Meyler faces race to be fit for Austria clash
Martin O'Neill has been dealt an injury blow ahead of June's World Cup qualifier with Austria as David Meyler has emerged as a major doubt due to a medial ligament problem that has prematurely ended his season with Hull.
The Corkman, who featured in the last two qualifiers with Austria and Wales, sustained the setback in training on Thursday and will be absent from the remainder of his club's attempt to beat the drop.
Their campaign ends on May 21, with Ireland welcoming Austria to Dublin three weeks later on June 11. It will be difficult for Meyler to recover for that fixture given the normal prognosis for a serious problem in that part of the knee.
Meyler is a midfielder by trade but the versatile performer's unavailability would also place further pressure on the right-back department, where he has previously deputised for Seamus Coleman.
Cyrus Christie is Coleman's established deputy so O'Neill will be hoping that the Derby man has a clear run until the end of the season. He was left on the bench for his employers' heavy defeat at Brentford yesterday.
Brighton centre-half Shane Duffy also faces a race against time for the summer after Chris Hughton indicated he is unlikely to figure again this term for the Championship leaders.
Duffy broke his metatarsal in March and was originally pencilled in for six weeks on the sidelines but he is still wearing a protective boot and is therefore not expected to feature before their season ends on May 7.
That would still give him a month to recuperate but Brighton are carefully monitoring the progression of an important player and would be reluctant for him to take any risks.