Saturday was a landmark day for Paudie O’Connor as the 20-year-old from Limerick made his Leeds United debut in the 1-1 Championship draw at home to Sunderland.
The defender, who joined the Elland Road outfit on a two-and-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee last year following a short trial, more than held his own on his first start, producing an assured display that won him praise from manager Paul Heckingbottom.
“Paudie did okay and we exposed him a little bit more than we would have liked,” Heckingbottom said. “It was a big ask for him but he stood up to it well. Paudie is a good character and he will be better for the experience.”
Reflecting on his first taste of life in the Championship, O’Connor said: “I think it went alright. The first 15-20 minutes was about settling in, getting used to the atmosphere, it was a lot different to what I’m used to. Once I got settled in, I felt I did okay.”
Elsewhere in the Championship, an early goal from Alex Pearce put play-off-chasing Derby on course for a 3-0 win over Bolton while it was another tough weekend for Mick McCarthy as Ipswich’s winless run stretched to six, five of which they failed to score in, after a 1-0 defeat at Brentford.
McCarthy’s reign as Ipswich boss will finish at the end of the season and the former Ireland boss was again on the receiving end of abuse from the fans.
“I can’t for one minute say it’s deserved, warranted or makes me feel warm and cuddly inside,” McCarthy said. “But hey ho, that’s the way it is. They’ve only got five more games to do it.”
In League One, Graham Carey held his nerve to score a stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot as Plymouth came from behind to beat Peterborough 2-1, a result that kept the Pilgrims on course for a play-off spot. The only other Irish scorer in the division was Cian Bolger but his headed effort came in a losing cause as Fleetwood were beaten 3-2 by Rotherham.
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