Keogh confident Ireland can bounce back after defeat

By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin

Richard Keogh is confident that the Republic of Ireland can recover and still qualify for Euro 2016 after last night’s defeat to Scotland in Celtic Park.

The defender said there were always going to be moments of difficulty in the qualifying matches and the squad would have no problems getting refocused for the next games, in March 2015.

“Confidence is still high,” he said. “It was a blip today, there was always going to be bumps along the road in this group, we just have to bounce back.”

Keogh described the team as a tight-knit group, who were working well together under manager Martin O’Neill.

He said: “We’re all good pals, we’ve been together for a while now under the new manager.”

The match was Keogh’s first competitive start with the senior squad, after five appearances in friendlies, and the player was delighted to hear from O’Neill that he would be playing.

“He told me to go out and relax and play how I’ve been playing at Derby,” he said.

Keogh, who is captain of Championship side Derby, was pleased with his own performance.

“I think I really grew into the game,” said Keogh. “Obviously it was a very proud moment, what an atmosphere and what a game to play in.”

“I was pleased with how I played, although obviously very disappointed with the result.”

The defender hopes he proved his worth to O’Neill and showed himself worthy of a continued role in the team for the remaining games of the campaign.

“Hopefully I haven’t let him down and there’s more to come.”

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