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Worry for Martin O'Neill as Shane Duffy limps off injured for Brighton

Duffy was brought off with a groin injury during Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday.

Duffy has started all eight of Brighton's Premier League games this season.
Duffy has started all eight of Brighton's Premier League games this season.
Image: Adam Davy

MARTIN O’NEILL may have been dealt a massive blow on Sunday afternoon as Shane Duffy was brought off with a groin injury during Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Everton.

Duffy was replaced after 73 minutes after suffering the blow having landed awkwardly  challenging for a header with Oumar Niasse.

Ireland will find out their World Cup play-off opponents on Tuesday afternoon following FIFA’s draw in Zurich, with the set of fixtures currently less than a month away.

Duffy has become a mainstay of Ireland’s defence this qualifying campaign, forging a formidable partnership with Newcastle’s Ciaran Clarke.

The pair’s importance was epitmoised throughout a defensive masterclass which kept Wales from equalising in Ireland’s crucial 1-0 win against Wales on Monday.

Manager O’Neill’s other options at centre-back include John O’Shea, Richard Keogh, Kevin Long and Andy Boyle.

O’Shea has started just one game for Sunderland this season, making three substitute appearances, while Keogh has started all 10 of Derby’s Championship games, including today’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forrest.

Long, meanwhile, has yet to start a game for Burnley so far this campaign.

The defender was a surprise inclusion in O’Neill’s starting lineup for June’s 1-1 draw at home to Austria, where he impressed greatly alongside Duffy.

Former Dundalk and current Preston North End defender Boyle made his international debut in March during a 1-0 friendly defeat to Iceland.

Ireland’s play-off fixtures will take place between 9 – 14 November where either Italy, Croatia, Denmark or Switzerland stand between a place at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.

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Aaron Gallagher

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