The Republic of Ireland drew first blood in the inaugural Carling Nations Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over woeful Wales at the Aviva Stadium.
It was meant to be the beginning of a new era for Gary Speed but his first game in charge ended in almost typical Welsh disappointment. After a nondescript opening half, Darron Gibson opened the scoring in the 60th minute with his first international goal before Damien Duff doubled the home side's lead six minutes later.
As the Irish took a firmer grip, substitute Keith Fahey drove a 25-yard free-kick past Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to compound Speed's misery, although long before that he would have known the task which confronts him.
Duff came close early on with a curling effort from the left which almost deceived Hennessey and appeared to clip the woodwork before going wide, but a decent start soon subsided and there was little in the way of Celtic passion.
Wales grew in confidence as they slowly felt their way into the game, but there was still no clear-cut chance at either end. Seconds before the interval Wales striker Simon Church linked up well with Robert Earnshaw and his left-footed drive from outside the box had Shay Given happy to gather at the second attempt.
The second half was only four minutes old when Jonathan Walters fired in a drive from the edge of the box but again Hennessey was perfectly placed to gather. Moments later half-time substitute Shane Long had the chance to make a quick impact when he was set up by Duff 16 yards out, but blazed the ball over the bar.
The deadlock was eventually broken on the hour mark and in some style when Gibson picked up a pass from Glenn Whelan before rifling an unstoppable shot from 20 yards high past Hennessey, who this time had no chance.
Duff made it 2-0 in the 66th minute after Chris Gunter had carelessly been robbed by Walters on the byline. The cutback was missed by Long and landed at the feet of former Chelsea and Newcastle player Duff and he buried it from 10 yards out.
The game appeared over as a contest but it became increasingly disjointed as both sides rang the changes. In the 82nd minute, after Walters had been fouled 25 yards from goal, Fahey - on earlier for Seamus Coleman - drove the free-kick past the helpless Hennessey to confirm a good night's work.
However, on this evidence Speed has his work cut out to get this Wales side knocked into shape.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms