RICHARD Keogh says leading out the Republic of Ireland as captain was the proudest moment of his career, writes Chris Watson.
The Derby County skipper was handed the armband by national boss Martin O'Neill for Wednesday night's friendly against Oman in Dublin.
The 28-year-old defender stepped in for regular captain Robbie Keane, who was named among the substitutes.
Keogh (pictured), winning only his fourth international cap, helped Ireland to a 2-0 victory at the Aviva Stadium.
The centre-back captained Derby at Wembley in May, ultimately suffering play-off final heartache against QPR, but felt this latest achievement topped even that.
"This was the proudest moment of my career and when the gaffer (O'Neill) said I was going to be captain, I was lost for words," said Keogh.
"Walking out onto that pitch is something I will remember forever and I thank him for that.
"I'm over the moon – it couldn't have gone any better."
Keogh will be hoping to taste competitive action for the first time on the international stage for the first time this weekend.
Ireland begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Georgia at the Boris Paichadze National Stadium in Tblisi on Sunday (5pm kick-off UK time).
Also in their group are world champions Germany, Scotland, Poland and Gibraltar.
Keogh was linked with a move to Premier League new boys Burnley during the summer transfer window but the Rams are hoping he will sign a new contract when he returns from international duty.