BY KIERAN McCARTHY
BANDON soccer star Conor Hourihane has completed his move to Aston Villa.
The former Bandon AFC and Douglas Hall underage player was unveiled as an Aston Villa player this morning after his switch from Barnsley was confirmed for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £3 million.
Hourihane has signed a three-and-a-half-year-deal.
The West Cork man said: ‘I’m really pleased to be here. Aston Villa are a massive club and I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my career and developing further as a player under Steve Bruce.
‘I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone connected to Barnsley Football Club; from the owner, to the Head Coach, the backroom staff, and of course to the supporters who have been amazing to me throughout my time at Oakwell.’
A Barnsley FC statement read: ‘Conor made it clear to the board that he saw the move as an opportunity to further his career and he wanted to pursue the move. Under these circumstances, and considering that Conor’s contract was coming to an end in the summer where he could transfer for free, the club respected that decision and reluctantly allowed him to move on for a significant fee and sell-on.
‘Conor was a hugely popular figure at the club and we fully appreciate that this news will be met with disappointment from our tremendous supporters. The club firmly shares this sentiment. It is always difficult losing a player of Conor’s footballing and personal qualities, and allowing a player of his calibre to leave the Club was never an easy decision.’
Hourihane has been in top form for Barnsley this season, especially in recent weeks as he took his goal tally for the campaign to six, including a stunning free kick in the 3-2 win against Leeds last Saturday. He was also man-of-the-match, a fitting way for the former Barnsley captain to say goodbye to Oakwell.
He is regarded as one of the best players in the Championship and the midfielder’s six goals and 11 assists have seen Barnsley compete well in their first season back in the division.
Conor signed for Barnsley in the summer 2014 and he scored 31 goals in two and a half seasons – incredible stats for a midfielder.
He previously played for Plymouth Argyle where he was also captain.