Young Brighton striker Aaron Connolly impressing Republic of Ireland teammate Conor Hourihane

Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly has already impressed one of his Republic of Ireland teammates Conor Hourihane following his first call up to the senior squad.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 2:34 pm
Aaron Connolly will hope to make his Republic of Ireland debut after his call-up to the senior squad

Connolly, 19, was added to the senior set-up following a phenomenal performance against Tottenham Hotspur in which he scored twice during a 3-0 win.

Hourihane, who has been at Aston Villa since 2017, said: “When he was banging in a few goals at the weekend that was no surprise to me (that he was called up to the senior team).

“He's got that energy and that work rate to give centre-halves a tough day at the office. He did that against Spurs on Saturday so I was delighted to see it. It's fantastic for him. It's always great for the Irish set up when there are lads doing well."

Connolly has made 24 appearances for the Republic of Ireland’s youth squads in the past, scoring nine goals.

Hourihane, who has been capped 14-times for his country, knows first-hand just how hard it is to play against the 19-year-old. The Irish duo could also face-off once again when Brighton travel to Aston Villa for their next Premier League fixture after the international break on October 19.

The Villa midfielder said, “I played against him a few weeks ago in the EFL Cup against Brighton and he played 60 minutes in that game and he gave our two centre-halves a tough, tough night.”

Connolly has received an abundance of praise since his debut start against Spurs, with Premier League-legend Alan Shearer hailing the Irishman as "magnificent".

Connolly will hope to make his full international debut on Saturday in Georgia or in his side’s following European Qualifier away against Switzerland.

And Ireland manager Mick McCarthy believes the young forward from Galway is ready. "If someone gets in the first team in the Premier League and is scoring goals, then he has every chance of getting in the team.

"His goals (against Spurs) were both very good. People talk about his second one. I thought his first one was brilliant, because his movement was good."