Mick McCarthy warns public not to be too critical of Richard Keogh

Defender needs two operations and will be out for what is now an estimated 15 months

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy talks to the press at the Aviva Ireland head office in Dublin. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy talks to the press at the Aviva Ireland head office in Dublin. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has avoided criticising Derby defender Richard Keogh over his part in the drink driving incident last week that may yet end the 33 year-old’s club international career.

McCarthy acknowledged that the player had made a mistake but made clear his loyalty to Keogh, observing that “he has been fantastic for us”.

Speaking at the Dublin offices of FAI sponsor, Aviva, where he announced his squad for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers away to Georgia and Switzerland, McCarthy said that he has spoken with the Keogh who, he says, needs two operations and will be out for what is now an estimated 15 months.

Asked if Keogh could resume playing at a high level, McCarthy sounded more hopeful and confident. “What is he 33?” he asked. “It’s a long time but he’s the sort of guy who’d do it.”

McCarthy said that Keogh had “made a decision and has to live with it,” but warned against being overly critical of footballers who make the same mistakes as people in other walks of life.

“He’d been out for a few drinks with the lads, he had a few drinks. He’s got in the car with him and he didn’t expect to end up in that situation,” he said.

“I’m sure (the club will come down on hard on the players involved). Those are the rules. But I wonder how many people here are judging him. They are just young men who go out and make decisions and make mistakes like everybody else and then those mistakes are highlighted a lot more than everybody else’s. They are penalised more by the rules, by the public, by the police when things do go wrong.”

“What do I think of him?” he continued. “I think he’s a wonderful player.”

Aside from Keogh, Shane Duffy is carrying a calf strain and David McGoldrick is recovering from a groin injury but McCarthy said that he is still hopeful that one, and possibly both, might recover in time to playing some part over the course of the double header.

“I’m still holding out for Duffer to be honest because I spoke with him and there’s a bit of optimism there. They were talking about four to six weeks but I had a conversation with him and he’s not sure it’s going to be so long.

“Players, of course, give you the best case scenario and that’s what you want from them but until I get an absolute ‘no’ from him then I’ll be retaining that little bit of optimism.

“David McGoldrick is another one,” he said. “I’m holding out that Didsy might be alright, he’s another one that I’m holding out some hope for. We don’t play against Switzerland for two weeks, that’s my cause for optimism. I’m told that McGoldrick will be out on grass this week, whether that will translate into him being able to play I don’t know but if he is ruled out then I have options.”

McCarthy dismissed the question about the resignation of John Delaney from the association over the weekend, insisting that it was not what he was in Dublin to discuss.

“I’m here to talk about the games,” he said. “I guess I have a bit of thanks to give him for giving me the job back although a lot of other people had a vote in that but I’m delighted to be here.

“But it’s been pending, hasn’t it. It’s no surprise to me, so I’m here to talk about the games.”

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