Ireland 0 Wales 2 FT: Women’s international friendly as it happened

Eileen Gleeson’s unbeaten run ends after poor performance in Tallaght


Ireland 0 Wales 2


Full-time: Ireland 0 Wales 2

A first defeat for Eileen Gleeson. Disappointing night in Tallaght in front of a record attendance.

Eileen Gleeson interviewed on RTÉ:

“The first thing we made it difficult for ourselves. We didn’t take care of the ball. We all agree there is a lot we could have done better tonight.

“We lost Niamh in the warm-up, that can unsettle the starting moments. Dian was ready to step in and she picked up an injury as well. It took us too long to get up to it and we didn’t do the simple things right.

“Wales have a lot of experience, like for like tonight and we came the wrong side of that. We feel we can do a lot better than that.”

Jess Ziu: “It’s a bittersweet moment [to pick up player of the match]. We weren’t good enough.”

That’s all from me. Gavin Cummiskey’s match report to follow.


92 mins: Nice dribble by Ziu and crossfield pass but poor pass by Payne sums up the day. One final chance perhaps as Connolly puts in a super corner and Hayes wins the header but just over the bar.


88 mins: Player of the match is Jess Ziu. Might have been Fishlock if Welsh players were included, she has been brilliant.


83 mins: Another injury for Ireland as Brosnan gets treatment. More weak enough defending after a ball over the top from Ireland but Wales waste the chance.


77 mins: A dangerous free kick from the sideline Connolly takes falls to Murphy who slices it but Quinn had a chance with the header, can’t get power on it.


71 mins: McCabe receiving some treatment and Izzy Atkinson comes on for McCabe, who had a slightly subdued game today.


66 mins: Littlejohn with the shot straight at the goalkeeper after a decent Irish move.


62 mins: Ziu passes to Murphy but slightly overhit to Payne who is stretching and hits a shot straight at Clark. Down the other end Roberts hits a clever pass to Hughes, but her shot is straight at Brosnan.


57 mins: A card for James after Ziu drives at the defence with her dribbling. She’s been one of Ireland’s better players tonight.


50 mins: Another good ball in from the other end from Connolly and Clark scrambles it away. McCabe then crosses again into the danger zone but Murphy falls in the box. Better this half from Ireland so far.

8,218 is the attendance tonight, a record for Tallaght Stadium.


48 mins: Louise Quinn is on for Caldwell, Carusa on up front for Barrett and Murphy for Kiernan should give Ireland more presence. A crossfield ball from McCabe to Payne and she plays in Ziu on the byline but can’t get into the box. Again Payne gets an opening on the right wing and her cross is cut out for a corner. McCabe’s corner is right in the mixer but Evans just gets it away.


45 mins: Ziu with a great dribble down the right byline creates a chance, which she cuts back for Kiernan on the edge of the box, who hits an air shot. Been a disappointing half by Kiernan so far, but that’s more like it for Ziu.

Barrett wins the ball back on the edge of the box, Ziu then gets in a tangle with Evans and Evans gets his in the head with Ziu’s knee. Ireland play on but nothing happens with the chance.

Half-time: Ireland 0 Wales 2

Not what Gleeson had or the home fans had in mind. Lethargic and disjointed performance, yet to get McCabe into the game. Wales could have led by more than two goals. Much improvement needed in the second half.


41 mins: Chance for Wales, Fishlock breaking the lines again, Rowe to Hughes from inside the box but it’s a tame shot straight at Brosnan.


36 mins: Disappointing performance by Ireland so far, Wales certainly on top. Might need a change at half-time to get more control.


33 mins: Ireland had a chance after the ball fell to Ziu but her pass to Barrett does not lead to anything. Then there is a penalty claim for Ireland for a push after Payne kept the ball in well on the wing and crossed it.


29 mins: Fishlock gets the better of Connolly on the wing and nearly sets up another goal, she’s been the best player on the pitch so far.


27 mins: Ireland looking nervy enough as a higher line has been exposed with Hughes’s pace. Then up the pitch, a good cross by McCabe is headed wide by Stapleton.


22 mins: Goal for Wales! They’re on fire today. Goal for Woodham, who scores well from outside the box. Roberts with the cross, a touch from the Wales player diverts the ball to Woodham and she finishes on Brosnan’s near post.


