Five famous wins to inspire against Ireland
8 October 2017

Five famous wins to inspire against Ireland

Wales return to the Cardiff City Stadium on Monday (9 October) night for one of the most-anticipated qualifying games for years against the Republic of Ireland. 

Just a point separates the two teams in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group D, and while Chris Coleman's side currently have the advantage, the match will decide who takes second place. 

Despite the close proximity of the two nations, this is only the 15th fixture between the two sides, and the bragging rights are finely-balanced with both sides currently sitting on five victories each and four draws.

Manager Chris Coleman has told us throughout the campaign to dare to dream, but if any more inspiration and motivation to believe is needed, here's a look back at those five Welsh wins over Ireland that started back in 1960. 

Republic of Ireland 2-3 Wales

28 September 1960 - Dalymount Park, Dublin – International Friendly – Attendance : 20,000

The first meeting between the two nations proved to be a memorable one as Jimmy Murphy's Wales claimed victory with a goal from Phil Woosnam proving decisive.

Cliff Jones put Wales ahead on 26 minutes but Ireland responded immediately through Fionan Fagan and the scores remained level until half-time.

Jones then added his second of the game early in the second half, and Woosnam's 65th minute effort gave Wales a valuable cushion. However, Fagan brought his side back into the match from the penalty spot after 72 minutes to make for a nervy ending, but Murphy's side held on for the win.

Woosnam was playing for West Ham United at the time, and made 17 appearances for Wales between 1959 and 1963.

However, while he was a popular figure at Upton Park and later at Aston Villa, he made his name after his playing career had ended in the United States. Woosnam would become head coach of the national team in 1968, but later played a key role in the development of the NASL. As the commissioner of the league during its heyday, Woosnam oversaw the arrivals of Franz Beckenbauer, George Best, Johann Cruyff, Pele and other star names.

Meanwhile, Cliff Jones would go on to complete a memorable domestic double with Tottenham Hotspur that season, and would become a legend for club and country for his achievements over the best part of the next decade. Jones also played in all five of Wales' games at the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals.

Wales 2-1 Republic of Ireland

11 September 1979 –  Vetch Field, Swansea – International Friendly – Attendance : 6,825

Defender Joey Jones made sure that Wales would get off to the worst possible start as the two sides met on Welsh soil for the first time as his own goal handed Johnny Giles' side the lead after 22 minutes.

However, an equalising goal from Ian Walsh less than two minutes later quickly made up for the error, and it was fitting that Swansea City legend Alan Curtis would score the winner for Mike Smith's side at the Vetch Field as Wales made it two wins from two games against the Irish.

Alan Curtis has played for Swansea City for almost a decade until departing for Leeds United in the summer before returning to the Vetch Field for this international fixture.

However, he would be back at the club the following year for the second of three separate spells at the club during his playing career. Meanwhile, Ian Walsh was making a goalscoring debut in the match, and Joey Jones had recently returned to home town club Wrexham after a period of domestic and European success with Liverpool. 

Republic of Ireland 1-3 Wales

24 February 1981 – Tolka Park, Dublin – International Friendly – Attendance : 15,000

Manager Mike England boasted the likes of Joey Jones, Brian Flynn, Leighton James and Peter Nicholas in his Wales side for this latest encounter against the Irish, but it was captain Tony Grealish who would put the home side ahead of 25 minutes.

Wales responded through Paul Price and Terry Boyle to put the side ahead before the break, and the victory was confirmed when Terry Yorath completed the scoring in the final minute of the match. This was only the third time that the two sides had met and the win maintained Wales' perfect record against the hosts.

Terry Yorath would later take charge of Wales and famously came close to qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

In addition, Brian Flynn would have a brief spell in charge of the side as caretaker following the resignation of John Toshack in 2010, a natural prgression from his revered period of managing the intermediate sides during an era that resulted in the emergence of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Chris Gunter, Joe Ledley and other members of the current senior squad.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Wales

26 March 1986 – Lansdowne Road, Dublin – International Friendly – Attendance : 16,500

Ian Rush's solitary strike on 17 minutes proved to be decisive for Wales as manager Mike England enjoyed another victory over Ireland on their own soil.

Jack Charlton, a World Cup winner with England in 1966, was taking charge of a talented Republic of Ireland side for the very first time since his appointment and included the likes of David O'Leary, Paul McGrath, Ronnie Whelan, John Aldridge, Ray Houghton and captain Liam Brady in his starting line-up.

However, with the likes of goalkeeper Neville Southall and Ian Rush in their prime, Wales made it four wins out of four against their opponents.

The goal was one of 28 in the colours of Wales for Ian Rush, and while he remains the leading all-time goalscorer, Gareth Bale is already on 26 goals for Wales and could beat his record in the current qualifying campaign.

Meanwhile, Neville Southall remains the most-capped men's player for Wales with 92 caps, but suffered a broken ankle during this particular match in Dublin. Both Chris Gunter (77) and Joe Ledley (71) could eclipse his record before their international playing careers come to an end.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Wales

19 February 1992 – Royal Society Showground, Dublin – International Friendly – Attendance : 15,100

After two defeats to the Republic of Ireland to dent their perfect record, Wales returned to winning ways under the guidance of manager Terry Yorath, and through an unlikely goalscorer in midfielder Mark Pembridge.

In an international career that saw him earn 54 caps between 1991 and 2004, Pembridge managed just six goals for Wales.

Future Wales managers Mark Hughes and the late Gary Speed were both included in the starting line-up, alongside current assistant Kit Symons.

Meanwhile, current Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane lined-up in midfield for the Irish at 20-years of age, having become a part of the senior squad the year before. 

Wales have subsequently played seven further games against the Republic of Ireland, but have failed to register a single victory, and it is a run of results that Chris Coleman will be desperate for his side to change on Monday night.

Coleman's only game against the Republic of Ireland as a player was in 1993 when he replaced Eric Young as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 defeat in Dublin.

However, he managed Wales to a 0-0 draw against an Ireland side managed by Italian legend Giovanni Trapattoni at the Cardiff City Stadium in 2013, and this was repeated in March when the two sides played out a goalless stalemate in Dublin.