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28th Aug 2019

Irish players combine for seven goals on wild night of League Cup action

Patrick McCarry

League Cup

There were goals all over the shop in the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday night, and five Irish players were in the mix.

The League Cup moved into the second round stage and so to did the Premier League clubs that have no European commitments this season. There was plenty of Irish involvement, too, and U21 boss Stephen Kenny will be catching up on videos and scouting reports for the rest of the week.

There is an absolute bundle to get through, so let’s get you started on the goalscorers:

Josh Barrett (x2) – Reading

The Ireland U21 attacking midfielder bagged a brace for Reading – including a free-kick stunner – to help them to a 4-2 win over Plymouth. The game was 2-2 after Barrett’s two goals but forward Yakou Meite stepped up with two late goals to see them home.

“You work to get these opportunities and make an impact,” a delighted Barrett said after the match.

Conor Hourihane (x2) – Aston Villa

The Cork native helped himself to a double as Villa followed up their Premier League win with a 6-1 victory over Crewe. Hourihane’s goals made it 2-1 then 3-1 before Villa put the foot on the throttle and went through in style.

Michael Obafemi (x1) – Southampton

Aged 19 and 52 days, Obafemi became the youngest League Cup goalscorer for the Saints since Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. The full international scored a two-yard stunner/tap-in to help his side beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

Obafemi’s pace to get into box, then his awareness to hold and time his run to the back post, was very impressive:

Aaron Connolly (x1) – Brighton

First senior goal and a man of the match award, to boot. It was a great night at the office for the Ireland U21 striker. Connolly’s goal was very much the poacher’s finish as he fired crisply home after a shot on goal, from distance, deflected into his path.

That strike, and Glenn Murray’s goal, gave Graham Potter’s side a 2-1 won over Bristol Rovers.

Brighton teammate Shane Duffy certainly approved:

Alan Sheehan (x1) – Luton

The 32-year-old from Athlone scored a lovely free-kick for Luton a they deposited Cardiff City from the cup. Sheehan, who made five Ireland U21 appearances over a decade ago, has played with Leicester City and Leeds United in the past but has been at Luton these past three years.

Among the other notable Irish outings, there was a clean sheet for Manchester United’s on-loan goalkeeper, and Ireland U21 international, Kieran O’Hara as his Burton Albion dismantled Morecambe 4-0.

Forward Adam Idah got a start for Norwich City but could not help them avoid a shock loss to Crawley Town, who started Reece Grego-Cox in midfield. James McCarthy was on the losing side for Crystal Palace as they followed up their Premier League win over Manchester United by losing on penalties to Colchester.

There were penalty shoot-out goals for Alan Browne – as Preston beat Hull – and Shaun Williams but his successful spot-kick could not prevent Millwall from being eliminated by Oxford.

Elsewhere, Enda Stevens came off the bench in Sheffield United’s 3-1 win over a Blackburn Rovers side containing Derrick Williams, Darragh Lenihan and Greg Cunningham.

More Ireland internationals and underage players are expected to be in action this evening as the second round games roll on.