Monday 14 October 2019

'I love making them proud' - Aaron Connolly rues missed chance to reward parents for Tbilisi trip

Ireland's Aaron Connolly takes a shot under pressure from Gia Grigalava of Georgia during the Euro 2020 qualifier in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ireland's Aaron Connolly takes a shot under pressure from Gia Grigalava of Georgia during the Euro 2020 qualifier in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Aaron Connolly insists he regrets not taking one of his two late chances in the Euro 2020 qualifying draw against Georgia in Tbilisi.

The Brighton youngster came on in the 78th minute to make his senior Ireland debut, and he almost immediately made his mark on the game, producing a save from the Georgian keeper in the 81st minute.

Connolly then had a chance at the end, but his shot found the side-netting.

When asked if he had a sleepless night before the game, Connolly joked: "I'll probably have a sleepless night after that.

"My parents came over through Istanbul and made it here around five o'clock this morning.

"I'm delighted they're here. I love making them proud and it would have been nice to score one of those chances."

Ireland's Aaron Connolly and manager Mick McCarthy as he comes on as a substitute for James Collins during the Euro 2020 qualifier
Ireland's Aaron Connolly and manager Mick McCarthy as he comes on as a substitute for James Collins during the Euro 2020 qualifier

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy, meanwhile, was glad of the point.

"It's a point gained. They're a very good side. Had you offered me four points against Georgia at the start of the campaign, I'd have taken it," he said.

"We've come away from home and secured a point. Aaron Connolly was unlucky. He had a shot on target. Darren's (Randolph) not made a save.

"I'm going to be happy with a point. They closed us down. We gave the ball away far too often.

"Obviously I'd like to have won the game.

"James Collins had a right scrap and we didn't make the most of those scraps.

"But Aaron Connolly did well and he's given me some nice headaches."

Meanwhile, Man of the Match John Egan, blasted the state of the Boris Paichadze Erovnuli Stadium pitch.

"Sometimes you just need a bit of luck. Unfortunately it hit the post," said Egan.

"The pitch out there is like a rock. It's like concrete. With a bit of luck we could have nicked it.

"We still have two games. It's a tough place to come and get a win. So we move on now to Tuesday. It's going to be a tough game out there."

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