Cruel blow for keeper Elliot

Keeper Rob Elliot was injured early in the game against Slovakia

Keeper Rob Elliot was injured early in the game against Slovakia

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill says the knee injury suffered by keeper Rob Elliot is a cruel blow.

The Newcastle player, 29, was carried off after damaging his right knee in the 2-2 draw with Slovakia in Dublin.

“That was upsetting. It was a cruel blow to himself, his club and indeed ourselves,” said boss O’Neill.

Darren Randolph came on for Elliot, who must be a major doubt for Newcastle’s Premier League match away to relegation rivals Norwich City on Saturday.

Elliot has earned praise for his performances since coming into the team in place of injured Dutchman Tim Krul in October.

He appeared to twist his right knee as he changed direction in an attempt to save Miroslav Stoch’s early goal for Slovakia.

Republic boss O’Neill declared himself satisfied as first-half penalties by Shane Long and James McClean earned the draw with fellow Euro 2016 qualifiers Slovakia.

“We played some nice attractive football, particularly in the first half,” he said.

“There were a lot of substitutions made by both teams and that disrupted things in the second half.

“Overall, there were some good performances. The cohesion we had was surprising given how much we had changed things around for this match.”

McClean, eager to seal his place in O’Neill’s squad, revealed he is a novice at taking penalties.

“I took the second penalty because Shane was a bit sore after taking a knock,” added McClean.

“I had never taken one before so there was a bit of pressure on it.

“We have a big pool of players now and everyone wants to make that 23. I’m no different.”

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