How the Irish fared: Ireland hero Shane Duffy turns villain

After the highs of recent weeks, Shane Duffy was sent crashing back to earth on Saturday as the big defender was sent off in Blackburn’s 2-1 Championship defeat at Preston.

Duffy had proven the hero of the hour in Blackburn’s previous game, smashing home a late winner against Brentford before staking his claim for inclusion in the final 23-man squad for the Euros with a commanding display in Ireland’s 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland.

However, things unravelled on Saturday as, with Blackburn a goal to the good, Duffy couldn’t resist the temptation to use his hand to stop a goal-bound strike from finding the net after 24 minutes.

The inevitable consequence was a red card for Duffy before Preston equalised from the resultant penalty.

Duffy later tweeted. “Gutted about today, let the team down with the decision, was just instinct reaction to keep it out of the net. I will learn from it.”

At the top of the table, Chris Hughton was left frustrated as Brighton conceded a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 2-2 with leaders Burnley.

“It is frustrating and it was a game we should have won,” Hughton said.

Mick McCarthy admitted his Ipswich side face an uphill battle to claim a play-off spot after a 0-0 draw at Wolves left the Tractor Boys five points off the top six.

McCarthy said: “My focus is on trying to get in the play-offs. We have got two home games (against Charlton and Brentford) coming up now and I do feel that we are going to have to win them to be in the mix.”

Elsewhere, former Ireland B international Lee Frecklington scored the first and won the penalty for the second as Rotherham United beat Leeds United 2-1.

In League One, Jay O’Shea cade on and scored as Chesterfield beat Port Vale 4-2 while Niall Canavan struck a stoppage-time equaliser to earn Rochdale a 2-2 draw with Doncaster.

In League Two, Liam Lawrence hit a stunning free-kick as Bristol Rovers beat Crawley Town 3-0. Michael Harriman netted in Wycombe’s 2-1 home defeat to Wimbledon.

Yesterday, Conor Hourihane captained Barnsley to a 3-2 victory over Oxford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley.


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