Robbie Brady out for Poland clash as Stephen Ireland suffers horrific injury
Stoke angry at 'shocking' Ireland injury in Hull clash
MARTIN O'Neill has has the first dose of bad news ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Poland later this month as Robbie Brady is out for the game and could be ruled out for the rest of the season.
And Brady is not the only Irishman facing a spell on the sidelines as Stephen Ireland will be missing for Stoke for some weeks after he picked up an injury in a bad-tempered affair between Stoke City and Hull City on Saturday, with Ireland taking the step of making public a photograph of his injury after a game which saw Corkmen David Meyler and Ireland square up.
O'Neill was in the Britannia Stadium to see Stoke's 1-0 win over Hull and while he will have been enthused by the sight of seven Irish players in action - in contrast to last week's scouting mission to the Nottingham Forest-Bournemouth game which had no Irish involvement - he was concerned by the absence of Hull's Brady.
The Dubliner has been on the fringes of the Euro 2016 campaign so far with three sub appearances and no starts but Brady made a big impression on the Ireland management with his display in the last international, when he scored twice in the 4-1 win over the USA.
And with concerns over the fitness of wingers Aiden McGeady (absent again from the Everton squad yesterday in their defeat to Arsenal) and Anthony Pilkington (missing since November), Brady would have been an option against Poland, at least off the bench.
Instead, the ex-Manchester United man is out for the immediate future. "Brady pulled up with a horrible calf injury on Friday. He could be out for weeks, months," said Hull boss Steve Bruce.
"Unfortunately he's damaged his calf really, really badly. He couldn't walk on Friday."
Stoke's Ireland may be unable to walk for some time and boss Mark Hughes was very upset that Hull's Maynor Figueroa went unpunished for the challenge.
"It's one that should have seen a red card," said Hughes.
"He's come in at half-time and rolled his sock down and everyone was taken aback by the severity of the gash. "We had two players booked and in comparison with the challenge on Stephen Ireland, it's remarkable that he hasn't sent the lad off.
"Stevie Ireland didn't get up and chase the lad because he wasn't in a fit state to do that. Now he's going to be missing for any number of weeks," added Hughes.
O'Neill will have been pleased by Marc Wilson's display in defence for Stoke, however, the Antrim man back to full fitness following injury.
stoke city 1 hull city 0