John O’Shea thankful he could walk away from Gareth Bale tackle

Ireland defender received deep stitches after challenge during goalless qualifier draw

 Gareth Bale’s challenge on John O’Shea earned the Welsh star a yellow card. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gareth Bale’s challenge on John O’Shea earned the Welsh star a yellow card. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Republic of Ireland centre back John O’Shea believes he was fortunate not to suffer the same fate as Séamus Coleman after finding himself on the wrong end of a Gareth Bale challenge.

Seconds before Republic of Ireland skipper Coleman was left with a double leg fracture during Friday night’s 0-0 World Cup qualifier draw with Wales, the Sunderland defender was caught high and late by Real Madrid star Bale.

Bale was booked and O’Shea was able to play on, but later had several stitches put into a wound on his shin and left the Aviva Stadium counting himself lucky.

Asked if the former Tottenham man’s challenge had been late, the 35-year-old, who will now miss Tuesday night’s friendly against Iceland, said: “Maybe, but thankfully I’m walking away from it, which is no problem.

“I’ve had plenty of stitches put in there. I was lucky considering what has happened to Séamus. On another night there could have been two red cards.

“I can’t remember how many stitches it was. The doctor had to stick some in deep and a few dissolvable ones on top. Hopefully it will heal quickly.”

Wales boss Chris Coleman later launched a passionate defence of both Bale and Neil Taylor, who was sent off for his foul on Coleman, and O’Shea had few complaints.

He said: “You expect it, obviously within reason. When you’re playing England, Scotland or Wales, the games are going to be like that. They are the games you want to be involved in.

“As the opposition manager, you’re going to protect your own players. In a derby game, you’re going to expect some tasty tackles – but, as I said, within reason.

“There’s no problem getting a hard tackle but if it’s late, it’s a different story.”

O’Shea was significantly more fortunate than Coleman, who faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on Saturday.

He said: “Hopefully everything goes to plan and he comes back as strong as ever. With the type of player he is, he’ll recover quickly and be back on that pitch as soon as possible.”

Ireland were disappointed not to have made their numerical advantage count during the final 20 minutes or so of the game as Serbia replaced them at the top of Group D on goal difference, but, given that they had gone into it without Robbie Brady, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy, Harry Arter, Wes Hoolahan and Daryl Murphy, there was no sense of despondency.

O’Shea, who won his 117th senior cap against Wales, said: “If you gave us this position at the start of the group, we’d have taken it. You want to win your home games and that’s what we’ll have to do to make sure we qualify for Russia.”

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