By Ger McCarthy
6 mins – Wales break the deadlock
The Republic of Ireland fall behind to an early goal and it is a beautifully crafted strike.
Ethan Ampadu’s cross-field pass finds Connor Roberts who cushions the ball back to David Brooks and on to Joe Allen.
A perfectly weighted pass releases Tom Lawrence behind Ireland’s defence and the Derby County player instantly slams a shot past Darren Randolph.
18 mins – Bale doubles the Dragon’s advantage
Things go from bad to worse for Martin O’Neill’s side as Wales make it 2-0 courtesy of a Gareth Bale special.
A Jeff Hendrick pass is intercepted deep in opposition territory and Ben Davies sends another accurate long-range pass towards the Irish penalty area.
Gareth Bale traps the ball on his chest and cuts in from the right before curling a delicious left-footed 20-yard effort into the top corner.
30 mins – Darren Randolph to the rescue
Ireland cannot cope with Wales’s pace and movement as Joe Allen gathers possession in his own half and finds David Brooks.
A swift breakaway ends with Tom Lawrence drifting in from the left wing and bringing the best out of Darren Randolph.
37 mins - It’s a rout as Wales move 3-0 ahead
The Republic of Ireland concede a third goal just minutes after wasting their only decent chance of the half.
Callum Robinson blazes over from a good position and an increasingly confident looking Wales make O’Neill’s side pay.
17-year-old Ethan Ampadu dispossesses Jonathan Walters in midfield and finds an unmarked Aaron Ramsey who smashes an unstoppable shot past Darren Randolph.
50 mins – Duffy tests Hennessy from a corner
A rare period of possession earns Ireland a corner.
Shane Duffy ambles up from his centre-back position and meets a lofted in-swinger with a header that Wayne Hennessey easily gathers.
55 mins - Another Irish miss followed by another Welsh goal
Callum Robinson squanders another opportunity and Wales punish Ireland’s profligacy.
The ball is moved to the edge of the Irish penalty area where Gareth Bale passes to Connor Roberts.
The Welsh right-back is afforded enough time and space to thunder a low shot past Ireland’s goalkeeper from 20 yards. 4-0 and Wales are full value for their lead.
65 mins – Ireland net a consolation goal
Wales are guilty of over elaborating on the edge of their box, presenting Ireland with an opportunity to score.
Winning his second cap, Millwall midfielder Shaun Williams takes advantage of Aaron Ramsey’s loss of balance and advances on goal.
The 31-year-old Irish substitute lifts the ball over the outrushing Wayne Hennessy to give the Irish supporters something to shout about.
79 mins – Wales denied a fifth near the end
Substitute Tyler Roberts comes within inches of marking his international debut with a goal.
Roberts embarks on a mazy run and plays a one-two with Aaron Ramsey only for Darren Randolph to prevent the Leeds United player’s shot from nestling in the back of the net.
Martin O'Neill admitted, “We were well beaten and obviously missing some key players but still well beaten.”
“I think that obviously, we set out with good intentions. They scored very early on in the game. Their second goal was a world-class goal form a world class player. That sets you back, 2-0 down after 15 minutes. It was a hard evening.
“I’m not in charge of the Welsh side and a new manager has come in. He is blooding some young players and they are very good, one of them has just gone to Bournemouth for 10 million pounds. So, I think we had a different side out than when we won here last year.
“We have a game coming up against Poland and we will try and utilise the squad as best we can. Try and get ourselves prepared for two very important games against Wales and Denmark in Dublin.
“Of course, absolutely we have to play better. We have to be braver on the ball, that’s very important regardless of what division the players play in. I think when we come here, we know it is a big step up"
Wales’ manager and players had every right to be pleased with their efforts in securing a comfortable 4-1 UEFA Nations League victory at home to the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff.
“I can’t be much happier,” Wales’ manager Ryan Giggs admitted.
“It is the start of the season and a case of juggling players who are playing regularly and match-fit. Again, like the squad really, the balance of our squad using experienced players and bringing new faces in.
“Ethan Amapdu is a talented but even more so, such a mature individual for such a young age. He’s going to be a very talented player. Tonight was about picking the right players who I thought were in form and I thought would do the best they could against Ireland.
“You don’t get long during the week (to work with the players) but I must say thank you to the staff and the players because it was quite intense really. Some of the lads played Sunday so it was just about recovery and trying to work on things as much as we could in the little time we had, trusting each other with the ball.
“It is a new regime and we wanted to put a performance in for the fans and for ourselves,” commented Wales’ Gareth Bale shortly after the final whistle.
“They (new players) settled in very well and were very relaxed. We all welcome everyone in and they have been great, worked hard in training and settled in to what we want to do. They showed it tonight out on the pitch.
17-year-old Ethan Amapdu made an impression in his first competitive international for Wales and was pleased with both the outcome.
“It was very good and Gareth (Bale) helped us all settle in but all the experienced players gave us the confidence to try and enjoy ourselves,” noted the Welsh debutante.
“We all enjoyed our football and as a said, the experienced players helped us settle. It just let us express ourselves.”
“The build-up is put behind us as kick-off comes, we are proud people and wanted to put on a show for ourselves and our travelling fans but done anything but that,” the Irish captain Seamus Coleman admitted.
“All round, I think Wales were better than us tonight. Individually, I thought we were poor. We didn’t give each other enough options on the ball which is important. We have got to be brave when we have the ball and I don’t think we were that tonight. In training we can look a lot better than that and that’s the disappointing think, not bringing it on to the pitch.
“Look, it is a different campaign and a new manager so we didn’t know what to expect (from Wales). I thought Wales played well but we gave them far too much respect. When we did have the ball I thought we were very disappointing and that’s where we have to do better and be braver as individuals.
“We could use the players out (missing) as an excuse but you have got to be good enough to play international football and tonight, I don’t think we were and Wales punished us. Yes we have players tom come back but anytime you put on this green jersey is an honour and you need to play with that pride, passion and bravery. We didn’t do that.
“We have to be better in Poland. We owe it to the fans and the management team. We need to be braver.”