O’Donnell and Trimble injuries overshadow Ireland’s easy win over Wales

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By Simon Lewis

Wales 21 Ireland 35

Ireland opened their World Cup warm-up campaign in style with a comprehensive defeat of Wales in Cardiff today but the five-try victory came at a cost as both Tommy O’Donnell and Andrew Trimble sustained injuries.

Trimble, the 2014 RBS 6 Nations player of the championship, was making his first Ireland appearing in 14 months after a season ruined by a serious toe injury and had made a bright opening in a buccaneering Irish start only to pull up before half-time with his side leading 25-0.

There was no immediate indication of the type of injury the Ulsterman had suffered but he was able to walk from the field.

O’Donnell’s issue appears more serious, the Munster flanker stretchered from the field in the dying minutes, clearly in some pain.

O’Donnell had slipped and fallen awkwardly after a tackle from Alex Cuthbert and had needed an oxygen mask before being transferred onto the stretcher.

It took a lot of gloss off an otherwise entertaining encounter under the Millennium Stadium roof and in front of a sell-out 74,500 crowd.

Joe Schmidt’s side made all the running and scored three tries inside the first half-hour, through captain Jamie Heaslip, Darren Cave and man of the match Keith Earls with fly-half Paddy Jackson converting two of them and kicking two penalties.

Trimble’s injury on 34 minutes coincided with a Welsh fightback before the interval with Richard Hibbard exploiting a sleeping defence from a well-worked set-piece at the front of a five-metre lineout and Eli Walker nearly made it two tries before half-time only for his diving score to be ruled out by the TMO for failing to ground the ball.

Ireland were 25-7 ahead at the break and regained the initiative with two quick tries from Munster duo Simon Zebo, who had replaced Trimble, and full-back Felix Jones, leaving the visitors 35-7 up after 54 minutes.

The clearing of both benches made the for a disjointed affair and Wales brought some respectability to the scoreboard with tries from Justin Tipuric and Cuthbert either side of O’Donnell’s worrying injury.

WALES: H Amos; A Cuthbert, T Morgan, S Williams – captain (M Morgan, 56), E Walker; J Hook (G Anscombe, 49), M Phillips (L Williams, 49), N Smith (R Evans, 51), R Hibbard (K Dacey, 51), A Jarvis (S Andrews, 58); J Ball (J King, 58), D Day; R Moriarty, J Tipuric, D Baker (T Faletau, h-t).

Yellow card: R Moriarty 45-55

IRELAND: F Jones; A Trimble (S Zebo, 34), K Earls (I Madigan, 69), D Cave, F McFadden; P Jackson, E Reddan (K Marmion, 69); J McGrath (D Kilcoyne, 52), R Strauss (R Best, 20-26 and 62), M Ross (M Bent, 58); I Henderson (D Tuohy, 49), D Ryan; J Murphy, T O’Donnell, J Heaslip – captain (C Henry, 55).

Yellow card: C Henry 61-71

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand

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