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Thursday 17 October 2019

Mick lends Keogh his support

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile

If it's condemnation of Richard Keogh that you want, then a Mick McCarthy press conference is the wrong place to visit.

Or John Delaney, for that matter. He didn't want to go there, aside from mentioning that he did still have to thank the ex-CEO for giving him his old job back.

Keogh is a relevant topic for McCarthy, as the Derby player's actions haven't just placed his career at risk; it has also ruled a first-choice option out of the rest of the Euro 2020 journey.

With Shane Duffy provisionally ruled out of the double-header with Georgia and Switzerland - he has not given up on a swift recovery - it made a grim defensive scenario for the manager.

But McCarthy is popular with players because of the understanding he shows in difficult situations.

And a discussion with a downbeat Keogh has made the Irish manager sympathetic towards the 33-year-old, possibly too sympathetic in the eyes of those who wanted a strong comment on his behaviour.

McCarthy's argument is simple. Keogh wasn't behind the wheel and couldn't have used his status as captain to stop younger players from doing so.

He also feels that the scrutiny on footballers in this situation is even more intense and thus adds to the feeling that a person is being kicked when they are down.

"It's clear that Keogh is very down. I said that I was only calling him to lend a bit of support because everybody is beating him up," said McCarthy.

"But he's been exceptional for me and he has had an exceptional career; hopefully he has some more games.

"But he's paying the price at the moment and I'm not going to heap any more on him.

"He's a great bloke. People make decisions and they have to live with them, unfortunately."

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