Keogh: 'Danish hangover took time to clear'
Richard Keogh admits that it took the Republic of Ireland squad a long time to get the shock of their World Cup defeat to Denmark out of their system.
Martin O'Neill's side have played three competitive games since that horror show at home to the Danes 12 months ago, with a return of one point from three games and one goal scored.
The Irish team have one more game to go in the competition, away to Denmark on Monday, but the skipper in Ireland's last game feels that the clouds from the Danish pasting hung low.
"We have come up against some tough countries and the downer of not qualifying for the World Cup, and the way it happened, probably affects us more as a group than we thought," says Keogh.
"When you get so close to something so great, to have that dip at the end was a hammer blow. Probably as a group it affected us a bit. When we came back, we were still deflated a bit by it.
"We've shrugged it off now. We've put in some good performances, we've always have bad ones as well. It's about finding consistency and hopefully in these two games we can do that," added the Derby County player.
"Things can get taken out of context, but we go into every game trying to win. We want to try and do as well as possible for our country.
"Especially the Wales game, I don't think we deserved to lose that game, though obviously it was a bit of quality in the end, the free-kick that settled it. If you look at us, we were trying to win the game. We were going for it and we put them under severe pressure in the end. If we had nicked it, I don't think anyone could have argued.
"We came out on the wrong side of it and it's not great.
"But I think it's positive, the future is bright, we have got some really good young players coming through. We have people like Robbie Brady coming back, Jeff Hendrick, these boys who are playing in the Premier League and who are stepping up now to be more experienced lads. It's exciting to be a part of it."
Keogh feels that the loss of older pros to retirement has hindered the side's progress but he's upbeat about the new breed of Ireland player, particularly Callum Robinson.
"As a lad he is confident, bubbly and it's good to have characters like that. You need that mix and I think it's a strength for the manager that he knows what he can bring to the table character-wise and football-wise as well. It's good to see these young boys coming in and wanting to play for Ireland, because it's everyone's dream to do it," Keogh says.
"We lost some big players, big characters in their group. You're not going to find these players out of the blue. You've got to be patient.
"That's what the manager is trying to do, to bring in players who've got potential to be great players for Ireland. They need experience and time to evolve, the process is probably taking longer than we'd like but the future is bright."