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Republic of Ireland 2 (D.O'Sullivan 26,69)
A goal in each half condemned Wales to defeat in their opening UEFA Women's Championship qualifying group match in Newport.
However they were left to wonder what might have been after controlling much of the game without breaking down a strong Republic of Ireland defence and two errors were ruthlessly punished by Denise O'Sullivan who netted both times.
Wales manager Jarmo Matikainen opted to keep an unchanged side from that which beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in their recent friendly, with Loren Dykes lining up at right back and captain Jayne Ludlow continuing in the centre of defence.
This seemed to work as Wales settled down the quicker early on and carried the game to their opponents. They almost went ahead in the sixth minute when a Helen Bleazard was half cleared and Gwennan Harries headed down for Helen Lander to sweep a shot goalwards but Emma Byrne dived on the ball a yard from the line.
Wales continued to play the ball around confidently with Harries looking lively and Jessica Fishlock displaying a good range of passing for the strikers. Michelle Green fired a shot off target and Fishlock also sent an effort over as Wales continued to press.
However on 26 minutes, against the run of play, Ireland took the lead. A poor clearance was picked up by Denise O'Sullivan who sent in a low shot which skidded under the dive of Rhian Nokes and into the corner of the net.
Wales tried to hit back and won a free kick on the edge of the area but Fishlock's initial effort was charged down and Harries drove the rebound over. Bleazard then went close after cutting in from the left but her shot was just off target.
At the other end, a cross-shot from Ciara Grant was held above her head by Nokes and Shannon Smyth almost put Ireland two ahead but well struck shot was blocked by Harries.
The second half saw Wales have the greater of possession and Ireland content to sit on their one-goal lead and hit on the break. Arsenal duo Ciara Grant and Niamh Fahey were having strong matches in front of the Ireland back four and the Welsh midfield found itself continually being stifled.
Harries went close with a dipping 30-yard shot which was just over the bar but the frustration largely continued for Wales who were finding most joy on the flanks but the final ball let them down too often.
Ireland always looked dangerous on the break and a clever turn from the impressive Fiona O'Sullivan in the area took her away from Kylie Davies but her shot was brilliantly turned over the bar by Nokes.
However the second goal was to come just four minutes later as Fiona O'Sullivan chased down a long ball forward. Nokes came off her line to clear but miscued the ball straight to Denise O'Sullivan who took one touch before executing a perfect lob back into the net.
Wales did not give up and worked hard to try and get themselves back into the game. A good flick from Fishlock released Sophie Ingle down the left where the full back's cross was turned goalwards by Lander but saved by Byrne. Two minutes later, Lander went close again when she headed wide from a cross by Fishlock.
A vital interception by Louise Quinn denied Fishlock an almost certain goal as she looked to get on the end of a low cross from Lander. Wales won a series of corners late on but Ireland stood firm with Quinn and Yvonne Tracy keeping matters tight in the centre to preserve their clean sheet.
Wales: Rhian Nokes, Loren Dykes, Sophie Ingle, Kylie Davies, Jayne Ludlow, Katie Daley, Helen Bleazard (sub Amie Lea 73mins), Michelle Green (sub Kerrie Manley 87mins), Helen Lander, Gwennan Harries (sub Natasha Harding 84mins), Jessica Fishlock. Subs not used: Nicola Davies, Sally Wade, Nia Jones, Cheryl Foster.
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne, Grace Murray (sub Megan Campbell 54mins), Diane Caldwell, Niamh Fahey, Yvonne Tracy, Louise Quinn, Ciara Grant, Denise O'Sullivan, Fiona O'Sullivan, Shannon Smyth (sub Marie Curtin 84mins), Stephanie Roche (sub Julie-Ann Russell 65mins). Subs not used: Shannon McDonnell, Meabh De Burca, Eve Badana, Mary Waldron.
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