LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane is out of Ireland’s European Championship showdown with Armenia on Tuesday night – with Simon Cox selected ahead of Shane Long to replace him.
Keane has failed to recover from an adductor muscle injury picked up in Friday night’s 2-0 win over Andorra.
The Irish captain will be on the bench for the game that will decide his team’s Euro fate at the Aviva Stadium but only as a cheerleader.
Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni fears his skipper could be out for up to four weeks, leaving the Galaxy striker as a doubt for the November play-offs if Ireland get that far.
“We hope that in three or four weeks Robbie could be fit for the qualifiers – if we get there which we hope to do,” said Trapattoni.
“He will have to look after the injury and he will need injections every two days. It is a disappointment but I have faith in the other strikers.”
Cox has got the nod over his new West Brom team-mate Long because his style of play is similar to Keane’s according to Trapattoni.
Fulham defender Stephen Kelly also comes into the team and will start at left-back in place of the suspended Stephen Ward.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given will captain Ireland in a game where the Republic need just a point to guarantee qualification for the European Championship play-offs.
“I am excited about the game, it is a massive match for everyone involved with the Irish teams from the players to the fans,” said Given.
“We know what is at stake and we know what we have to do. I am confident we can get the result we need to go on to the play-offs.”
Republic of Ireland team to play Armenia: Shay Given; John O’Shea, Sean St Ledger, Richard Dunne, Stephen Kelly; Aidan McGeady, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Damien Duff; Kevin Doyle, Simon Cox.