Ireland 0-2 Cymru: Fishlock and Woodham strikes see Wales claim first win since April 2023

Having announced Rhian Wilkinson as their next permanent coach on Monday evening, Cymru interim boss Jon Grey would be afforded the opportunity to lead his side out for a friendly fixture against the Republic of Ireland at Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday.

Cymru had not yet played in 2024, while the Girls in Green were held to a goalless draw by Italy in Firenze last Friday.

IRL: Brosnan; McCabe, Hayes, Payne, Caldwell; Connolly, Littlejohn; Kiernan, Stapleton, Ziu; Barrett

CYM: Clark; Roberts, Green, Evans, Ladd, Woodham; Ingle, James; Rowe, Hughes, Fishlock

Eileen Gleeson was forced into making a late change ahead of kickoff, with Diane Caldwell replacing Niamh Fahey in the starting lineup in front of a bumper crowd at Tallaght Stadium.

It would be Cymru that seized the lead after just seven minutes in Dublin though, with Jess Fishlock firing home from close range following a corner. Sophie Ingle had seen her initial effort parried away, with the winger bundling over the line.

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Leanne Kiernan came close to restoring parity with a ball floated in from the left flank just before the quarter-hour mark, but the Liverpool forward’s effort narrowly missed the target. The Girls in Green would threaten again mere minutes later, forcing a number of fine close-range saves from Liv Clark to maintain Cymru’s early lead.

Eileen Gleeson’s side nearly found themselves trailing by two as Ingle found herself through on goal, but the Cymru captain could only watch as her chipped effort landed on the roof of the net from a tight angle.

The Girls in Green did find themselves further behind by the 22nd minute, as a Rhiannon Roberts cross from the right flank was flicked on towards Lily Woodham – who smashed home at the far post to cue euphoric scenes amongst the sizeable travelling contingent. It is the first time Cymru have scored more than one goal in a game since they defeated Northern Ireland in April 2023.

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The visitors could have added a third before the break in Tallaght when Elise Hughes darted forwards into the box, doing well to fend off a shroud of bodies around her but ultimately disappointing as she fired her tame efforts into the grateful arms of Courtney Brosnan.

Kiernan could have halved the deficit with just a few seconds of first-half regulation time remaining, but having already skewed an effort in the opening stages, the Liverpool forward scuffed this one too after a promising cut-back inside the box.

In an otherwise tame start to the second half, Fishlock was the subject of a controversial early booking for her complaints to referee Frida Mia Klarlund after a passage of play saw two balls on the pitch concurrently.

With a plethora of substitutions made by both sides as the half matured, Cymru’s lead never truly looked to falter – in fact, they looked the likelier side to bag the third goal of the match within the final ten minutes as substitute Ceri Holland’s curling effort was held well by Brosnan.

As the final whistle blew in Tallaght, confirmation arrived that interim manager Jon Grey had overseen his nation’s first win since April 2023, in his only match in charge before being succeeded by Rhian Wilkinson.

Ireland and Cymru now await the results of the EURO2025 qualifying draw on March 5.