Weisner's drop goals crown inspirational display for Ireland

Wales 12 - Ireland 25
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The Independent Online

Ireland's impressive display at the Talbot Athletic Ground marks them as clear favourites to qualify for the European Nations Cup final at Warrington after they withheld a spirited Welsh fightback in the second half to take the spoils from an entertaining encounter yesterday.

Ireland's impressive display at the Talbot Athletic Ground marks them as clear favourites to qualify for the European Nations Cup final at Warrington after they withheld a spirited Welsh fightback in the second half to take the spoils from an entertaining encounter yesterday.

The hooker Phil Cantillon showed trademark support play first to finish a Karl Fitzpatrick break and open the scoring, then to send Anthony Stewart over.

The winger Carl De Chenu touched down a Fitzpatrick kick to the corner and Stuart Littler reacted first to a Pat Weisner chip as Ireland opened up an 18-0 lead at the break. Littler then powered over early in the second half.

But Wales mounted a comeback throughMark Lennon, who cut the arrears to 10 points with a close-range try three minutes after Jordan James had forced his way over by the posts.

But Weisner justified his man-of-the-match award by potting three drop goals in five minutes.

"Considering the short preparation time we had I was very pleased," said the Ireland coach, Daryl Powell. "The four Irish lads from their national competition all contributed, which was especially pleasing and Weisner was highly influential."

Wales' Stuart Wilkinson said: "We have broadened our player base and played with lots of enthusiasm and no little skill. We have something to build on."

WALES: Gibson (Castleford Tigers); O'Hare (Huddersfield Giants), Tassell (unattached), Hughes (Widnes Vikings), Powell (Salford City Reds); Lennon (Manly Sea Eagles), Watson (Oldham); Hudd (Torfaen Tigers), Clark (Barrow Raiders), Dean (Workington Town), J James (Sheffield Eagles), Thomas (London Broncos), Pugh (Barrow Raiders). Substitutes used: Ellis (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Strong (Bridgend Blue Bulls), A James (Sheffield Eagles).

IRELAND: Stewart (Salford City Reds); De Chenu (Sheffield Eagles), Littler (Salford City Reds), Maye (Swinton Lions), Dowling (Kilkenny Wildcats); Fitzpatrick (Salford City Reds), Weisner (Halifax); Southern (Rochdale Hornets), Cantillon (Halifax), Bates (Halifax), McConnell (Barrow Raiders), Cassidy (Wigan Warriors), Gallagher (Leeds Rhinos). Substitutes used: Darley (Featherstone), Foy (Kerry Kings), Purdie (Clontarf Bulls), Manuel (Kilkenny Wildcats).

Referee: I Smith (England).

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