What now for Ireland as they prepare to shake it up against Iceland?

Stand-in captain Robbie Brady and Martin O'Neill spoke to the press on Monday afternoon

BY Cian Roche 18:30 Monday 27 March 2017, 18:30 27 Mar 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Martin O'Neill touched on the feeling after Friday's game when he told assembled members of the media today that 'even the result almost felt secondary' following Seamus Coleman's awful injury against Wales.

Neil Taylor was rightly shown a red card for the challenge and Ireland were able to clinch what now looks like a very valuable point in the quest for World Cup qualification.

O'Neill refused to be drawn into criticism of Neil Taylor and Gareth Bale - who only a minute before Taylor's red card left a mark on John O'Shea with a dangerous lunging tackle - only describing the challenges as "very poor".

The Ireland boss issued an update on Coleman's condition and said that it would be "very difficult" to assess when he will be back in action, adding: "I don't think anyone's putting a timeline on it yet."

He said: "I think he's just beginning to come to terms with it. I saw him yesterday and he's still pretty down really. He's not in as much pain and the operation went very, very well. It's just a matter of coming to terms with it.

"It's a bad blow for the player who has been terrific for us and who has had a wonderful season at Everton. He was missed even for the last couple of days around the place.

"He's very positive and I think he will get into recovery mode as quickly as possible and then it's up to him."

The injury has opened the door for Robbie Brady who will act as stand-in captain for tomorrow night's game against Iceland at the Aviva Stadium, as Coleman begins his long road to recovery.

Having missed clash with Wales through suspension, Brady will be part of a much changed side as Ireland's injury list continues to grow.

"There will be some players who will play tomorrow and there will be some players who play for the first time, too," O'Neill added. "It's a balancing act between getting some players some international experience and who are actually deserving of the cap.

"But there are probably players who will see international football for the first time."

Robbie Brady (left) and Martin O'Neill at the top table on Monday afternoon. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Brady, who was an integral part of Ireland's run in the European Championships last summer, says that the mood of the players has reflected the seriousness of Coleman's injury.

"It's been disappointing," he said. "For our captain and for the lad that Seamus is, it's always disappointing.

"I knew straightaway when it happened. The lads are obviously disappointed for him and we'll all be there to help as best we can along the way."

Speaking about the suspension that ruled him out of the match, he said: "It's always frustrating when you've got to watch on and you can't do anything to change the flow of the game. 

"The lads put in a good shift and it's another point on the board.  Friday night is behind us now. It's disappointing not to play, but I'm happy to just be in contention."

Ireland are expected to had appearances to Preston duo Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan on Tuesday night, with Conor Hourihane also in contention to get a run-out at Lansdowne Road.

It's unlikely O'Neill will trial out a new system, but instead integrate newer players and offer more options for Ireland off the bench.

In the final 20 minutes of Friday's game against Wales, the visitors had been reduced to 10 men and Ireland went in search off all three points. O'Neill sprung another Preston player, Aiden McGeady, from the bench, but they were unable to capitalize on the pressure.

O'Neill will be hoping that easing Horgan and Hourihane into the international fold will help to alleviate the creativity issues that were so painfully obvious last week.

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