It was a busy night for Irish players in the League Cup, particularly for three of the country’s most promising young forwards.
Adam Idah (18) made the first senior start of his career, starting up-front for Norwich City in their shock 1-0 defeat against Crawley Town.
Michael Obafemi (19), the youngest Ireland player to score in the Premier League, made his first start of the season for Southampton in their League Cup win over Fulham.
While Aaron Connolly (19) made his first start for Brighton and Hove Albion. Two of the three Irish strikers found the net.
Aaron Connolly starts up-front for Brighton in their League Cup tie against Bristol Rovers 🙌
The 19-year-old striker from Galway is making his first start for the club after tearing it up in the Premier League 2 last season, when he was named player of the year 🇮🇪👊#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/dxl0D8rXns
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) August 27, 2019
Connolly was named player of the year in Premier League 2 last season. The 19-year-old got his first taste of first-team action this campaign with a start against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night, a match Brighton won 2-1.
The Galway-native has been due a chance in the first-team for quite some time. He scored 15 goals for the reserves last season and has already netted three in the opening two games of this season. Connolly also impressed for Stephen Kenny’s Ireland under-21 side at the Toulon Tournament earlier this summer and didn’t let manager Graham Potter down against Bristol.
The striker opened the scoring with a clever left-footed finish after the ball bounced to him just outside the six-yard box.
Obafemi also found the net. The Southampton forward got the opening goal of the game against Fulham at Craven Cottage, tapping in at the back post.
However, Obafemi’s night was tarnished after being forced off injured soon after scoring. Irish striker Shane Long was a late substitute in the game.
Meanwhile, Conor Hourihane scored twice for Aston Villa in their cup tie away to Crewe Alexandra, a match Villa won 6-1.
The Cork-native started Villa’s first game of the Premier League season away to Tottenham Hotspur but missed their next two matches, replaced by summer signing Douglas Luiz. However, Hourihane made his mark on his return to the side, finishing off a fine passing move by Dean Smith’s team.
The Ireland midfielder got his second goal and Villa’s third just before half-time, heading home a cross from the left-wing.
Elsewhere, Ireland under-21 international Josh Barrett scored twice for Reading in their tie against Plymouth.
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) August 27, 2019
Barrett’s second goal was a stunning strike from the edge of the penalty area.