Football

Aaron Connolly Says Hurling Days Helped Prepare Him For Premier League

Aaron Connolly Says Hurling Days Helped Prepare Him For Premier League

Aaron Connolly burst onto the scene with a brace against Spurs in the Premier League last October, and while the goals didn't continue at that rate throughout the campaign, it was difficult not to be impressed with his debut season.

The way the 20-year old bounced back from setbacks was admirable, finishing off the season with a cracking goal on the final day. He will be looking to push on at club level next season, with international ambitions also one of his goals moving forward.

Connolly is an exciting player to watch. He has no shortage of pace and power, and is also deceptively strong despite his diminutive status. He certainly had no trouble adapting to the Premier League, something he says was helped by playing GAA in his younger days.

Appearing on RTÉ 2fm's Game On, the Galway native said his days playing underage hurling with Castlegar have paid dividends since his move to England.

Obviously it’s a lot different running around a hurling pitch than a football pitch, because there aren’t hurls flying around everywhere!

Being able to take on them on the shins is a lot different to a shoulder on the football pitch.

It helped a lot and I’m glad I played hurling.

It was a sport I loved as much as football when I was younger but once the chance came to come across to England, I couldn’t really turn it down.

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Posted by Castlegar Gaa on Sunday, October 6, 2019

It was a campaign filled with special moments for the youngster, including his first goal and an international debut.

However, he said one 'pinch me' moment stood out:

I made my debut against Manchester City away and I see Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

Aguero is someone I’ve admired for years so to come on and see him on the same pitch as me was a bit of a 'pinch me’ moment.

Me and Dad went to a restaurant after [the Spurs game] and I don't see much emotion from Dad but that day was different.

That made me realise how much it meant to my family and to myself.

It’s just about making them proud because they’ve sacrificed a lot for me as well, and to let me go over to England at 16 with not much of an education really was a big thing for them.

I felt that that was kind of the day that I paid them back for the trust and the sacrifices that they made for me.

Connolly will be hoping to be part of Stephen Kenny's first Ireland squad when it is named on Monday, with the forward having the potential to be a key player under the new manager.

SEE ALSO: Dispelling The Myth That Aaron Connolly Can't Play On The Wing For Ireland

Gary Connaughton

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