Wales defender Neil Taylor was in tears after the horror tackle that left Seamus Coleman with a double break of his right leg, according to Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long.
The 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Dublin was marred by Ireland captain Coleman receiving oxygen and leaving the field on a stretcher after a wild lung from Taylor, who was sent off for the 69th-minute challenge.
Long cradled his team-mates’ head as he received attention on the field and paid tribute to a popular and long-serving member of Martin O’Neil’s squad.
“I was trying to comfort him on the pitch,” said the Southampton forward, as quoted by The Sun.
“He’s loved by everyone, he’s a big player and he will be a big loss.”
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) March 24, 2017
Aston Villa left-back Taylor was sidelined for eight months by a broken ankle suffered in 2012 while at Swansea City and Long felt this compounded the Welshman’s distress.
“He caught him high and I think he was in tears afterwards,” Long added.
“I think he has got it done to him before I suppose he went in worried about the challenge.
“He knows the pain Seamus was in because, as I said, he’s been there before.
“It was a horrible challenge and there is no defending it, but I don’t think he meant to do it.”
Wales lie four points behind second-placed Ireland in Group D, who are behind leaders Serbia on goal difference with none of the top three having tasted defeat at this stage.