RICHARD Keogh tasted the highs and lows of football in 90 minutes at Wembley on Saturday.
Leading out Derby County for the Championship play-off final against Queen’s Park Rangers was a moment the Rams skipper will never forget.
The 90th minute of the game, however, produced a moment he will want to forget, as his mistake handed Bobby Zamora the chance to smash home Rangers’ last-gasp winner.
Derby fans have rallied around Keogh, who left the Wembley pitch in tears.
He has welcomed the many messages of support and now his Republic of Ireland team-mates are ready to help ease Keogh’s play-off pain.
The Rams defender will join up with the squad for the friendlies against Italy at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Saturday and the games against Costa Rica and Portugal in the United States.
“Richard will get over Saturday,” said Sunderland defender John O’Shea.
“He’s a fantastic player – he’s probably been one of Derby’s best players, if not the best player, this season.
“It’s just one of those things in football.
“His disappointment was clear to see for everyone, and if he comes into the squad, it will be great if we see him because we will pick him up.
“I know Richard, the type of lad he is.
“He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic fellah as well, so he will get over it and come back bigger and better and stronger.”
Another Republic of Ireland international, Richard Dunne, was on the winning side with Rangers and produced an immense performance as the Rams searched for a goal.
The 34-year-old is not available for the Republic’s end-of-season friendlies, but O’Shea has few doubts about what Dunne still has to offer.
“You have no need to tell me that, I have played alongside Richard long enough to know what a quality player he is,” said O’Shea.
“He had his magnet hat on again at Wembley on Saturday.
“Everything was just directed to him and he was in the right position to clear.
“It’s hugely disappointing for the Derby lads, the Irish lads especially, because we know how hard they worked and how well they have played all this season too.
“To come down to that is gutting for them but obviously for Kevin Doyle and Richard Dunne, it’s pleasing for them.”