Martin O’Neill has said Seamus Coleman will “fight back” after breaking his leg in a horror incident that the Irish manager said put a drab 0-0 World Cup qualifier with Wales in Dublin “into perspective”.
On 68 minutes, the Everton full-back was subject to an irresponsible high challenge from Neil Taylor, that appeared to snap his right leg and left him having to be carried off with oxygen and taken to hospital.
Taylor immediately received a red card and O’Neill said it was a “real blow” for a player who had been enjoying the “season of a lifetime”.
“Seamus has gone to hospital,” the Irish boss said. “I think he’s been confirmed by our doctor he has broken his leg. It’s a real blow to him, having the season of a lifetime at club level, and a real leader for us. It’s a big loss, a big loss. A big loss to Everton, and a big loss to us.
“But he’ll fight back, I hope. It puts things into perspective.”
O’Neill didn’t see that, or a bad challenge from Gareth Bale on John O’Shea just a minute before that could also have seen red, and left stud-marks on the centre-half’s shin. As such, the Irish manager refused to condemn either tackle, but accepted “it could well be” the case Wales lost their heads.
“The lads tell me it could have been a red. I’ve not seen it. I’ve not even seen Seamus’s tackle. Even TV stopped showing replays. That’s not good news.
“I’d like to be in a position to have seen the challenge [before commenting]. The players said it wasn’t great. The TV people said it wasn’t great.”
Directly asked whether Wales lost their heads, O’Neill said: “It could well be… personally, I really don’t know. I’m sorry to say, I haven’t seen… I’ve seen John’s injury and he has stud marks on his ankle. I haven’t seen the replay. If you’re telling me they’re bad, I have to agree with you.”