well indeed.


It’s backs-to-the-wall stuff now.

Every outfield Wales player is in the Irish half.


Wales are really pressing now.

Duffy has made a few good clearances in recent minutes, but it’s getting a little more desperate for Ireland’s defence.


Five minutes of stoppage time…


Ireland make a second change.

Kevin Long replaces Daryl Murphy.


Long belts the ball away.

Moments later, a Ramsey shot is comfortably saved by Randolph.

This is nervy stuff.


One minute remains, as McClean gives away a silly free kick…


We’re into stoppage time of stoppage time now…

So Ireland are in the play-offs again.

It wasn’t pretty, but Ireland defended superbly led by the magnificent Shane Duffy, while James McClean took his goal superbly.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting. We’ll have more reaction to follow.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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