Long clears Taylor of intent after sickening Coleman injury

Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long does not think there was intent in the challenge from Neil Taylor that broke Seamus Coleman's leg.

Wales defender Neil Taylor was in tears after the horror tackle that left Seamus Coleman with a double break of his right leg, according to Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long.

The 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Dublin was marred by Ireland captain Coleman receiving oxygen and leaving the field on a stretcher after a wild lung from Taylor, who was sent off for the 69th-minute challenge.

Long cradled his team-mates' head as he received attention on the field and paid tribute to a popular and long-serving member of Martin O'Neil's squad.

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"I was trying to comfort him on the pitch," said the Southampton forward, as quoted by The Sun.

"He's loved by everyone, he's a big player and he will be a big loss."

Aston Villa left-back Taylor was sidelined for eight months by a broken ankle suffered in 2012 while at Swansea City and Long felt this compounded the Welshman's distress.

"He caught him high and I think he was in tears afterwards," Long added.

"I think he has got it done to him before I suppose he went in worried about the challenge.

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"He knows the pain Seamus was in because, as I said, he's been there before.

"It was a horrible challenge and there is no defending it, but I don't think he meant to do it."

Wales lie four points behind second-placed Ireland in Group D, who are behind leaders Serbia on goal difference with none of the top three having tasted defeat at this stage.

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