Ireland head coach Andy Farrell had spoken of laying down a marker at the Principality Stadium but his game plan was swiftly disrupted by a red card indiscretion from Peter O’Mahony.
Ireland’s task became considerably harder in the 14th minute when Mahony was dismissed for a high challenge on Tomas Francis. The flanker powered in and caught Francis in the head with an elbow, prompting referee Wayne Barnes to consult the television match official before producing a red card.
The back row became the first Irishman sent off in the Six Nations.
Undeterred by losing a man, Ireland responded with a prolonged period of pressure, albeit without being able to find a way through a stubborn Welsh defence.
Farrell said the player was frustrated by his error of judgement but insists his team still have plenty to play for in the tournament, beginning at home to France next week.
“Obviously he’s gutted. Guys don’t do these things on purpose.
“It hampers the team and Pete’s hurting at this moment in time,” Farrell said of O’Mahony.“The players will feel sorry for themselves for a couple of hours then bring the best version of themselves tomorrow.
“Enough of us know about the Six Nations to know it is not won on the first day. We have a very good French side coming over next week and we will back ourselves against anyone in the Aviva.
”Farrell’s side also suffered some injury issues, with James Ryan and fly-half Sexton forced off for head injury assessments, but he insists there is “not too much to be concerned about for next week”.He also backed Ulster man Burns to bounce back from his wayward kick.
“I shook his hand, it is not the reason we lost the game, we’ve all missed touch at some time. The magnitude of it, he’ll learn from it,” said Farrell.
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