The Republic of Ireland's chances of qualifying for Euro 2008 look to be over after they lost against the Czech Republic despite a battling display.
Plasil Jaroslav (right) tries to get away from John O'Shea
Marek Jankulovski fired the dominant Czechs ahead in the 15th minute.
Stephen Hunt's introduction rallied the Irish and Kevin Doyle struck the Czech woodwork before half-time.
Hunt's harsh sending off was a huge blow for the Irish although Paul McShane went close and Radoslav Kovac was inches away from a late own goal.
The Czechs produced all the early pressure with the Irish struggling to win the ball and invariably wasting possession when they did have it.
The Irish had a lucky escape in the 11th minute when Libor Sionko fired wide after being played in by Tomas Rosicky.
However, the visitors' luck ran out four minutes later when Jankulovski glided past Richard Dunne and fired to the net from 14 yards after playing a one-two with Jan Polak
As the Czechs continued to dominate, Sionko should have added to their lead in the 21st minute but his pointblank half-volley was hooked badly wide.
The Czechs' swift counter-attacking tactics were leaving the Irish looking woefully exposed at the back.
The Irish suffered a further blow in the 28th minute when Paul McShane's clattering challenge on Milan Baros resulted in a booking which will rule the defender out of the qualifier against Germany on 13 October.
Stephen Hunt's challenge on Jan Polak resulted in his dismissal
An injury sustained by John O'Shea meant the introduction of Stephen Hunt before half-time and the Reading player's presence immediately perked up the visitors.
The busy Hunt's trickery started to trouble the home defence and his team-mates seemed to finally believe that they could compete with the Czechs.
The Irish should have equalised one minute before the break with Kevin Doyle hitting the woodwork after he had been played in by Dunne.
A mistake by Andy Reid seconds after the break gifted a chance to Baros but the former Liverpool striker fired wide from 20 yards.
Shay Given came to Ireland's rescue in the 57th minute by tipping Rosicky's 20-yard drive over the crossbar.
The Irish suffered a massive blow on 62 minutes with Greek referee Kyros Vassaras' harsh decision to send off Hunt after the Irishman had clearly won the ball in a sliding challenge but caught Polak with his follow through.
Staunton responded by introducing Shane Long and the Reading striker almost made an immediate impact by firing a shot across the face of goal which just eluded Doyle.
McShane then had a great chance cleared off the line after Petr Cech had spilled a harmless looking cross.
As the Irish tired, the Czechs had late chances but brave defensive work by the bloodied Dunne kept the one-goal margin.
Right at the death, Kovac almost diverted the ball into his own net after a McShane cross but it went inches over the bar and with it, went the Irish team's last chance.
Czech Republic: Cech, Ujfalusi, Rozehnal, Kovac, Jankulovski, Sionko, Galasek, Rosicky, Polak, Plasil, Baros. Subs: Blazek, Sivok, Vlcek, Pospech, Jarolim, Kulic, Dosek.
Rep of Ireland: Given, Kelly, McShane, Dunne, O'Shea, McGeady, Carsley, Reid, Kilbane, Kevin Doyle, Keane. Subs: Colgan, Hunt, Keogh, Douglas, Gibson, Long, Murphy.
Referee: Kyros Vassaras (Greece)