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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association Images reland skipper Brian O'Driscoll gets past Wales' Huw Bennett.
# Goodbyes
Gutted skipper O'Driscoll hails Blarney Army
“A huge thank you to all the fans. They’ve been absolutely incredible. The hotel this morning was very special. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t give them another few weeks to cheer us on.”

IRELAND CAPTAIN BRIAN O’Driscoll could only hail Wales’ tactical masterclass and salute the travelling Irish supporters as his side exited Wellington defeated this morning.

Declan Kidney’s men were outplayed as Wales ran in tries through Shane Williams, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies.

A penalty from Leigh Halfpenny and two conversions from Rhys Priestland secured their spot in the last four – and ensures Ireland return to Dublin on Monday.

“We got outplayed in the second half,” O’Driscoll told a TV interviewer afterwards. “We’re very disappointed to be going home. We needed another performance like Australia or even against Italy last week. We didn’t do that today, we knocked on too much ball.

“A huge thank you to all the fans. They’ve been absolutely incredible. The hotel this morning was very special. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t give them another few weeks to cheer us on.”

Ireland responded to the Welsh onslaught with a try from Keith Earls and five points from Ronan O’Gara’s kicking but they were always chasing the game. Sadly, it now looks like the end of the road for Ireland’s so-called golden generation.

“It was a great opportunity after winning the group but they proved worthy semi-finalists and good luck to them,” said the Leinster centre.

Wales captain Sam Warburton however was left beaming. He told ITV1:

“It was a massive performance, we knew they had a lot of big ball carriers and there was a lot of tackling stopping them on the gain line because they are dangerous, it was a fantastic defensive effort.

“We always say we don’t start good enough, and we started perfectly today and it was just what we wanted. It’s easier to be ahead of the game than chasing it. It’s a massive achievement and we have worked so hard.

Stephen Ferris with Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe. Pic: Inpho/Dan Seridan

“The team in 1987 did it (reached the last four) and got third place. But we have the semi next week, the boys are thrilled and it’s a massive achievement, it’s brilliant.”

Sportsmanship

Irish coach Declan Kidney was typically magnanimous in defeat, congratulating Warren Gatland and his side.

“It was always going to be one of those 50-50 games,” he said, “but credit to Wales, they came out and scored three tries. You won’t hear any complaints from us.

“We’ll live another day. Our support has been great and we thank them very much for that. We’re just so disappointed for Ireland that we let them down.”

In pictures: Wales end Irish World Cup dream

LIVE: England v France

As it happened: Ireland v Wales

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