28 March, 2011

In Duff we trust as injuries mount ahead of key end of season Skopje tie:

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BIG LOSS: Doyle (on ground) is a key player for club & country
The fall-out from Saturday night's (overly) physical encounter with FYR Macedonia as the Republic of Ireland medical staff count the walking wounded. Damien Duff, Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Kevin Kilbane and, most seriously, Kevin Doyle have been returned to their clubs. Doyle's manager; former Ireland manager and captain: Mick McCarthy has stated that Doyle could miss the next four to eight weeks with a Medial Cruciate Knee Ligament injury. There had been fears that Doyle would miss the rest of the season after falling heavily on Saturday night. Wolves' medical staff are, however hopeful that Doyler will return to help the club stay in the English Premier League. The Wexford man is the ultimate competitor however and I expect him to return to top flight action inside the scheduled four week lay-off.
Glen Whelan has also been sent home hurt, despite training with the Ireland squad in Malahide today.
IN DUFF WE TRUST: The number 11 is Ireland's key man
"I pray to God to look after Damien Duff. I believe we have a great squad now, a squad which has matured, and that is why I am confident,"
 - Giovanni Trapatoni

Meanwhile, Fulham full-back Stephen Kelly will captain the Irish side for the friendly clash with 2010 World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay at the AVIVA Stadium tomorrow night. The Irish side will be sorely lack in experience with many seasoned Irish campaigners miss from the side. I expect the Albiceleste to win comfortably. They are using the game with Ireland as preparation and will start tomorrow night's match with eight of the side that played in last summer's World Cup semi.
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