Saturday 24 August 2019

Dundalk midfielder Robbie Benson ruled out of Champions League clash with Qarabag

Robbie Benson of Dundalk
Robbie Benson of Dundalk
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk midfielder Robbie Benson is out of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Qarabag.

Benson damaged his rib in the first leg at Oriel Park and has not recovered in time to make the trip to Azerbaijan.

Doctors decided it would be unwise for Benson to make the journey when he would be playing no part in the fixture.

His unavailability means that Sean Murray is likely to start the game after his impressive cameo off the bench in last week's 1-1 draw.

It's a major blow for Benson who had battled his way back from a leg break on the opening day of the season to play a part in the win over Riga in the previous round.

"There was no point bringing him on a seven hour flight," said first team coach John Gill ahead of the journey to Azerbaijan via a refuelling stop in Romania, noting wryly that Benson had sustained the injury in the same part of the pitch where he sustained the leg break.

"We'll probably spread his ashes around that spot when he dies because he's been there so often," said Gill.

"It's unfortunate for him. If it had been a shorter flight, we might have brought him. He's a great lad, he gives the group confidence. He's an assured lad. But there was no point bringing him 5,000km just to watch.

"He'll go and spend time with his family and then come back and join the rest of the group this weekend."

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