Richard Keogh has urged the Republic of Ireland to ensure Wales walk into a storm as they attempt to gain revenge for their Nations League humbling in Cardiff.
Ireland found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline when the sides met in Welsh boss Ryan Giggs’ first competitive game in charge last month, meaning Tuesday’s return at the Aviva Stadium was always going to have an edge.
However, the game will now have added significance with Ireland having belatedly opened their Nations League account with a point from Saturday’s attritional 0-0 home draw with Denmark, a performance and a result which did little to appease manager Martin O’Neill’s critics.
Keogh, who played in a 1-1 friendly draw in Poland five days after the debacle in Cardiff, said: “We know it’s going to be another tough game. We didn’t have a great result there, but after the Poland performance and this performance, I think there’s a lot to build on.
“We’ll recover now and we know we’ve got to have another big effort on Tuesday night. They’ll obviously come here to try and win the game, but we’re at home so we’ve got to make sure we make the atmosphere like it was tonight and we’ve got to get around them.
“We’ve got to put them under pressure a bit and have more moments like we did tonight towards the end. We’re looking forward to the game.”
The Republic’s hopes of reprising their 1-0 World Cup qualifier win in Wales 12 months ago have been boosted by Gareth Bale’s injury problems, although they were able to create little of note against a Denmark side robbed of the talent of star man Christian Eriksen, who scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 romp the last time the teams crossed paths in Dublin.
Indeed, their best chance came from makeshift midfielder Cyrus Christie, who forced a solid save from keeper Kasper Schmeichel, and it took a goal-line clearance from Harry Arter, back in the team after resolving his issues with assistant manager Roy Keane, to deny defender Simon Kjaer a winner.
Keogh said: “We knew what threat they posed, but I think a draw was probably a fair result.
“We had a couple of chances, they obviously hit the post and had one cleared off the line, but for all the possession they had I don’t think they tested [keeper] Darren [Randolph] too much. On another day we could have nicked it.
“A clean sheet is a real positive for us. It’s a good base for us to move forward.”
Keogh was making his first competitive appearance for Ireland since a 0-0 World Cup qualifier draw with Wales in Dublin in March last year, and to do so while wearing the captain’s armband was a source of pride.
The 32-year-old Derby defender said: “It’s the biggest honour I’ve ever had in my career, I’ve said that before. If you’d have said to me when I was a young boy that I’d captain my country, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“To do it four times and for the manager to put that trust in me is a big thing for me.”