Aaron Connolly: 'It's a brilliant feeling' for Republic of Ireland debutant

Aaron Connolly scored twice for Brighton on his Premier League debut in the win over Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month
Aaron Connolly scored twice for Brighton on his Premier League debut in the win over Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month

Aaron Connolly believes the Republic of Ireland can still reach Euro 2020 despite a disappointing result on his first international start.

Connolly, 19, made his full debut in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat by Switzerland.

The teenager scored twice for Brighton on his Premier League debut and says the past few weeks have been "crazy".

"It's something I've dreamed of as a kid, it's every Irish kid's dream to play for his country and to do it at 19 is a brilliant feeling," Connolly said.

After a sensational start to his Premier League career earlier this month, bagging two goals in Brighton's 3-0 win over Tottenham, the Galway-born striker was immediately called up to the Republic's squad for the back-to-back qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland.

Mick McCarthy's side took just one point from the trips to Tbilisi and Geneva, but victory over Denmark on 18 November in Dublin will guarantee automatic qualification to next summer's Euro 2020 finals.

"Everyone was saying afterwards 'one win' and that is still the goal, we are still there," insisted Connolly.

"One win in all we need and it's a big one now in November."

Reflecting on the loss in Geneva, Connolly said: "It was a disappointing end to my full debut.

"I've been watching and wanted to play for my country since I can remember and it was a proud night for me and my family.

"On a full debut you'd hope for more, a goal or at least a win, but we move on."

Shane Duffy has scored three goals for the Republic of Ireland in 32 appearances
Shane Duffy has scored three goals for the Republic of Ireland in 32 appearances

Republic defender Shane Duffy rued a couple of missed opportunities to score in the back-to-back qualifiers but is confident the team can make it to the European Championship finals for the second successive time.

They reached Euro 2016 in France under previous boss Martin O'Neill and lost a World Cup play-off to Denmark - who once again stand in their way of qualification for a major tournament.

"I had a few chances in the last few games that I'm disappointed about, but hopefully I'm keeping them for the Denmark game," he said.

"In football you get a lot of setbacks and that's our first one in this group, our first defeat.

"Everyone is disappointed but in front of our home fans there would be no better way [to qualify].

"The manager has been great, even know we lost he picks you up and we've got some good leaders in there.

"I believe, the lads believe, we're good enough. We know we're a hard team to beat and we know we can play better.

"Hopefully it all clicks in one game against Denmark. We want to get there next year and the fans deserve it."

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England65012662015
2Czech Rep6402119212
3Kosovo63211210211
4Montenegro7034315-123
5Bulgaria7034517-123

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ukraine76101521319
2Portugal6321146811
3Serbia63121213-110
4Luxembourg6114511-64
5Lithuania7016519-141

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands65011971215
2Germany65012061415
3Northern Ireland640287112
4Belarus7115412-84
5Estonia7016221-191

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1R. of Ireland733164212
2Denmark63301651112
3Switzerland6321125711
4Georgia7223710-38
5Gibraltar6006219-170

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia7421146814
2Hungary740389-112
3Slovakia6312108210
4Wales62226608
5Azerbaijan6015514-91

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain86201951420
2Sweden8431189915
3Romania8422178914
4Norway82511310311
5Faroe Islands8107423-193
6Malta8107218-163

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland86111321119
2Austria85121771016
3North Macedonia83231011-111
4Slovenia8323138511
5Israel83231515011
6Latvia8008227-250

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Turkey86111631319
2France86112151619
3Iceland85031210215
4Albania84041410412
5Andorra8107116-153
6Moldova8107222-203

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium88003012924
2Russia87012742321
3Cyprus83141312110
4Scotland83051117-69
5Kazakhstan8215913-47
6San Marino8008043-430

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Italy88002532224
2Finland8503128415
3Armenia83141315-210
4Bos-Herze83141714310
5Greece8224913-48
6Liechtenstein8026225-232
View full European Championship Qualifying tables

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