Aaron Connolly's meteoric rise has been capped with a call up to the Ireland senior squad this week.
The Galway-born forward has looked impressive since breaking into the Brighton first team this season and scored two of his side’s three goals against Tottenham at the weekend.
Ireland have often struggled for goals since Robbie Keane’s retirement and the 19 year-old’s emergence gives Mick McCarthy fresh options at a critical juncture in Ireland’s Euro 2020 campaign.
It’s a particularly timely boost with Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick ruled out of the upcoming double header against Georgia and Switzerland.
“I’ve said all along that any young player who is getting first-team football and playing well would be a real contender for the squad for these games,” said the Ireland boss at the weekend.
“Aaron has got into the Brighton team, played well and scored, so he deserves this chance.
“The first bonus this weekend was to see so many of our players started for their clubs and the second bonus was the fact that some of them [Conor Hourihane and Jeff Hendrick as well as Connolly] scored as well.”
Connolly was close to getting off the mark in Brighton’s previous match against Newcastle away and believes there is more to come.
“I can’t really describe it at the moment, I feel speechless and I don’t think it will sink in for a while,” he said after the match.
“I know I won’t be sleeping this evening.
"I’ve been close to scoring in the last few matches but thankfully it’s come today, and I’ve scored twice.
"It’s the proudest moment of my career so far and now I want to push on for more.”