Ireland team-mate Conor Sammon was quick to console Keogh after his playoff mistake. PA Wire/Press Association Images

Martin O'Neill's message to a heartbroken Richard Keogh: 'It will make you a stronger person'

Keogh is hoping to win cap number four when Ireland take on Costa Rica tomorrow evening.

RICHARD KEOGH HAS revealed the motivational words Martin O’Neill used to pick him up after his Championship playoff heartache.

Keogh’s slip at Wembley gifted QPR their late winner and cost Derby County a place in the Premier League next season.

The Rams skipper didn’t have too much time on dwell on his disappointment before flying in to join Ireland’s end-of-season tour and admitted: “It’s probably the best thing I could have done.

Keogh said: “Obviously it was a disappointing end to a fantastic season for the club, and personally as well, but you can’t let one slip dampen how I’ve done this season.

The manner in which it happened, it obviously hurts a little bit more, but it was great to come in here.

“Everyone has been fantastic to me — the gaffer, the coaching staff and the lads.

“I’ve just tried to get my head on playing football again and that’s the best thing for me.”

Queens Park Rangers FC / YouTube

When Keogh and Derby team-mates Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon joined up with the rest of the squad last week, O’Neill pulled them aside for a quick chat.

He said that what happened was unfortunate but you’ve had a fantastic season and in time it will make you a stronger person and a better player.

“For someone like that to mention that to me, it meant a lot. It gives you a lot of confidence to want to do well and really improve. I really appreciated it.”

Ireland play Costa Rica in Philadelphia tomorrow (1am Saturday Irish time) and Keogh is hoping to add to his three senior caps.

“For me it’s a great opportunity again to train hard and hopefully get on the pitch and prove to the manager why he’s called me up to the squad.

“I’m excited about the challenge. There’s a lot of competition but I’m ready.”

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