Predictions Ahead of Ireland v Wales

Our writers are joined by Welsh fans in giving their predictions ahead of the big clash

Credit: Jon Candy

Ahead of Ireland v Wales this Friday, our writers give their predictions on how the game will turn out. They are also joined by a series of Welsh fans, writers and media personalities.

Bryn Law, Sky Sports Presenter & Wrexham AFC co-owner

Ireland 1–1 Wales

“Okay … I hate trying to predict Wales’ results, unless it’s San Marino or Gibraltar, it doesn’t feel right to suggest we might actually win. Expect the worst, hope for the best, and try and have a good day out anyway! Ireland have started the group really well, we haven’t but we can get better and need to win. They have key players out injured or suspended…. 1–1.”

Scott Salter, Editor-in-Chief of In Bed With Maradona & Co-Founder of Y Ddraig

Ireland 1–2 Wales

“We are just about finding our feet in the qualifying group stages and I think we’ll have enough about us to edge past Martin O’Neill’s side. They’ve got a makeshift back four and I think that Gareth Bale & co will have too much for them to contain.”

Craig Muncey, Co-Founder of Y Ddraig

Ireland 0–2 Wales

“Wales are fully aware they need a victory in this one after a slow start to the campaign. Ireland have a number of players missing. I expect the home side to put in a spirited performance but the extra class that Wales possess in their side with the likes of Allen, Ramsey and Bale being too much and Wales picking up 3 vital points.”

Dan Tyte, Author & MD WorkingWord PR

“A Wales win. Revenge for Stephen Ireland flicking the Vs to us on Hill 16. The Irish are trying every trick in the book but they won’t be able to cope with our better players, our better team, our stronger belief. As long as Coleman prepares the players mentally, there’s no question about the result.”

Huw Davies, Freelance Writer & ex-managing editor of FourFourTwo

Ireland 1– 0 Wales

“Sadly I think the game has Ireland 1–0 Wales (Long, ’87) written all over it. They’ve no need to attack as they’ve no need to win — and Martin O’Neill isn’t exactly known for being expansive with this side anyway — whereas Wales cannot accept a draw if they’ve still got their sights on first place in the group. I foresee a drab game with Wales carving out the majority of the half-chances, but the Irish grabbing a lethal late winner with a direct counter-attack. Boo!”

Scott Johnson, author of Cardiff City: Rebranded

Ireland 1–2 Wales

“If Wales have the holy trinity to call upon (Bale, Ramsey and Allen), I fancy them to give anyone a game. It will be a tough match between two evenly matched sides, but when you also factor in a length Irish injury list, I think Wales may just edge it.”

Jim Weeks, Editor of Vice Sports UK

Ireland 0–2 Wales

“Negativity is bad for your mental health so I’m taking a positive approach to this game. If it goes wrong I’ll deal with it on Saturday morning, but for now let’s believe that Friday will be our night.”

Mark Pitman, Welsh football reporter for UEFA

Ireland 1–2 Wales

“Injuries have affected Ireland this week, and while it will be a close and competitive encounter, Wales have the world class quality to edge it late on.”

Josh Slack, writer for Y Ddraig

Ireland 1–2 Wales

“Think we have the doing of them with Bale and Ramsey back, especially with Ramsey back he was key for us in the Euros. Also the news of Shane Duffy, Cieran Clark and Harry Arter all out for Ireland, we have a fantastic chance of outdoing the group leaders.”

Leon Barton, writer & podcaster for Podcast Pêl-Droed

Ireland 0–2 Wales

“It’s crunch time for us. We need the win more than them and we’ve got better players.”

Eat, Sleep, Footy, Repeat

Ireland 0–2 Wales

“Bale to score in the first half, then Hal Robson-Kanu to come off the bench and double the lead. Getting the first goal will be vital. With ROI missing Brady, Hoolahan etc we don’t think they’ll have the fire power to breakdown Williams, Davies and Chester.”