17 mins: McCabe getting forward more from left-back and wins a corner down the left. Big chance! The resulting corner leads to two shots that are brilliantly saved by Clark. Hayes with the initial header at the keeper, then Barrett with a swing but saved again.


14 mins: No joy yet for Ireland in attack, not quite clicking. McCabe gets some space finally on the left and releases Kiernan but her cross is mishit and over the bar.


10 mins: Another chance for Wales, free header for Hughes misses the target from a corner. Wales the better team so far. Ireland being overwhelmed.


8 mins: Goal for Wales! A 40th international goal for the danger woman Fishlock and it was coming after a great start by Wales. Evans wins the header and it is hit back across the box to Fishlock to finish.


6 mins: Some hesitant defending by Ireland as Wales get down the byline. Hayes scrambles it away.


3 mins: Ireland pinned Wales into the corner in the opening moments, but Payne gave away the ball to create a chance for Wales. It was well cleared by Stapleton though.


Late team news, unfortunately Niamh Fahey has pulled out through injury, to be replaced by Diane Caldwell. The teams again

Ireland team to play Wales: Brosnan; Payne, Hayes, Caldwell, McCabe; Stapleton, Connolly, Littlejohn; Ziu, Barrett, Kiernan.

Wales team to play Ireland: Clark, Woodham, Evans, Ladd, Green, Roberts, Ingle, James, Fishlock, Rowe, Hughes.


Starting player Jess Ziu says she approaches games with a different mindset now following her return from a serious ACL injury. In Florence on Friday the 21-year-old made her first appearance for Ireland since September 2022. “I’m not going to lie, it was quite overwhelming, a bit emotional,” she says of returning to the squad 17 months since her injury.


Wales’s star player is arguably centre midfielder Jess Fishlock, who plays in the NWSL, known for her passing and having a good engine across the pitch. Wales have two Manchester United defenders starting Hayley Ladd and Gemma Evans, while Sophie Ingle is another good performer from Chelsea. Wales should be strong in the spine of their team, but hopefully McCabe from the wing can create chances for the front two.


Ireland’s team announced:

Ireland team to play Wales: Brosnan; Payne, Hayes, Fahey, Stapleton; Ziu, Connolly, Littlejohn, McCabe (capt); Barrett, Kiernan.

Wales team to play Ireland: Clark, Woodham, Evans, Ladd, Green, Roberts, Ingle, James, Fishlock, Rowe, Hughes.

Interesting team there, not clear what formation will line up, if McCabe will be more advanced or not. A start for Kiernan and Barrett up front, plenty of goalscoring potential in that side.


While Gleeson was happy with the performance against Italy, she conceded that the team needed “a bit more quality in the final third”. Too often Kyra Carusa was left isolated, writes Mary Hannigan in her preview to the game, unlike during the Nations League when the quality of support she received from the likes of O’Sullivan and Katie McCabe saw her score five goals in six games.

McCabe’s stats from that campaign were remarkable – five goals and six assists – but having been given freedom to roam against weaker opposition, she returned to her left-back role against Italy. And so, the eternal debate about how to make the best use of her for Ireland rumbles on.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Ireland’s friendly match against Wales, from Tallaght Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.30pm. Eileen Gleeson has a fully fit squad to select from (aside from the likes of Denise O’Sullivan who didn’t make the squad) with Louise Quinn available again and plenty of tactical options to choose from after their impressive performance in the 0-0 draw with Italy in Florence on Friday night. This Welsh side is eight places below Ireland in the rankings, concluded their Nations League campaign with a scoreless draw at home to Germany in December, showing how defensively solid they can be. Starting line-ups to follow.

Republic of Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Grace Moloney (London City Lionesses), Sophie Whitehouse (Lewes)

Defenders: Jessie Stapleton (Reading – on loan from West Ham United), Diane Caldwell (FC Zurich), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Caitlin Hayes (Celtic), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City), Aoife Mannion (Manchester United), Megan Campbell (London City Lionesses). Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Lily Agg (Birmingham City), Megan Connolly (Bristol City), Ruesha Littlejohn (London City Lionesses), Heather Payne (Everton), Jess Ziu (West Ham United), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City), Izzy Atkinson (Crystal Palace), Erin McLaughlin (Peamount United), Jess Fitzgerald (Peamount United).

Forwards: Kyra Carusa (San Diego Wave), Abbie Larkin (Crystal Palace), Amber Barrett (Standard Liege), Leanne Kiernan (Liverpool), Emily Murphy (Wake Forest University).