IT was a grim day for Irish sport yesterday as rugby full back Geordan Murphy was stretchered off with a compound fracture of his left leg in the match against Scotland and will now miss next month's World Cup.

Then Brian Kerr's team threw away a one-goal lead at Lansdowne Road, drawing 1-1 with Russia and making it extremely difcult for them to qualify even for the play-offs in the European Championships.

Murphy's injury, seen graphically on television, means that one of our world-rated rugby players will now not perform on rugby's biggest stage.

Murphy was in obvious agony as soon as he hit the deck after an innocuous-looking tackle from diminutive scrum-half Mike Blair midway through the rsthalf. After lengthy treatment he was stretchered from the eld and taken straight to hospital.

The injury took all the gloss off impressive Irish 29-10 victory.

His loss is a severe blow to Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the last eight in the tournament.

The draw at Lansdowne Road means that Ireland must now win against Switzerland away to have any hope of making the nals of the tournament in Portugal. Although the draw means Brian Kerr is undefeated as manager of the Irish team, the result is a bitter disappointment.