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Mick McCarthy: Republic of Ireland boss ‘happy’ with 0-0 draw in Georgia

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Republic debutant Aaron Connolly missed a great late chance in Tbilisi

Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy insisted he was happy with a 0-0 draw in the Euro 2020 qualifier in Georgia as his side matched the result achieved by Group D rivals Denmark in June.

“Everybody has seen tonight they are a good side. We saw that against Denmark,” McCarthy told Sky Sports.

“Darren [Randolph] has not made a save but it was a tough game.”

Denmark meet Switzerland later on Saturday before the Irish face the Swiss in Geneva on Tuesday night.

A Republic victory in Tbilisi would have left them needing a win on Tuesday to guarantee qualification but Group D now looks certain to go through to the final series of fixtures in November when the Irish will host Denmark.

“I’m happy. We took a point. If somebody had said before the start that we would have taken four points from the games against Georgia, I would have taken that,” added McCarthy.

“We’ll watch them [Denmark and Switzerland] tonight and see what happens.

“Then we’ll get ready, go to Switzerland and try to beat them although we know they are a good team.

“It might all hinge on the Denmark game at home who knows but let’s take try and take care of Switzerland first.”

Mick McCarthy introduced Aaron Connolly for his Republic debut in the 79th minute

McCarthy impressed by Connolly’s late cameo

Brighton youngster Aaron Connolly went close to snatching a late Republic winner after coming on as a substitute and McCarthy praised the speedy 19-year-old, who hit two goals in his club’s recent Premier League win over Tottenham.

“He’s lively. I’m delighted with him.

“The one where he got in, I fancied him to score. I thought it was going to be a perfect debut.”

The Galway-born striker said making his senior international debut, after earning seven under-21 caps, “means the world”.

“It’s definitely up there with my proudest moment in football so far.”

After testing Georgia keeper Giorgi Loria moments after his introduction, Connolly then latched on to a long clearance from Glenn Whelan to race clear of the home defence but his left-foot effort hit the side-netting.

“As a striker in a situation like that, you have to score,” said the Brighton striker.

“It’s a bit gutting that I haven’t put it in the back of the net but we go on to Tuesday now.”

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