Aaron Connolly, having netted two goals on his full Premier League debut as Brighton beat Tottenham 3-0 today, has been called into the Republic of Ireland. Blackburn defender Derrick Williams has also been added to Mick McCarthy’s squad for the pivotal UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches away to Georgia and in Geneva against Switzerland.
With Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick a serious doubt and Portsmouth’s Ronan Curtis now ruled out of the upcoming international matches with a hamstring injury, McCarthy has brought in Connolly.
The 19-year-old Galway native was in contention for a call up to the senior Ireland squad before today with his chances linked to those of McGoldrick, who has been injured for a few weeks.
Williams meanwhile comes in after Greg Cunningham and Darragh Lenihan suffered knee injuries today.
“Aaron and Derrick will join up with the squad on Sunday after injuries to Ronan, Greg and Darragh,” McCarthy said this evening. “I have spoken to Aaron and Derrick and they are looking forward to meeting up with us. Aaron enjoyed his full debut for Brighton and we have been keeping a close eye on his progress this season.”
Connolly said he was expecting a sleepless night after his goal-scoring exploits against Spurs and that the performance was the “proudest moment,” of his career so far, something made all the more special because his father had flown over from Ireland on the basis that the teenager might start the game. “I looked up to celebrate with him when I got the second goal,” said the happy teenager after today’s game.
Other Irish scorers in the Premier League today were Cork native Conor Hourihane who netted for Aston Villa in the Villains’ 5-1 win over Norwich City and Jeff Hendrick who scored the only goal in Burnley’s 1-0 win over Everton, with the Toffees having Ireland captain Séamus Coleman sent off with the score still 0-0 some 11 minutes into the second-half of that game.