Injury blow for Kevin Doyle
Published 29/03/2016 | 00:00
Kevin Doyle's bid to impress manager Martin O'Neill and cement a place in the squad for the European championships was dealt a severe blow in Friday's friendly against Switzerland in the Aviva Stadium when his involvement concluded after only one-quarter of the game.
The experienced striker sustained a very nasty gash to his leg following a challenge by Norwich defender Timm Klose, and he is ruled out of the clash with Slovakia tonight (Tuesday) as a result.
Doyle realised the extent of the injury as he signalled for assistance from the bench quickly, and it was clear from the reactions of the medical team that his race was unfortunately run.
The 32-year-old was removed from the pitch on a stretcher to sustained bouts of sympathetic applause, with supporters unaware of the nature of the injury but clearly fearing the worst.
Thankfully though, Doyle later confirmed that the injury won't keep him out of the game for long.
He tweeted a photograph of his leg on Friday night as he waited at Dublin's Mater Hospital to have the wound cleaned and stitched.
And Doyle's legion of fans and admirers were suitably re-assured when he tweeted: 'thanks to the plastic surgeons at the Mater Hospital. Leg looks brand new, no serious damage, back jogging in a few weeks'.
It was a shame that Doyle was dogged by misfortune, as he had started the game very brightly.
His eagerness to make the most of this chance was clear as he chased and harried for every ball with typical determination, while he also improvised cleverly and flicked a corner at the near post which wasn't too far away from adding to Ciarán Clark's early decisive goal.
It was Doyle's first start in an international since the 2-0 friendly win over Oman in September of 2014, with the outing increasing his number of caps to 62.
With a strike rate of 14 goals, he has certainly shown he has a lot to offer in the past, although he remains down the pecking order for the Euro squad.
Manager Martin O'Neill was left with the predicament of having just one fit striker - Shane Long - for tonight's game with Slovakia as, apart from Doyle, the list of injuries also features Robbie Keane, Jonathan Walters and Daryl Murphy.
The recent sad passing of top Wexford football official Pat Whitty was remembered before kick-off on Friday, with his photograph featuring on the big screen alongside the late Mark Farren of Derry City and ex-international Amby Fogarty.
A tribute also appeared in the match programme.