CIARAN Clark’s second international goal has Ireland ahead at half-time against Switzerland at Lansdowne Road but the game has been overshadowed by a serious looking injury to Kevin Doyle.
It has since emerged that Doyle suffered a deep gash to his leg and had been brought to hospital where he will be assessed for further damage.
Martin O’Neill handed Shane Duffy his second cap, almost 21 months on from his first, and the gangly centre-back made an instant impression by playing a major part in the opener after just two minutes.
Robbie Brady’s pinpoint corner was hung in the air for Duffy to nod down into the path of fellow centre-back Ciaran Clark who headed home from six yards.
Doyle, in his first outing for Ireland in 18 months, almost doubled the lead on 11 minutes from a flicked volley from another corner which Ricardo Rodriguez booted off the line.
The Swiss, with €40-million rated Granit Xhaka harnessing midfield, enjoyed spells of possession without unduly testing Darren Randolph.
Their best chance came from Haris Seferovic’s header from a corner which looped a yard over.
Then came Doyle’s moment of misfortune midway through the half. He came out worst of a challenge against Norwich City full-back, leaving him hobbling and then static on the pitch.
The reaction of his pal Shane Long told much as the stretcher was called and Doyle's Euro 2016 ambitions must now be in serious doubt.
Eight minutes before the break, Long was close to scoring only for the underside of the crossbar to deny his header following a right-wing cross from Seamus Coleman.