After signing for Hull City on loan earlier this month, there was a sense that this could be Aaron Connolly's final opportunity to get his career back on track at a high level.
His form has dipped off to a remarkable degree over the last couple of years, falling out of favour at Brighton before having unsuccessful loan spells at Middlesbrough and Venezia.
Since arriving back in England, the noises coming from the player himself suggested that he may have learned from his past mistakes. Connolly has readily admitted that he had perhaps not been as professional as he should have at times during his career.
If this afternoon is anything to go by, he may be on the mend.
Aaron Connolly scores brace during impressive performance
Turning 23-years old today, Aaron Connolly was given the perfect birthday present in the form of a brace in Hull City's 3-0 victory over QPR.
The Galway native got his first goal for the club in the 10th minute of the game, powering home from inside the box to give his side the lead. He was helped out by a slight deflection along the way.
HULL CITY 1:0 QPR#hcafc pic.twitter.com/EV3moJdlDS
— Hull City GOALS LIVE (@hull_goals) January 28, 2023
Here is the strike from another angle.
Embarrassing ‘defending’ pic.twitter.com/BNSWeNKWoe
— Ronnie T (@hunty699) January 28, 2023
His second goal was pure quality.
Connolly got in behind thanks to a long ball over the top, pulling off a gorgeous touch to take the ball down before finishing smartly beyond the opposition goalkeeper.
Aaron Connolly’s second goal🇮🇪☘️
What a touch🔥 pic.twitter.com/HhiEOrUhsj
— Rep of Ireland Player Tracker (@reptracker) January 28, 2023
These were Connolly's first goals since March of last year. He will now be hoping that he can kick on from here and have a successful second half of the campaign at Hull.
Should he do so, he would likely come back into the international fold. His last cap for Ireland at senior level came in September of 2021.