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Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 15:49 GMT

Sport: Football

Connolly comes in from the cold

Connolly aims to make sure Keane is not missed against Turkey

Stand-in striker David Connolly could transform himself from international outcast to overnight hero if he can help the Republic of Ireland overcome Turkey in their Euro 2000 decider on Wednesday.

The diminutive former Watford striker has been drafted up as replacement for suspended Robbie Keane.

The Republic's young scoring sensation was ruled out of the return leg after picking up a yellow card shortly before the final whistle in the 1-1 first leg draw at Lansdowne Road.

Connolly now gets the chance to prove what Ireland have been missing since Keane stole his mantle as the side's young hitman.

[ image: Ireland celebrate taking the lead at Lansdowne Road]
Ireland celebrate taking the lead at Lansdowne Road
He has been only a bit-part player for Mick McCarthy's Republic side since being sent off in their last play-off clash - a 2-1 defeat by Belgium in a 1998 World Cup eliminator in November 1997.

"I don't want to look at this game on Wednesday as a shop window for me," said Connolly, who has been playing in the Dutch second division but is looking for a move back to England.

"It's a fantastic opportunity but it is a pity Robbie is suspended because the team will miss him. All I can do is my best and, hopefully, help the team get the result we need.

Connolly served a two-match suspension at the start of the Euro 2000 qualifiers and has since started only one international - a friendly against Sweden in April.

"I don't want to dwell on what happened in Belgium," he said.

"There is no point. I'd rather look to the future."

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