KEITH Fahey was full of praise for Ireland's two debutants at the Aviva Stadium on a satisfying night all round for Ireland.
He's not on the scene long himself, but watching from the bench he saw much to admire about Ciaran Clark and Seamus Coleman, whom he replaced just before the hour mark.
The Birmingham midfielder wasn't named in Giovanni Trapattoni's final squad for the clash with Wales, but, after James McCarthy cried off, he was recalled and came off the bench to score a sweet free-kick.
It reminded the Italian of the talents that saw Fahey start against Slovakia last year and boosted his chances of inclusion in next month's crunch Euro 2012 qualifying clash against Macedonia.
But although the night saw him score his second international goal on just his eighth cap, the Tallaght native was keen to heap praise on two newcomers to the team.
"The two debut lads were excellent," Fahey said. "I reckon Ciaran headed 50 balls in the first half and Seamus was excellent going forward.
"It was nice to get on and take a free and it was nice to score it. I was pleased Darron (Gibson) was not on (the field) and I said it to him afterwards and he said there was no way I'd have been allowed take it! I haven't taken free-kicks since I left St Pat's. It was good to get a run with the Euros coming up and nice to do well and score."
Damien Duff was delighted to have ended a five-year drought for an international goal and although the general public stayed away in their droves, the 86-times capped Fulham star thought the Carling Nations Cup opener was well worth the effort.
"It was nice, I haven't scored for a couple of years and it's nice to get the points on the board in this new competition," Duff said. "The Welsh lads made us work for it, but we played well and thoroughly deserved the win. This is a chance of silverware and we are in with a good chance, but the most important thing is qualifying for the European Championships, so the big one is next month."
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni echoed Duff's thoughts, insisting that Ireland now have the perfect platform heading into the crunch Macedonia clash. However, he made a veiled reference to missing captain Robbie Keane, who has only just nailed down a starting place for his club after his January move to West Ham.
"Macedonia play different football, but we have to believe we have the potential," he said. "Our team is a good team and we can play good football. It is just a pity some of our players only play a few times for their club because I am sure if our players played more, we would be even stronger."