Albion striker Aaron Connolly admitted he fulfilled a life-long ambition as he made his Premier League debut, during a 4-0 loss to champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium yesterday.
Connolly was introduced into the action on the 66th minute as a replacement for the hard-working Neal Maupay.
Connolly, 19, was a threat to the City back line and the Irishman’s clever movement ensured he worked his way into goal scoring positions.
There was one moment where a cross from Martin Montoya almost fell for him in the box but it wasn’t to be on this occasion.
Two goals from lethal striker Sergio Aguero, one from Kevin De Bruyne and a late one from City sub Bernardo Silva sealed the win for the clinical hosts.
“The performance was there from when I was watching on and when I came on I still thought it was,” said Connolly speaking after the match.
“Obviously City are just clinical and if you give them chances they will score. But I think we were in the game the whole time and I don’t think the score-line reflected it.”
“Looking on, I thought it was evenly matched obviously the gaffer has got us playing a certain way so everything he put to the boys they delivered. So you can’t ask for much more but it’s unfortunate the result went the way it did.”
Connolly was born in Oranmore, Galway and started his career in the youth team of Mervue United.
He impressed Brighton during a trial in 2016 and worked his way through the ranks and into the under-23s.
He was been prolific at the that level and the Ireland under-21 international scored for the first team on his full debut against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup last Tuesday.
He has trained with the first team squad all pre-season and with Florin Andone suspended and Jurgen Locadia moved out on loan to Hoffenheim, Connolly was given his opportunity at City.
“It is every young kids dream making their Premier League debut and it’s the same with me I’ve always wanted to do it since I was young and thankfully today it happened.
“The result didn’t go the way me or the team wanted but I’m just proud to have my debut and hopefully this is the first of many.”
The Premier League takes a break due to international fixtures and Brighton’s next match is at home against Burnley on September 14.
Connolly said, “I just want to keep playing. I wish the next game could come tomorrow just so I can maybe get another chance to play in the Premier League. Hopefully, I go away during the break, get a couple of games in with Ireland under-21s and then come back fresh, injury free and get another chance in the Premier League.”