Republic striker Doyle protests innocence after red card

Kevin Doyle and Karlen Mkrtchyan
Kevin Doyle's challenge on Karlen Mkrtchyan led to the striker's sending off in Tuesday's game

Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle is continuing to protest his innocence at his sending off in Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier victory over Armenia.

Doyle's caution earlier in the game had already ruled him out of next month's play-off first leg before his dismissal for elbowing Karlen Mkrtchyan.

The Republic already had fitness doubts over Robbie Keane for the play-offs.

"I jump the same every time. I don't ever deliberately go up to hurt anyone," said Wolves striker Doyle.

"If anything, I barely touched him and he made the most of it.

"It's the first time (I was sent off) since I was about 12. There's a first time for everything.

"It's frustrating, but we are through, we are in the play-offs and we are one of the top seeds."

With skipper Keane facing a race against time to shake off the muscle injury which sidelined him on Tuesday night, Republic coach Giovanni Trapattoni could be without both of his first-choice strikers for the opening play-off game.

Asked how if Doyle's absence will be a blow to the Republic, Trapattoni said: "Yes, but I hope Robbie Keane will come back and also we have Shane Long, we have Simon Cox, we have Jonathan Walters.

"Unlike two years ago, we have options - and we also have Aiden McGeady and Damien Duff. I am confident about this.

"That is our team. Maybe we don't have superstars, but McGeady is playing very well and Duff is fantastic.

"I am happy with our attitude, mentality and approach to every game."

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