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Ireland win as McAteer and Kilbane injured

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-2 Rep of Ireland

JASON McAteer was stretchered off with his head in hands after shipping a heavy knock in the 38th minutes of this friendly in Izumo.

The Sunderland winger, one of the most experienced players in the Irish squad, was about to send over a cross when he was floored by big defender Bilong's trailing leg as he was challenged.

Before Steven Reid was brought on to replace McAteer, the J-League side were ahead. Fujimoto's cross was headed home by Oki.

However Ireland restored parity three minutes later when Reid's corner was headed on by Kevin Kilbane and Robbie Keane nodded in.

Ireland began brightly but failed to break the deadlock, despite efforts by Kilbane, Duff and Keane, but they lacked aerial presence in the area to take advantage of some decent crosses.

Ireland dominated in the opening stages, but then Sanfrecce came into the game more as the game went on - and then took the lead as Ireland were shell-shocked by the injury to McAteer.

After the break it emerged that McAteer had suffered kneee damage and is out of the the opening Group E game against Cameroon.

Another Andy Reid corner almost put sub Gary Breen in minutes into the seconfd half but the centre half headed wide from close range.

Reid then went close with a low drive on 55 minutes before kevin Kilbane hobbled off with a bruised ankle.
Robbie Keane should have scored with 19 minutes remaining but he somehow missed with the goal at his mercy.

But Keane made amends with 12 to go when Mark Kinsella's long ball was headed down by Niall Quinn into the strikers path and he slotted home.

Republic of Ireland; Given (Newcastle United); Kelly (Leeds United), Dunne (Manchester City), Staunton (Aston Villa capt), Harte (Leeds) United; McAteer (Sunderland), Kinsella (Charlton Ath), Holland (Ipswich Tn), Kilbane (Sunderland); Keane (Leeds United), Duff (Blackburn Rvrs).

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McAteer injured as Ireland win - 25/05/2002

Jason McAteer suffered a serious knee injury which could force him out of the World Cup, as the Republic of Ireland cruised to a 2-1 victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Izumo.

The Sunderland winger was stretchered off after a reckless tackle by Bilong in the 35th minute. He looked in great pain when being carried off and his legs were bound together, but within 15 minutes, it was reported that the player was walking around with little difficulty.

However, a few minutes later, it was confirmed that the 30-year-old has strained medial ligaments in his left knee. It has yet to ascertained how serious the injury actually is. Another worry for **** McCarthy is that Kevin Kilbane also picked up an injury.

The winger hobbled off after 61 minutes with a severely bruised ankle, and although he was limping badly after the match, medical staff are confident he will be fit for Ireland's World Cup opener against Cameroon on Saturday, June 1. In the match itself, Ireland recovered from the shock of conceding an early goal to run out easy 2-1 winners with both goals coming from Robbie Keane.

**** McCarthy's men have made a habit of starting quickly in recent friendlies and could have been in front after just 60 seconds when a mistake in the Hiroshima defence allowed Robbie Keane through. The striker cleverly set up Kilbane, but he blazed inches wide, with the goalkeeper stranded. Keane was again provider four minutes later when he set up Damien Duff, but the Blackburn man shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Duff returned the compliment 10 minutes later, but Keane's chipped effort was just a fraction too high to trouble the goalkeeper. Sanfrecce Hiroshima had threatened on a number of occasions, but it was still a surprise when they took the lead after 37 minutes.

Jason McAteer had just been carried off and the Ireland defence momentarily lost their concentration as they failed to pick up Hiroshima striker Kubo, who headed powerfully past Shay Given. However, within four minutes, Ireland were level. Steven Reid, McAteer's replacement, swung in a corner from the left which was flicked on by Kilbane for Keane to head home at the far post.

**** McCarthy brought on Andy O'Brien and Gary Breen at half time and the latter almost scored after 50 minutes when he rose unchallenged to meet Reid's corner, but he was unable to hit the target. After a spate of substitutions which saw Dean Kiely, Niall Quinn and David Connolly all enter the fray, Ireland deservedly took the lead after 78 minutes.

After a neat move involving plenty of one touch passing, Mark Kinsella played a perfect ball into Quinn who headed the ball into Keane's path for the Leeds man to drill the ball home. Team: Given (Kiely 61), Kelly, Harte (Breen ht), Dunne (O'Brien ht), Staunton (C), Kinsella, McAteer (Reid 36), Holland, Duff (Connolly 68), Keane (Morrison (79), Kilbane (Quinn 61).

FIFA end Healy hopes
FIFA have seemingly ended the FAI's hopes of bring in Colin Healy into the squad as a replacement for Roy Keane. FIFA spokesman Keith Cooper, speaking after a meeting of the World Cup organising committee, said: "If there was no medical reason for Roy Keane to leave, then Ireland cannot replace him."

Healy was drafted into the squad on Tuesday night, before the deadline for naming the squad, when Roy Keane originally requested he be allowed leave Japan. But after Keane changed his mind, the squad was quickly amended, arriving at FIFA minutes before the deadline, and Healy was told he would not now be needed.

However on Thursday, after Keane was sent home, the FAI said they homed to received a dispensation from FIFA that would allow Healy to join the squad.
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