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'People make decisions and they have to live with them' - McCarthy hesitant to condemn Richard Keogh

The defender will miss 15 months of football having been injured in a car crash last week.

Richard Keogh playing for Ireland against Gibraltar in June.
Richard Keogh playing for Ireland against Gibraltar in June.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Oct 1st 2019, 5:00 PM

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND manager Mick McCarthy chose today not to condemn the actions of Richard Keogh, in light of the defender’s suffering a serious knee injury in a car crash last week. 

Keogh was a passenger in a car that crashed during an incident that saw Derby County team-mates Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence arrested for drink-driving last Tuesday, and suffered injuries to his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the collision.

Keogh will require two operations and an estimated 15-month absence from the game to recover, meaning he is highly unlikely to play under McCarthy at international level again. 

The Derby squad had been out for a team-building dinner, but Keogh was among a number of players who opted to stay on later than planned, and turned down the offer to be chauffeured home by cars provided by the club.

Those involved were heavily-criticised in a statement released by Derby on Thursday, with Keogh condemned for his part as club captain.

Keogh’s international manager refused to join the chorus of condemnation, however. Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today, McCarthy revealed he phoned Keogh in the days after the crash. 

“He was pretty sore when I spoke to him”, said McCarthy. 

“I rang him to offer him my support as he is a great guy. He’s been fabulous for me, and he’s got a terrible injury.” 

“I’m not a medic, and I haven’t seen him or seen a report on the injury. I know he has to have two operations and reports are that he will be out for 15 months. What is he, 33, 34 coming up?

“He’s the sort of guy that will [return to playing], he’s that sort of character. He has always impressed me.” 

mick-mccarthy Mick McCarthy speaks to the media at Aviva HQ this afternoon. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

When pressed a little further on the incident and asked if he was disappointed in Keogh for injuring himself in such circumstances, McCarthy demurred from outright condemnation. 

“Let he without sin cast the first stone. He went out for a drink with the lads, he’s the captain of the team, he got in the car with him he didn’t expect to be in such a state at the end of that journey home.

“People make decisions and they have to live with them, unfortunately.

“I think Richard is a wonderful player and a great bloke.

“I’m sure [Derby] will [take a hard line with the players involved in the incident.] They are the rules, aren’t they? They are the rules in life.

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“I read somewhere that footballers think they can do what they want, but they don’t. They are just young men who go out for a drink, make decisions and make mistakes like everybody else does.

“They are then highlighted and judged far more than other people.”

At this point, a question from the press pointed out that footballers are judged to a higher standard than others as they make large amounts of money and are seen as role models in the eyes of children. 

While McCarthy disagreed that money is relevant, he agreed on the second part. 

“They are role models, and they are influencers on social media and things like that, I fully accept that”, said McCarthy. 

“That’s why they get penalised far more: penalised by the public, penalised by the rules, penalised by the police and everybody else when they do something wrong.” 

McCarthy was then asked if he was disappointed in Keogh. 

“I’m disappointed he’s not playing in any of the games. No, like I said, he’s done something and he has to live with it.” 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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