IT STILL doesn’t make up for last year’s World Cup agony, but Wales firmly established their superiority over the Republic of Ireland with another Nations League victory at the Aviva Stadium.

After last month’s 4-1 demolition of Martin O’Neill’s men in Cardiff, Ryan Giggs’ team of talented youngsters moved to the top of Group B4 thanks to a spectacular free-kick winner from Harry Wilson.

It was a first Welsh win on Irish soil since 1992 – before most of the team were even born – on a night when the visitors proved they can succeed without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

Giggs made a bold team selection with teenagers Matt Smith and Tyler Roberts handed their first starts in favour of experienced duo Andy King and Sam Vokes.

Smith, aged 18, and 19-year-old Roberts lined up alongside 21-year-olds Wilson and David Brooks and Tom Lawrence – a relative veteran at 24.

The likes of Wayne Hennessey, Ashley Williams, James Chester and Joe Allen meant the average age of the starting XI was just under 25 but it was still something of a gamble for Giggs in the absence of his star men.

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In the end it paid off but, despite some clever movement and passing from Brooks (above) and Connor Roberts down the right flank, there was little end product from the youngsters in the first half.

They didn’t muster a shot on target until the 35th minute when Connor Roberts crossed for Tyler Roberts to flick goalwards, but his effort was comfortably saved by Darren Randolph.

It was the hosts who created the better opportunities, but they were few and far between in a first half with plenty of hefty challenges and few moments of genuine quality.

There was a big let-off for Wales in the ninth minute when they got themselves in trouble by trying to play out from the back.

Hennessey played the ball short to Chester and the defender’s square ball to Smith was stolen by Cyrus Christie.

The Fulham defender, playing in midfield for the Irish, did well to nip in and rob Smith but his shot lacked conviction and Hennessey got down well to his left to keep it out.

Shane Duffy headed straight at Hennessey later in the half but, for the most part, the action centred on the physical approach from the hosts.

James McClean got away with taking out Brooks before Kevin Long was booked for another foul on the tricky AFC Bournemouth winger.

Wales’ Ben Davies also picked up a yellow card for a lunge on Harry Arter, which means he’ll miss next month’s home clash with Denmark.

McClean finally got the caution he deserved three minutes after the restart as he stopped a Wales counter-attack by chopping down Wilson.

And another foul on the edge of the box, by Harry Arter on Connor Roberts, set the stage for Wilson just before the hour mark.

The Liverpool forward, who scored with a superb set-piece for loan club Derby County at Old Trafford last month, repeated the trick in front of the travelling fans as his stunning strike left Randolph helpless.

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That gave the match the jumpstart it desperately needed and the final half-hour was much livelier.

Lawrence saw a shot deflected just wide moments after the goal before Ireland poured forward, roared on by the passionate home support.

Jeff Hendrick skipped past two defenders before blasting a shot straight at Hennessey but, as the hosts went in search of an equaliser there were holes at the other end.

Lawrence twice went close after quick breakaways and Chester also had Randolph worried with a bullet header that was just off target before Tyler Roberts turned two defenders only to fire high and wide.

There were a few nervy moments in the dying minutes but 21-year-old sub George Thomas could have added a second before the end.

And Giggs’ youngsters held on for a deserved win that condemned the hosts to Nations League relegation and set up a winner-takes-all clash with Denmark at the Cardiff City Stadium next month.

Wales: Hennessey; C Roberts, Chester, Williams, B Davies; Smith (Thomas, 75), Allen; Brooks (King, 87), Wilson (Gunter, 85), Lawrence; T Roberts

Subs not used: Ward, A Davies, Richards, Vokes, Woodburn, John, Rodon, Edwards, Freeman

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)

Argus star man: Wilson