Tyro Connolly deserves Ireland call, says McCarthy

Following his dream debut in the Premier League on Saturday, Aaron Connolly will take his first steps as a senior Ireland international when he trains with the rest of Mick McCarthy’s squad in Abbotstown this afternoon.

Tyro Connolly deserves Ireland call, says McCarthy

Following his dream debut in the Premier League on Saturday, Aaron Connolly will take his first steps as a senior Ireland international when he trains with the rest of Mick McCarthy’s squad in Abbotstown this afternoon.

The 19-year-old Galwegian was Brighton’s man of the match in their 3-0 win against Spurs and, after scoring twice in his first top-flight start, was accorded a standing ovation in the Amex Stadium and later feted for his performance on BBC’s

Match of the Day.

A hamstring injury which has ruled out Portsmouth’s Ronan Curtis was the official reason for Connolly’s call-up for the double-header away to Georgia and Switzerland but, over the last week or so, both Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny — who now loses Connolly for the U21’s sellout game against Italy in Tallaght on Thursday — had been strongly hinting that the exciting Brighton forward was on the brink of being fast-tracked into the senior set-up.

“I’ve said all along that any young player who is getting first team football and playing well would be a real contender for the squad for these games,” McCarthy said yesterday.

“Aaron has got into the Brighton team, played well and scored, so he deserves this chance.

Jeff (Hendrick), Conor (Hourihane) and Scott (Hogan) were on the scoresheet as well on Saturday so they will be buzzing looking ahead to Georgia and Switzerland.

However, the manager won’t finalise the squad which flies out to Tbilisi on Thursday until he has given Shane Duffy and David McGoldrick every chance to recover from injury.

“Our medical team are in constant touch with the two clubs and monitoring the treatment programmes and progress for both Shane and David,” McCarthy told FAI.ie.

“We will give both of them as much time as we can before making that decision. Both Brighton and Sheffield United are doing everything they can to get them fit for us and I would like to thank them for their co-operation.

Connolly and Derrick Williams, the latter called up after injuries to his Blackburn team mates Greg Cunningham and Darragh Lenihan, arrived in camp yesterday.

Ross County winger Simon Power, who is on loan from Norwich City, has been drafted into Kenny’s U21 squad to replace Connolly.

Meanwhile, Mick McCarthy has said that he will not “renege” on the succession deal which will see Stephen Kenny take over as senior manager next year.

Speaking to Paul Kimmage in the Sunday Independent, McCarthy said: “If we had bad results they would be crying for Stephen now but we’ve had good results so they’re trying to find some reason I would stay. What if we win the Euros? Listen, I want to fly to the moon but it’s not going to happen so let’s clear that up.

“We haven’t even qualified yet. We’ve got the three hardest games to come so, please god, we qualify and have a great time and I can walk away saying, ‘crack on Stephen’. That’s the contract and I’m not going to renege on it.”

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