World Cup Qualifier: John O’Shea and Stephen Ward in serious doubt
Martin O’Neill has more injuries to deal with as he prepares to name his squad against Austria
Sunderland’s John O’Shea and Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez battle for the ball at the Stadium of Light. O’Shea had to be replaced before half-time due to a hamstring injury. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The FAI is likely to receive updates on the injuries sustained by Sunderland’s John O’Shea and Burnley’s Stephen Ward over the next 24 hours, but both players now look to be serious doubts for the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Austria on November 12th after suffering what appeared to be hamstring problems on Saturday.
Both had to be replaced before half-time in games that they had started, and though Martin O’Neill might yet name them on Wednesday morning in his squad for the trip to Vienna, any serious problems revealed by scans since the games would effectively rule them out of Ireland’s game.
O’Neill already had problems to contend with on the injury front with Shane Long and James McCarthy both still sidelined by thigh and hamstring problems. Neither made even the bench for their clubs on Sunday and though there is still a week to go before the squad arrives into Dublin, the pair continue to be rated doubtful.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman criticised the extent to which his midfielder was used in the last international round, suggesting that the 25-year-old had been “overloaded” by O’Neill who had started him against both Georgia and Moldova. Though the Ireland manager disputed this, McCarthy has only played half an hour or so for his club in the weeks since.
A fair few other Irish players did see action over the weekend with Séamus Coleman featuring prominently in Everton’s 2-0 defeat of West Ham and Jeff Hendrick playing all 90 minutes of Burnley’s scoreless draw at Old Trafford.
Ward came off after 44 minutes of that game while O’Shea lasted fractionally less of Sunderland’s hefty defeat by Arsenal, although the Waterford man was gone by the time David Moyes’ side effectively imploded for a spell in the second half.
David McGoldrick scored as Ipswich drew with Rotherham and Cyrus Clark managed a goal too, against Sheffield Wednesday.
James McClean, meanwhile, got 90 minutes for West Brom in their 4-0 home defeat by Manchester City although the winger’s contribution was overshadowed by renewed criticism of his ongoing decision not to wear a remembrance poppy – something he has previously explained publicly.
Robbie Brady only got 16 minutes of action as Norwich were well beaten at Brighton, a game in which Shane Duffy played all 90. Wes Hoolahan started the game but was replaced late in the second half.
Brady was also named as the PFAI’s overseas-based Player of the Year on Saturday night in Dublin where Daryl Horgan, Seán Maguire and Shane Duggan took the Premier Division, Young and First Division Player awards respectively.
At the event, Stephen Kenny beat Kenny Shiels and Harry Kenny to the manager’s award which was presented by O’Neill in front of an audience mainly made up of players fromthe Airtricity League.
Karen Duggan of UCD Waves won the union’s inaugural women’s award.
PFAI award winnersPremier Division player of the year:
Young player of the year: Seán Maguire (Cork City)
First Division player of the year: Shane Duggan (Limerick)
Manager of the year: Stephen Kenny (Dundalk)
Irish Overseas Player of the year: Robbie Brady (Norwich City)
Senior women’s international player of the year: Karen Duggan (UCD Waves).