Republic of Ireland issue Aaron Connolly update after Covid-19 scare for Brighton star

Brighton striker Aaron Connolly could line up against Finland on Wednesday evening, six days after being ruled out of the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in Slovakia under coronavirus protocols.
Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron ConnollyBrighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly
Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly

Manager Stephen Kenny was dealt a major blow when the 20-year-old Brighton striker, who had been selected to start the game, and Norwich counterpart Adam Idah had to be withdrawn from the squad because a member of non-playing staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

Ireland ultimately lost the tie on penalties and, to rub salt into the wound, the Football Association revealed on the team’s return from Bratislava that the test in question had provided a “false positive” result, meaning the pair could have played after all.

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It is however a huge relief to all at Brighton and the striker should be available to play a key role in Sunday's Premier League clash at Albion's old rivals Crystal Palace.

An FAI statement on Monday morning said: “Republic of Ireland striker Aaron Connolly has rejoined the squad ahead of the Uefa Nations League match against Finland on Wednesday.

“Connolly has been given permission to rejoin the squad by the HSE (Health Service Executive) and travelled back to Dublin this morning.”

The two players had to sit out because they had been sitting within two metres of the supposedly infected staff member on the flight over, with Connolly, it was later revealed, just 10 centimetres too close.

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Nineteen-year-old frontman Idah had already been given the all-clear to travel back to Dublin in the wake of Sunday’s 0-0 Nations League draw with Wales as Kenny was forced to reshape his squad after another raft of withdrawals.

Brighton's Jayson Molumby, who was man of the match in the previous 0-0 draw against Wales, and Shane Duffy, currently on loan at Celtic, are also expected to feature.