Published: 22:31 | 12/10/19

McCarthy hails 'lively' Connolly after Georgia draw

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy praised debutant Aaron Connolly's "lively" performance from the bench in Saturday's Euro 2020 Group D 0-0 qualifier draw with Georgia in Tblisi.

The 19-year-old, who scored twice in Brighton's 3-0 Premier League win over Tottenham on Saturday, had two chances to break the deadlock in his 11 minutes on the pitch at the Boris Paichadze Arena, but saw his first effort saved by Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Loria and his second shot hit the side-netting.

"He's lively. I'm delighted with him," McCarthy told RTE after the match.

"The one where he got in, I fancied him to score. I thought it was going to be a perfect debut."

Galway native Connolly admits he left the pitch with mixed emotions, having failed to cap his full international debut with a goal.

"Like every striker, I feel I have to score that at 0-0 in a game like that," he said.

"I should have scored. It's disappointing, but I feel proud as well. 

"The confidence levels are quite high because of last week and I felt if I came on, I would make an impact. 

"I feel like I did, but at the end of the day I feel like I should have scored as well. It's disappointing."

Ireland need a win from one of their final two matches, away to Switzerland on Tuesday or at home to Denmark on 18 November, to progress to next summer's finals.

By Nick Royle

Photo: Inpho/Ryan Byrne


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