Doyle's pain game
Ireland striker taken to hospital after injury mars Ireland's victory
Published 26/03/2016 | 02:30
Kevin Doyle faces an anxious wait before finding out the cost of a painful injury that cast a shadow over Ireland's Aviva Stadium defeat of Switzerland.
The 32-year-old was taken to hospital after sustaining a deep gash on his leg which required surgery although the striker tweeted that it "could have been worse".
With Euro 2016 in mind, the frustration for the Wexford man is that it cut short his chance to make an impression on Martin O'Neill who said beforehand that the attacker was one of the players he was interested in seeing during this window with a view to making his French decisions.
He sympathised with the Colorado Rapids striker afterwards, praising his early efforts in a game that was decided by a second-minute header from Ciaran Clark.
"I thought he'd started well, he was trying to hold the ball up for us - something he was doing regularly a couple of seasons ago when he was strong at Reading and at times at Wolves too," said O'Neill. "It looked as if he was getting back into the swing of things. That was disappointing for him so we'll see how things go.
"Nothing is broken. It was a very deep cut and he's going under anaesthetic to get it stitched up so hopefully everything will be alright."
His replacement Daryl Murphy was also taken off in the latter stages with a calf problem that places his participation in Tuesday's game with Slovakia in doubt. In the striking department, O'Neill will be able to call on Stoke's Jonathan Walters but Robbie Keane has failed to recover from a knee injury sustained playing for the LA Galaxy last weekend.
He acknowledged that Ireland's display last night was not as cohesive as he would have liked but was satisfied by the contribution of his centre-halves Clark and Shane Duffy as the hosts held out for the win.
Duffy earned just his second cap after impressing for Blackburn, while Clark showed that a disappointing campaign at Aston Villa has not drained his confidence.
"It was nice to see Duffy do very well and take it in his stride. To go from Championship football to international level against a side that's qualified for the Euros is a step up and that will give him a boost," said O'Neill. "I think playing regularly with Blackburn has given him a bit of extra confidence. Ciaran is someone I know from back in my days at Aston Villa and he did very well."
O'Neill gave first caps to Alan Judge and subs Jonathan Hayes and Eunan O'Kane. Judge was hoping to make a big impression but he found it hard to impose as a winger in a 4-4-2 system - a contrast from his regular role at Brentford in a 4-2-3-1 where he often operates through the centre.
"Alan might feel it was a bit of a frustrating night for him," said O'Neill. "I was hoping we could get the ball to him in dangerous areas. He worked exceptionally hard. Getting him on his strong points would have been great but it wasn't to be."