Connolly entered the Ethihad pitch as a second-half substitute and commented on how surreal it was to share a stage with Sergio Aguero in particular, a player the Irishman aspired to emulate growing up.
He said, “Playing in the Premier League is what I have been working for since I came to Brighton, so to walk out and play in the game at Man City was a big honour for me, my family, and everyone that’s been involved both club wise and back home as well.
“The game gave me a good chance to see the level that’s required if I wanted to play in the Premier League. To play against one of the best teams in Europe on my debut was mad, but a good learning curve to start my career.
“His [Aguero] movement is unbelievable, and I’m not sure if he touched the ball that much, but he scored two goals in the game. To be on the same pitch as him after growing up and looking up to him, was mad. Now I’m hungry for more and want to play against bigger and better players in the future.”
The 19-year-old spoke in more detail about what he hopes to offer the side going forward, and highlighted Graham Potter’s positive influence on the team as a whole.
“I like to run in behind the defence, but I’ll do whatever the gaffer asks me to do, and I'll do it to the best of my ability. Before I came on against City, he told me to play my normal game, run in behind and stretch the defence.
“He gives all attacking players the freedom to play and it’s good to play under the manager here. Whenever you get on the ball, you know that if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world and you just try to win it back as soon as possible.
“It’s quite chilled out and the gaffer knows what he wants from us, and vice-versa. It all works itself out.”
The frontman also spoke about his journey to the club after playing in Ireland, and he has no regrets regarding his decision to sign for the Seagulls.
“When Brighton first looked at me, I was playing for Ireland’s under-16s in an international tournament back home. Mark Anderson, who was a scout here, brought me over and from the moment I arrived, I just felt right at home.
“The facilities were unbelievable. I’d been to a couple of other clubs on trial, but as soon as I came here I knew that this is where I wanted to play.”