Saturday 3 December 2016

Out classed but out of jail

Coleman plays captain's role but O'Neill faces injury headaches for Moldova

Published 07/10/2016 | 02:30

Seamus Coleman turns the ball home for Ireland during last night’s World Cup qualifier against Georgia. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Seamus Coleman turns the ball home for Ireland during last night’s World Cup qualifier against Georgia. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland's scrappy 1-0 win over Georgia in last night's World Cup qualifier came at a cost as key duo Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick will miss Sunday's qualifier with Moldova.

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Seamus Coleman's first Irish goal was enough to take three points from an Aviva Stadium encounter that was short on inspiration, with Martin O'Neill acknowledging that Georgia were unlucky to come away with nothing.

The manager must plan without Hendrick and Brady for the trip to Chisinau with the former suspended after picking up another booking and the latter suffering concussion after a collision that knocked him cold.

Brady spent last night in hospital and Moldova will come too soon for the Dubliner. Shane Long also limped off in the final minute, yet the outlook is better for the striker.

O'Neill was given another headache with rumours that Harry Arter - who missed this game through injury - was thinking about declaring for England.

The Bournemouth star was not definitively ruled out of Sunday with the Irish manager mystified by reports that circulated online. "That's news to me," he said. "I've no idea. He hasn't played a competitive game for us, so the choice is entirely with the player."

The situation should be cleared up ahead of today's flight to Moldova.

Despite a below-par performance, it ended up being a reasonable night for O'Neill's charges, with rivals Austria and Wales drawing in Vienna. Serbia won 3-0 in Moldova to leave the four likely contenders level on four points each.

Irish Independent

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