Brighton’s Aaron Connolly enjoys Republic of Ireland chance

Aaron Connolly insists he is “hungrier than ever” to return to Albion after shining in an Under-21 international.

The forward caught the eye with the Republic of Ireland in a 1-1 draw with Israel.

Albion striker Evan Ferguson drove home in the first leg of the Euro qualifying playoffs.

Connolly is on loan at Venezia and previously appeared to have hinted his time at Albion could be over.

However, after the Dublin game he said: “I loved it to be honest. It’s been a while. Certain things have been going on and such, but playing in a big game in front of this audience.

“Playing with the boys is great. I loved every minute of it.

“Like I said, I’ve got my love for the game back. When the love of the game goes, it’s hard to perform on the pitch. It’s hard trying to do your best every day.

“When I went to Italy, I rediscovered my love for sport. Even though the pre-season almost stopped me from doing it! But it helped me.

“You can probably see it out there – I’m fit, I’m hungrier than ever to get back to the Irish first-team and Brighton.”

Connolly is confident the Irish can win the away game tomorrow and progress.

He almost scored late to give them an advantage for Tel Aviv and said: ‘That really sums up the last year and a half of my career.

“As soon as one goes in, I hope they all come back.”

Connolly, who is contracted to Albion until 2024, has made a modest start at Venezia but has looked good in the Ireland 21s. Brighton’s Aaron Connolly enjoys Republic of Ireland chance

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