Soccer star Keogh will pay 'heavy price' for his actions, say Derby
Richard Keogh feels "responsible" for the car accident which led to his season- ending knee injury and the arrest of two Derby County team-mates on suspicion of drink-driving.
Ireland football manager Mick McCarthy has now been plunged into a defensive crisis with another central defender, Shane Duffy, also expected to miss next month's crucial Euro 2020 qualifiers away to Georgia and Switzerland.
Keogh suffered the injury in Tuesday night's road accident in Derbyshire which saw Derby County team-mates Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence charged with drink-driving. Keogh was a passenger in Lawrence's vehicle.
In a forthright statement, Derby County confirmed Keogh will be out for the season and will pay a "heavy price" for his actions.
"The players were out as part of a scheduled team-building dinner with staff and while the majority of them acted responsibly and left at around 8pm and were not involved, a small group, including the team captain Richard Keogh, continued drinking into the night," read a statement.
"They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club and chose to stay out.
"As a result of an alcohol-related incident, Richard Keogh has sustained a serious knee injury that will prevent him from playing until the end of the season."
The club added that the players involved in Tuesday's incident will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under its code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.
"We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.
"Those involved in Tuesday's incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team."
The statement went onto read that the unsanctioned actions of this small group of players is totally at odds the stance that both Drinkaware and Derby County take in regards alcohol.
Meanwhile, Keogh is said to feel personally responsible for the crash. "It's having a huge effect on him personally," Derby manager Phillip Cocu told BBC Radio Derby.
"He's extremely down of course because he realises what's going on for him. I think he feels responsible, yes. More senior players always have to step up and take responsibility.
"It's an early stage to say but if we say he'll be out for the rest of the season, it's a very serious injury.
"It's a big deal losing an important player in Richard - we have to deal with it together.
"Individual mistakes have been made and as we communicated there will be consequences - we have serious matters to deal with and disciplinary actions will be taken."
Duffy has effectively been ruled out of the Euro 2020 qualifiers, but McCarthy will wait until next week's squad announcement to confirm this.
Meanwhile, the FAI has chosen to stay silent regarding the incident, refusing to comment at the time of going to press. "We are not commenting," a spokesperson said.
This is not the first time the 33-year-old has been involved in controversy within his club.
Only last month, pictures were published of Keogh with blood on his neck following an alleged row.
Derby manager Cocu confirmed that an investigation has been launched in relation to this incident, which took place in the aftermath of the club's defeat at local rivals Nottingham Forest.
"It's always negative if an incident happens on the pitch, especially after the game," Cocu told reporters. "At the moment both clubs are investigating what happened, so I can't say too much."