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Richard Keogh. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
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Ireland defender Richard Keogh announces retirement

Keogh has called time on his 20-year playing career.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND international Richard Keogh has announced his retirement from football at the age of 37. 

In a statement, Keogh said his playing career surpassed his expectations and now has plans to go into coaching. He thanked his family and recalled his appearances at Euro 2016 and his captaining Ireland ahead of that tournament as his fondest memories. 

Keogh won 26 senior international caps for Ireland, making his debut against Poland in February 2013. Having been left on the bench for the opening two group matches, Keogh played Ireland’s final two games at Euro 2016, including the 1-0 victory over Italy in Lille. He also played in both legs of the playoff win against Bosnia and captained Ireland in the pre-tournament friendly against Belarus. His final cap came under Mick McCarthy and against Switzerland in September 2019, as he suffered a serious knee injury later that month. 

Keogh suffered that injury as a passenger in a vehicle driven by Derby County team-mate Tom Lawrence, which was crashed into a lamppost after a night out. Keogh suffered an ACL injury that would sideline him for more than a year, and Derby sacked Keogh after the incident. An employment tribunal later ruled that Keogh was unfairly dismissed, and the club was ordered to pay him £2.3 million.

Keogh then signed for MK Dons, making his return to action almost exactly a year after the car crash. He went on to play for Huddersfield, Blackpool, Ipswich, Wycombe and, finally, Forest Green Rovers. 

The 316 appearances he made for Derby was by far the most he made for a single club across his career. 

“I wish I could play on forever, but we all know eventually this day will come”, posted Keogh online. 

“So, after 786 appearances and 20 years, I am announcing my retirement from playing.
My career surpassed all my expectations, full of unforgettable moments that not only made me a better player but also a better person. I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to my family, friends, agent Cos and advisors.

“Their love, support, sacrifice and guidance made it possible for me to live out my dream.
I have been extremely fortunate and feel privileged to have played for and captained incredible clubs.

“I want to extend my appreciation to all of my past teammates, managers and coaches – the pleasure was mine and I am honoured to call many of you friends for life.

“And now to the fans – you make the game special. Playing through Covid undeniably proved the game is nothing without you. The bond I shared with many of you made every game memorable. Thank you.

“Wearing the captains armband for Ireland was the ultimate honour. To represent the green jersey was the impossible dream and to play in a major tournament was the dream come true.

“The camaraderie, the matches, the shared moments with fans – these are memories that will stay with me forever.

“Last but not least, to my amazing wife Charlie and my sons Seb and Myles. Your unwavering love and support means everything to me. Thank you for being my rock. I am eternally grateful.

“I now look to the next chapter, where I am fully focused on taking my next step into coaching.” 

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