Football

'Anyone Who Has Seen Me Play For Derby Would Know It's Something That I Like To Do'

'Anyone Who Has Seen Me Play For Derby Would Know It's Something That I Like To Do'

An increased willingness by the Irish defence to play the ball out from the back was one of the noticeable and pleasing aspects of the victory over Georgia on Tuesday night.

Richard Keogh, who partnered Shane Duffy in the centre of that defence, said that was partially down to Mick McCarthy's knowledge of him garnered from years of encounters in the Championship.

"Anyone who has seen me play for Derby - not just this season but every season I've been at Derby - [would know] it's something that I like to do," said Keogh following the game.

"The gaffer knows me well and has played against me. He knows my strengths. Naturally, my game is about trying to get the ball and hit a few passes, trying to settle the team down.

"We've got great technical players all over the pitch. It makes it a lot easier for me to get the ball to them as quickly as possible. I thought we did that well."

Keogh felt that Ireland controlled the game. It was a considerable change from the last game between the two sides in 2017 when Georgia held 69 per cent of the possession.

"Even late on in the second half when they had a lot of ball, I thought we countered them very well, we could have easily scored two or three goals tonight," said Keogh.

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They're a good team, a bit of an underrated team. Technically, they've got some very good players. We're at home, we didn't want to let them get control of the ball. We wanted to put them under pressure and get around them. Then, when we got the ball, we wanted to take control, I thought we did that. We forced them into mistakes, played some nice football and deserved to win.

The recent turbulence off the pitch bounced onto it on Tuesday when fans launched tennis balls from the stands shortly after the half-hour mark. Keogh said that the players did not allow it to affect them.

"There was talk about it before. The manager talked about it in his press conference. If they wanted to do that, there's not much we could do about it. The fans felt that they needed to do it; we quickly got them off and Conor whips one in.

"As players, we just got on with it. It was good luck, wasn't it!"

Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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