Irish captain Seamus Coleman suffered a serious leg injury in the 69th minute of the Ireland’s scoreless draw with Wales in the World Cup Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night.
The Killybegs man was stretchered off after a reckless challenge from Wales Neil Taylor, which earned him a straight red card.
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill says it is a massive blow…
Derry’s James McClean was named man of the match and wore number five in memory of late Derry City captain Ryan McBride.
He spoke about the injury to the former Sligo Rovers defender…
Ireland had the best chances of the game with McClean’s goal-bound effort deflected wide and Shane Long’s late header blocked in the six-yard area as Ireland ended the night second in Group D, behind Serbia.
Martin O’Neill was dealt a blow before the game had started when James McCarthy, who was named in the starting XI, pulled up in the warm-up meaning Hull City midfielder David Meyler came into the side to replace him.
It was a tentative start from both sides in a cauldron of an atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium. It took 25 minutes for the first chance to arrive as an Aaron Ramsey corner to the back-post found James Chester, who leaped highest, but he directed his header wide under pressure from John O’Shea.
O’Shea almost had the desired impact at the other end as with Ireland’s first corner of the game McClean’s low-swinging cross found O’Shea who flicked on for Shane Long but he failed to make contact with the ball under pressure in the 34th minute.
The second-half started in the same vein with Ireland happy to let the away side have the ball. In the 63rd minute, Gareth Bale found a low cross from the right towards substitute Sam Vokes but his shot was well blocked.
Five minutes later, Wales were reduced to ten men due to a reckless challenge by Neil Taylor on Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman. The Welsh defender was high and out of control as he slid on Coleman to be shown a red card and the Irish skipper was stretchered off immediately.
Martin O’Neill’s side rallied immediately as they looked to take advantage of the sending off. McClean almost put the Irish ahead as David Meyler’s cushioned header found the West Bromwich Albion man but his shot was deflected wide by Chris Gunter in the 73rd minute.
Martin O’Neill added attacking impetus to his side with the introduction of Aiden McGeady, who has been in fine form for Preston North End with 11 minutes remaining as Ireland poured forward in search of the winner.
It almost proved their undoing as Real Madrid star Bale won the ball on the half-way line and drove towards the Irish defence, turned inside and unleashed a fierce effort which skimmed the top of the cross-bar with six minutes remaining.
In the final minutes of the game, Ireland almost grabbed a winner as McGeady clipped the ball to the back-post to find Shane Long but his header was blocked in the six-yard area as the game ended with the points shared.
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (GK), Coleman (C) (Christie 72), Keogh, O’Shea, McClean, Whelan, Meyler (McGeady 79), Hendrick, Walters, Long.
Subs: Westwood (GK), C. Doyle (GK), K. Doyle, Horgan, Christie, Egan, Hourihane, Hayes, O’Dowda, Pearce.
Wales: Hennessey (GK), Gunter, Taylor, Davies, Chester, Williams (C), Allen, Robson-Kanu (Vokes 46), Ramsey, Bale, Ledley (Richards 72).
Subs: Fon Williams (GK), King, MacDonald, Edwards, Wilson, Collins, Walsh, Ward, Bradshaw, Woodburn.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Yellow card: David Meylor, Gareth Bale, Aidan McGeady.
Red Card: Neil Taylor