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Debut boys must learn harsh lesson: Steven Davis

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Steven Davis of Northern Ireland lines up for the National Anthems prior to the Carling Nations Cup match between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at Aviva Stadium on May 24, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Steven Davis of Northern Ireland lines up for the National Anthems prior to the Carling Nations Cup match between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at Aviva Stadium on May 24, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Mike Hewitt

Steven Davis of Northern Ireland lines up for the National Anthems prior to the Carling Nations Cup match between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at Aviva Stadium on May 24, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Steven Davis has admitted inexperience cost Northern Ireland dearly in Dublin — but hopes that harsh lessons will be heeded ahead of the final Carling Nations Cup clash against Wales on Friday.

Nigel Worthington’s men were cruelly crushed 5-0 by the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium with Northern Ireland forced to field an experimental line-up due to a host of injuries and call-offs.

And not even the experience and guidance of Davis — who is ruled out of tomorrow’s clash — could stop the flowing tide as Giovanni Trappatoni’s sharper, hungrier team dished out a few home truths as Northern Ireland wilted.

With eight goals conceded in two games against both Scotland and the Republic — and no goals scored — Davis admits a vast improvement is essential against Wales in order to avoid an abject end of season humiliation.

“It’s important that we pick ourselves up after the defeat as we need to help the young players in the team,” said Davis, who was jeered by Republic fans because of his club loyalties with Rangers.

“Some of them were winning their first caps and it was a harsh lesson, but we can only look forward now.

“It’s a very difficult time of the season for us.

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“A lot of players have had a long, hard season and it’s awkward to come into the tournament and play to your usual standard.

“We always knew it was going to be tough coming into the game against the Republic without players like Kyle Lafferty and others who bring that extra bit of experience and know-how in these situations.”


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