Monday 23 September 2019

Joy for Aaron Connolly after Carabao Cup goal on big night for Irish youngsters

Brighton & Hove Albion's Aaron Connolly celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Carabao Cup Second Round match at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol. David Davies/PA Wire.
Brighton & Hove Albion's Aaron Connolly celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Carabao Cup Second Round match at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol. David Davies/PA Wire.
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Galway teenager Aaron Connolly enjoyed a night to remember by marking his first start for Brighton with a goal in an EFL Cup win at Bristol Rovers.

His breakthrough was a standout moment on a big night for young Irish players.

Connolly made his case for greater involvement under Graham Potter by breaking the deadlock after half-time and then playing all 90 minutes in a 2-1 victory for the Premier League side.

The left-sided attacker starred for their U-23 team last term and has now put himself firmly in the first team picture. Michael Obafemi got off the mark for the season by scoring the only goal of Southampton’s away day with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The 19-year-old was preferred to second-half sub Shane Long and vindicated that call by converting a close-range winner, however he then left the field injured in the second period.

Highly-rated Corkman Adam Idah also took a step forward in his career by starting away to Crawley Town but the night ended in disappointment as the Premier League side – who made 11 changes – lost out to their League Two hosts.

West Ham’s Conor Coventry, another member of Stephen Kenny’s U-21 panel, came off the bench as they eased past Newport County.

His midfield colleague Jayson Molumby is on loan from Brighton to Millwall and was selected for a dramatic 2-2 draw at Oxford that ended in elimination via penalties.

Mick McCarthy trims down his senior Ireland squad tomorrow and James McCarthy played his first 90 minutes for Crystal Palace against Colchester.

But the exercise didn’t end well as the League Two side enjoyed a shock penalty shootout success following a scoreless affair.

Conor Hourihane was restored to the Aston Villa line-up for the 6-1 drubbing of Crewe and the Irish midfielder got on the score-sheet.

Elsewhere, under pressure Stoke boss Nathan Jones received a welcome boost with a penalty success over Leeds at Elland Road with struggling goalkeeper Jack Butland converting the fifth penalty.

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