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Daniel McDonnell: 'Richard Keogh sacking by Derby is a business decision, not a moral one'

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Richard Keogh. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Richard Keogh. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Richard Keogh. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

In the aftermath of the car crash which may unfortunately overshadow any achievements from Richard Keogh’s career, Ireland manager Mick McCarthy was sympathetic.

Age was one of the factors that he referenced in explaining that stance, even though age is probably one of the reasons that you would expect a senior player to behave in a responsible manner.

He will have to live with the consequences of getting into Tom Lawrence’s car for the rest of his days.

And, ultimately, the rights and wrongs of the football response to this affair should not take away from the basic fact that all involved were lucky that nobody died.

Innocent people are often the victims of reckless drink-driving actions.

McCarthy's compassion went beyond his positive view of Keogh as a person and the observation that he wasn't actually the one who sat in behind the wheel. He doesn't even drive.

But he articulated the view that Keogh would be in bother because of the stage of his career that he's reached. He turns 34 next August.

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Richard Keogh has been ruled out for 15 months with a knee injury sustained in the crash

Richard Keogh has been ruled out for 15 months with a knee injury sustained in the crash

Richard Keogh has been ruled out for 15 months with a knee injury sustained in the crash

"I do feel desperately sorry for him because at his age and with the injury that he's got, it's career-threatening, there is no doubt about that," he said.

Those words sprung to mind in the aftermath of the confirmation that Derby have chosen to sack Keogh for his part in the incident, which happened last month.

It followed his refusal to accept a chunky paycut in order to stay on the books for the remainder of his 18-month contract.

Derby obviously feel within their rights to sack the defender for gross misconduct.

"As we have said from the outset, the Club will not tolerate any of its players or staff behaving in a manner which puts themselves, their colleagues, and members of the general public at risk of injury or worse, or which brings the club into disrepute," read a club statement.

One can safely assume that they would have considered legal advice very carefully before taking that course of action.

Keogh has also consulted with lawyers and the PFA are involved, so it's certain that we haven't heard the last of Derby's decision.

From the outset, it was made clear that Derby were particularly unimpressed that Keogh was part of the group that opted to stay out when other players went home from a club-sanctioned night out.

He was singled out in their initial statement reacting to the shameful episode. The drivers, Lawrence and Mason Bennett, were not mentioned by name.

It was assumed that Derby were waiting for that duo to go through the legal process.

They subsequently were fined, banned from driving and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

Derby resisted calls for the younger pair to be sacked.

Lawrence is 25. Bennett is 23. The latter is on the fringes, but Lawrence has played a full part in recent games whereas Keogh is now out of a job.

Those who are fit and well enough to help the club win points can forget about the damage done by their pints.

It helps that they are young enough to have a sell-on value.

Derby County might cite moral factors for their Keogh stance, but let's be blunt; this is a business decision.

Online Editors