Republic captain Seamus Coleman suffers broken leg in qualifier against Wales

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"He (Whelan) has given me assurances that he didn't mean it", Allen said of his club colleague.

"I have seen a..." If I see it again and it's a really bad one from Neil...but he's not that type of boy because he has also suffered a serious injury. He was informed that it was similar to the very bad photograph that circulated after Henrik Larsson broke his leg while playing for Celtic, the year before O'Neill became the club's manager.

In fact, this argument went, Ireland could call on most of their regular players for the game on Friday night and there was little or nothing to be concerned about.

He was visited by manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant on Friday night as graphic pictures of the damage circulated on social media. But it's not just attitude, it's his whole playing ability and demeanour, everything about him.

The defensive absentees were not as glaring as John O'Shea and Richard Keogh did a solid job on the potent Welsh attack, however, Robbie Brady's set-piece abilities were badly missed. Five more remain, but unfortunately they may have to be played without Seamus Coleman.

"But Seamus is so mentally strong that when he has fully recovered he will be as brilliant as before". "He has ability but he has a lot of things to go with it", he said.

"We had a few things to overcome this week. I would have great confidence he will do".

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Neil Taylor's tackle had been the culmination of sixty seconds of frenzied, untrammelled chaos from a Wales side which seemed to briefly lose its mind.

Martin O'Neill will go home the happier of the two managers, now sitting four points clear of Wales, while Chris Coleman's men have a large gap to close when they head to Serbia in June without Gareth Bale.

"Wales, it's a derby game, they are close games, there is very little between the teams and we always knew we had to be careful because they have a certain player [Gareth Bale] who wasn't bad on the counter attack and he almost punished us there once. He's absolutely devastated. That doesn't make it any easier for Séamus or the Republic of Ireland".

It's estimated that Coleman is looking at a six-and-a-half-month rehab programme, though honestly we wouldn't be surprised if it was considerably longer than that.

The referee will, however, have to put his hand up and admit that he was wrong not to send Gareth Bale off for his lunging, mistimed and high challenge on John O'Shea.

"I can't remember how many stitches it was". "I was lucky considering what has happened to Séamus".

The two skippers for this evening both know that their teams are not an overnight success.