A potential disaster looms for Ireland with the news that Richard Dunne has emerged as a doubt for Euro 2012. The Aston Villa defender is set to miss the rest of the season after breaking his collarbone in the recent Premier League clash against Manchester City.
Such is Dunne’s importance to the Irish side that he will likely be taken to the European Championships even below 100% fitness, but this could prove a devastating blow for a Republic outfit which likes to build its attack from the back.
Such is the quality of opposition the Boys in Green will face this summer in Croatia, Italy, and World Champions Spain, vast swathes of games are likely to be played on the back foot. Without Dunne, the pressure on the Irish defence will be all the greater.
The centre-half fractured his collarbone during Alex McLeish’s side’s defeat to City earlier this month.
The earliest reports put Dunne’s absence at six weeks with a return in April likely. However, theTallaghtman has now been ruled out of Villa’s remaining Premier League games in a development that will send shock-waves through the Irish management and supporters alike.
Dunne, who was a squad member at the World Cup in 2002 but did not feature, is expected in Dublin this week for the FAI awards where he is nominated for the Senior Player of the Year.
His stand-out perfomances, most notably in the away draw in Moscow, make him the favourite to land the gong he previously won in 2007.
Shane Duffy has been called up as his replacement for this week’s friendly against the Czech Republic.