The 19-year-old was introduced as a 78th-minute substitute for James Collins in Tbilisi, and was overjoyed to enter the fray.
He said, “I can’t really describe it. It was a great moment for my family and everyone that helped me. It’s definitely the proudest moment I’ve had, and it’s a great feeling.
“The manager didn’t mention if I would play or not, I just trained this week and got in and around the squad. He never really told me that I was going to come on, but I’m glad I did.
“My mum and dad were in Istanbul late last night, and I got a text saying they wouldn’t be in Georgia until 5 in the morning. It would’ve been nice to reward their late night with a goal, but they’ll be proud to see me come onto the pitch. I love making them proud and it was a great moment.”
Connolly spoke in more detail about a late chance when he hit the side netting with an angled strike, and while he was disappointed not to score what would’ve been a crucial winning goal, he insists the focus now moves to Tuesday’s game against Switzerland.
“I’ll probably have a sleepless one after that chance, and at 0-0 in an international game like that, you’ve got to score that one.
“The ball just wouldn’t come down for me, and it’s gutting when I think that I could’ve helped the boys. But it’s a good result and performance.”
Mick McCarthy’s side are back in action on Tuesday night in another Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland, and Connolly is hoping to go one better and force his way into the starting line-up.
“It’s another massive game and an honour to even be considered to play. I’ve already achieved something I’ve dreamed of as a kid, and it will be an even bigger honour if I get a chance to start the game on Tuesday.”