Sunday 26 January 2020

Duffy injury mars 'grind' past juniors

Ireland XI 2
Ireland Juniors 0

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

AN injury to promising defender Shane Duffy marred the official end of Giovanni Trapattoni's summer training camp, with the Everton man taken to hospital after an accidental clash in the friendly match with the Irish junior side.

Opposition keeper Adrian Walsh caught Duffy in the chest with his knee while collecting a free-kick, leaving the 19-year-old stricken on the turf. He required oxygen while he was treated, with doctors concerned about possible cardiac ramifications given that he took the impact in the sternum.

Duffy -- who was set to train with the squad around next week's friendlies with Algeria and Paraguay, even though he isn't eligible to play as he waits for the paperwork to confirm his switch from Northern Ireland -- was taken to the Mater Hospital.

Later, it emerged that Duffy had suffered abdominal bleeding and was kept in overnight for tests.

"We are sorry for him," said Trapattoni. "We hope it is nothing serious. Over three days together, you can expect to lose someone to an injury."

Otherwise, it was a decent enough workout for the seniors, with Gerry Smith's men retaining parity until the second half when a fortuitous strike from Cillian Sheridan and a Paul McShane header put a comfortable look on the final scoreline.

McShane moved inside to centre-half after the injury to Duffy which meant that Kevin Foley, who was given a chance to shine in the heart of midfield, was moved to a more familiar right-back role when the setback occurred before the interval. Keith Fahey was duly introduced for another midfield outing alongside Paul Green.

It wasn't all harmonious on the Irish side, with McShane and Leon Best engaged in a heated first-half disagreement as the pros struggled to get into a rhythm. Best was duly replaced at the interval, with Anthony Stokes coming in.

Overall, it was hard to draw too much from this encounter, although Green was tidy, while Liam Lawrence showed his quality with the delivery for both goals. Sheridan still lacks a certain conviction, despite getting his name on the scoresheet, while Shane Long was keen to make an impression but ultimately out of position on the left side of midfield.

"Greg Cunningham was very good," said Trapattoni. "Then there were the ones we knew before, like Darren O'Dea and Paul McShane, both of whom impressed. Overall, we worked well as a team."

That said, they could have gone behind in the first half when the defence switched off and David Lacey was given time to collect an innocuous ball forward.

His first-time volley missed the target when there was time to take it down.

Alas, it was a quiet evening otherwise for Joe Murphy and Brian Murphy who kept goals for a half each.

"The first half wasn't the best, but second half we got better as it went on and I'm glad we just won the game," said Lawrence.

"We struggled to do most things in the first half: we didn't get hold of the ball, pass it, hold it up so it was a bit of a grind. Second half we did a lot better and got the two goals.

"It was just one of those things. No disrespect to them -- because I thought they were a good side -- but sometimes you play teams that are not so good, like in cup games back in England, and we've struggled. Like those old FA Cup days when you could play a non-league team and get spanked.

"We had to make sure we win the game whatever happens."

Ireland XI -- J Murphy 6 (B Murphy 45, 6), McShane 6, Duffy 6 (Fahey 40, 6), O'Dea 7, Cunningham 7; Lawrence 7, Green 6, Foley 6, Long 6; Sheridan 5, Best 4 (Stokes 45).

Ireland Juniors -- A Walsh (O'Connell 45), Dillon (Mulleady 66), Carrig, Walsh (Sherlock 58), Hoey (Coady 75); Keogh (Whelahan 58), Loughran (O'Sullivan 45), Dunne (Lee 75), Murphy (Hanrahan 58); Kelly, Lacey (Kennedy 66).

Irish Independent

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