If this is a snapshot into a new era for Irish football, then buckle in for the ride. Aaron Connolly is already a star.
The Galway teenager started up front for Graham Potter's Brighton side this afternoon against Tottenham Hotspur and although Toby Alderweirald and Jan Vertonghen bring quite the reputation, the 19-year-old played them dismissed them like fodder on the schoolyard. The 19-year-old was simply immense.
His touch and spatial awareness for his first Premier League goal was impressive but his second goal took the breath away. He had been busy throughout the game but in the 65th minute he executed a perfectly-timed run to run onto a Lewis Dunk ball before taking on Alderweireld at the edge of the box.
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 5, 2019
After cutting inside he curled a neat effort inside the far post and into the corner of the net to send shockwaves through both Tottenham and the league. His display saw him become the first teenager to score a brace in the league since Kelechi Iheanacho achieved the same feat for Man City in May 2016.
The Galway teenager also becomes the 100th Irish scorer in the league, and the first Irish teenager to score a brace since Robbie Keane struck twice for Coventry against Derby County in 1999.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 5, 2019
Speaking to BT Sport at the final whistle, the 19-year-old said:
I can't really put it into words at the minute. Obviously, it's a dream come through. I've watched it since I was four or five maybe, watching Premier League years all the time.
To be playing in it and scoring in it is indescribable. I didn't really know how to celebrate. I just thought I'd run away. I can't really put it into words. I'm speechless at the minute.
There have been calls to see Connolly included in Mick McCarthy's squad for the upcoming qualifiers later this month, though he wasn't named in the initial squad.
But with a dearth of quality up front, today's performance may force the Irish manager into reconsidering his options up front, especially with David McGoldrick unlikely to make it back in time from injury.