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The game at a glance

Key man

Damien Duff

'Duffer' was the one player on the pitch who offered something different. Inventive, tricky, and always a threat to the Welsh defence. He fully deserved his goal which capped a good night's work.

Magic moment

The first goal by Darron Gibson. Lovely to see his shooting skills displayed in such a dramatic fashion, with a smashing effort on the run that gave 'keeper Wayne Hennessey no chance.

Turning point

Gibson's goal came at the end of a spell where Ireland had a series of attacks and three shots on target. It lifted the crowd and the Irish team at just the right time.

Referee watch

Mark Courtney from Northern Ireland kept a good grip on the match, although neither set of players were overly aggressive, given that they viewed it more as a friendly than a competitive fixture.

Manager watch

Giovanni Trapattoni appeared less animated than usual in the first half, but was all smiles after Gibson, Duff, and Keith Fahey (above) scored second-half goals. Trap's 29th match in charge and his 11th victory, seven of them at home.

Crowd watch

Our Welsh cousins didn't travel in big numbers, but they made plenty of noise throughout the game and helped shore up the atmosphere. The home fans did okay and were in good voice during the second half.

Match stats

Shots on target: Ireland 7 (2);

Wales 1 (1)

Shots off target: Ireland 3 (2);

Wales 4 (1)

Headers on target: Ireland 0; Wales 0

Headers off target: Ireland 1 (1);

Wales 1 (0)

Frees: Ireland 12 (7); Wales 15 (5)

Corners: Ireland (1); Wales 4 (0)

Off-sides: Ireland 3 (3); Wales 1 (0)

Yellow cards: Ireland 1 (Gibson 54); Wales 0

Red cards: Ireland 0; Wales 0

Attendance: 20,800

Irish Independent