Ben Leggatt, writer for Y Ddraig

Ireland 1–2 Wales

“I feel that the way Ireland have behaved (banning Barry Horns band taking in their instruments and giving Wales a poor allocation) shows that they’re pulling out all the stops to make it as uncomfortable as possible for us. And I reckon it’ll work for the first half. But I feel we should have too much quality for them in the end and will win with a memorable comeback!”

Joe Ledley’s Beard

Rep. Of Ireland 0–3 Wales

“It’ll be a cagey match, but if we manage to score first we should have too much strength for their injury-ridden squad.”

Russell Todd, founder of Podcast Pêl-Droed

Ireland 0–2 Wales

“ Ireland don’t need to win and prefer playing through James McLean and Shane Long on the break so will be content to sit tight and soak up pressure. Score early and entice them out and we can pick them off again.”

Stevie Green, writer & editor for In Bed With Maradona

Ireland 1–2 Wales

“ I don’t think it’ll be pretty or easy, and I think we’ll have to come from behind to get anything but we’ve got a stronger squad. All our key players are fully fit and there will be enough holes in a Martin O’Neill side for them to capitalise on.”

Dan Lewis, writer for Y Ddraig

Ireland 1–1 Wales

“An away draw in qualifying against one of your direct rivals would usually be a good result, but a stuttered first half to the qualifying campaign essentially sees this one fall into the ‘must-win’ category. Man-for-man Wales have the better players and will always cause damage with a fully-fit Gareth Bale (among others) in the side, and an early goal to settle the nerves could prove key. Ireland are in very good form following three competitive wins on the bounce, though, so it could be a frustrating stalemate in Dublin.”

Ben Catton, writer for Y Ddraig

Ireland 0–1 Wales

“With Ireland’s current injury crisis, Martin O’Neill will have to field a much weaker side with up to seven men unavailable. Ciaran Clark defensively is a big miss while injured Wes Hoolahan means a somewhat lack of creative nous for the Irish, a big boost for Wales. In form striker Tom Lawrence is the only player Chris Coleman does not have to choose from, with the Dragons looking in much better shape in the run-up to this giant game. We’ll sneak it with a late Ramsey goal.”

Rhys Lowry, graphic designer

Ireland 0–1 Wales

“I think it’s going to be a really tough game for Wales. We haven’t had the best of starts and Ireland are flying. They will make it really difficult for us. But we need to step up our game and this is the best time to do it. It’s a must win game and with a full strength squad I can see us nicking it.”

Louis Sanderson, writer for Y Ddraig

Ireland 0–1 Wales

“You can’t beat around the bush, Wales were poor in the last two home games. To see European semi-finalists be outplayed towards the end of the game by a Georgian side ranked 137th in the world was a shock to the system, after a battling performance away to Austria. Some people have blamed this on the lack of Joe Allen and Arron Ramsey, but surely Wales are capable of replacing these two for one game? The next game against Serbia was also poor, as tired legs in defence gave away what would have been a vital win to keep pressure on the top of Group D, leaving Wales 4 points behind the group leaders Ireland. Surely now, Wales must win in Dublin to keep dreams of World Cup qualification realistic.

A key factor in the Welsh performance in this game will be the player’s mentality. Chris Coleman must keep the players sights firmly focused on Russia, and leave memories of France in the past. With a hopefully fully fit squad, Bale, Ramsey and Allen will be trusted to provide chances against an Irish side getting on in football years. However, this won’t be an easy game for the attacking players. Ireland of course top the group, and on merit. Starting with a 2–2 draw against Serbia, Ireland have won 3 on the bounce against Moldova, and, unlike Wales, Georgia and Austria. Thankfully for Wales, Ireland’s attack will be hindered by the lack of Robbie Brady, who is suspended after picking up too many yellow cards, giving Welsh defenders some relief. Behind Ireland’s ageing midfield is a talented defence that has picked up 2 clean sheets already in qualifying and conceded only 3 overall; clearly this is not a side which will roll over to let the Welsh football party be revived.

I predict this will be a tough game for Wales, but I see them gaining a narrow win in Dublin.”

What are your score predictions? Let us know in the comments below.

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