Aaron Connolly extremely hard on himself after 'gutting' missed chances 4 weeks ago

Aaron Connolly extremely hard on himself after 'gutting' missed chances

Aaron Connolly expects to score goals.

He's not interested in moral victories. He's not here to ease himself into international football.

Ireland were fairly poor for 80-odd minutes in Tbilisi on Saturday afternoon. From the word go, the team were flat as the lively Georgians controlled the game and created a whole host of chances.

Ireland were crying out for a spark. An injection of pace, an out-ball and someone to take the initiative. In his international debut and with just ten minutes to make a name for himself, young Galway man Aaron Connolly did just that.

He pleaded for the ball. He was out in front of his opponents and then he was off running in behind them too. Within minutes of his arrival, the whole Ireland team seemed resurgent.

The electric Connolly had such a huge impact on the rest of them. And it nearly ended in a dream debut. Twice, the former Mervue United star's pace got him into dangerous areas and were it not for a bobble on the pitch, he could well have sealed a priceless victory for the boys in green.

Afterwards, Tony O'Donoghue caught up with the man of the moment on RTÉ and though he was proud to have made his debut, the 19-year-old was 'gutted' not to have struck the winner.

"It's a proud moment for me and my family, and everyone that's helped me the whole way up. It's the proudest moment I've had," he began.

But then he cut to the chase. The Galway man expects to score goals. He's not satisfied with mediocrity. He says he'll have a sleepless night tonight.

"I probably should have scored. I'll have a sleepless night tonight after that one. At 0-0 in an international game, you've got to be scoring that one. It could have got the three points and could have been a great debut.

"At the end of the day, a striker is always going to think that...ah it's gutting. It was bobbling, but that's not really an excuse. I still think I should score.

This man has to start against Switzerland.

As for Mick McCarthy, he says Connolly's performance has given him a headache ahead of the Switzerland clash.

"James Collins had a right old scrap against those two (centre backs) and we won some scraps off him. Whether Aaron could do what James did, I don't know. He's come on, though, and given me some nice headaches," said the manager.