REPUBLIC of Ireland defender Shane Duffy was yesterday recovering in hospital after undergoing emergency surgery following a freak on-pitch accident.

The 18-year-old Everton player was rushed to the Mater Hospital after he collided with Under-23 goalkeeper Adrian Walsh during the first half of the Ireland XI win against Ireland Juniors at Gannon Park in Malahide.

In what was described as a freak accident, the blood supply to his liver was ruptured.

Gerry McEntee, who operated on the player in the Mater, was widely praised for saving his life.

Duffy was initially treated on the pitch by medical staff but he was then rushed to hospital when the nature of his injury was realised.

The incident took place during a training match on Friday between Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland development squad and the Ireland Under-23 side.

Duffy spent some time in intensive care but was later transferred to another ward.

In a statement released by the FAI yesterday, team surgeon Professor John O'Byrne said: "Shane sustained a laceration to his liver and was rushed to the Mater hospital for emergency surgery.

"Shane was stabilised in intensive care after the surgery which stopped internal bleeding and this morning is conscious and is in the care of the Mater's high dependency unit... It was a freak injury that in another 100 years of medicine, we may never see again."