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NO BALE.. JUST LOTS OF WAILS; PS100m target Gareth watches Myhill save the day; WALES 0 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 0.

Byline: DARREN LEWIS

GARETH BALE hogged the headlines, but Boaz Myhill stole the show here to deny the Republic of Ireland last night.

The West Brom goalkeeper pulled off a fine reflex stop to keep out Shane Long as his Hawthorns' club-mate looked certain to score on 70 minutes.

Myhill then produced an even better stop, low to his left, to keep out substitute Paddy Madden.

Chris Coleman's men were overrun at times as the Republic racked up the chances.

But Giovanni Trapattoni's side were wasteful in front of goal as they warmed up for their World Cup qualifying double-header against Sweden and Austria.

The build-up to this friendly may have been dominated by Tottenham's Bale - in the stands wearing a smart suit and a red tie - but the match itself was a chance for his team-mates to take centre-stage.

They struggled early on with the Republic dominating possession and creating the best chances.

But it was 22 minutes before Glenn Whelan's shot was the first from either side on goal.

Myhill watched the daisy-cutter fly wide, but it was the start of a flurry of attempts on his goal.

Robbie Brady nipped in between two defenders, but blasted wide when he could have taken a touch and tested the keeper. And Long blew an even better chance, ballooning over the bar with his left foot from nine yards after James McCarthy's low cross.

The action was punctuated by the curious booing by the home fans of defender Ben Davies.

It soon became clear that he was the focus of their ire because he was a Swansea City player playing at the home of rivals Cardiff.

Surely that should be put to one side when he pulls on a red shirt.

Nine minutes from the break Wales had their first effort on goal, a clumsy effort from Jonathan Williams that would have been more appropriate had it come from the boot of Jonathan Davies.

Then it was the turn of the Republic again with Brady curling a right-footed diagonal effort narrowly wide of the far post.

Craig Bellamy managed a shot on target, a smart free-kick from 25 yards 10 minutes after the break. Back came the Republic with Long heading over the bar from a corner. Wales are not going to the World Cup, while Ireland have a chance.

But they will have to do far better than this in front of goal.

The Republic finished it with as many captains on the night as they had shots on target, with John O'Shea, Long, Jon Walters and Seamus Coleman wearing the armband at some stage.

WALES: Myhill 9, Gunter 7, Ashley Williams 9, Ricketts 6, Ben Davies 6, Ledley 7 (King 60), Allen 6 (Crofts 85), Bellamy 7 (Vokes 60), Collison 6 (Davies 82), Jonathan Williams 6, Robson-Kanu 6 (Taylor 74)

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Westwood 6, Coleman 7, Clark 7, O'Shea 8 (O'Dea 60), Wilson 7, Walters 7 (Sammon 84), McCarthy 7, Whelan 7 (Green 60, 6), Brady 8, Hoolahan 7 (Madden 69), Long 7 (Keogh 73, 5) REFEREE: P Kralovec ATT: 20,000

WALES v REP OF IRELAND MATCH STATS 57 BALL POSSESSION % 43 1 SHOTS ON TARGET 3 4 SHOTS OFF TARGET 8 7 CORNERS 31 OFFSIDE 24 FOULS 19 10 CARDS 1 0MAN OF THE MATCH BO MYHILL Goalkeeper pulled off two terrific, decisive saves

CAPTION(S):

NO ASH 'N'GRAB RAIDAshley Williams is stunned at his miss, and (right) Bellamy battles s

WARMING THE BENCH ?Real Madrid target Gareth Bale
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Aug 15, 2013
Words:584
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