Republic of Ireland: Aaron Connolly debut would be no gamble - Mick McCarthy

Galway-born teenager Aaron Connolly was named man of the match after scoring twice for Brighton on his first Premier League start
Galway-born teenager Aaron Connolly was named man of the match after scoring twice for Brighton on his first Premier League start

Mick McCarthy says the Premier League's new scoring sensation Aaron Connolly has "every chance" of playing in the Republic of Ireland's Euro qualifiers.

The Galway teenager, 19, marked his first league start for Brighton with two goals in Saturday's win over Spurs.

Republic boss McCarthy then called him into his squad for the vital qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland.

When asked if it was a gamble, McCarthy replied: "I wouldn't have put him in the squad if I thought that, so no."

Connolly was originally selected in Stephen Kenny's U21s squad, and McCarthy has said he would not take players with the senior side to leave them sitting on the bench.

That suggests Connolly may well be involved in the away double-header against Georgia and Switzerland, potentially making his senior international debut in Saturday's game in Tbilisi.

Mick McCarthy has led the unbeaten Republic of Ireland to top spot in their group with three wins and two draws in five qualifiers
Mick McCarthy has led the unbeaten Republic of Ireland to top spot in their group with three wins and two draws in five qualifiers

"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," said McCarthy, who was impressed with Connolly's brace for Brighton.

"His goals were both very good.

"People talk about his second one. I thought his first one was brilliant, because his movement was good.

"I think he's very quick, very direct, he's happy to take people on, his movement is very good and his hold up play is very good.

"He plays with personality, and he's got a bit of aggression in him, which I really like.

"He looks like he is enjoying it, looks like he's thriving on it, like he really wants to be out there."