AS West Cork’s greatest ever footballer hit a landmark birthday earlier this week, he insisted the best is yet to come.
Bandon soccer star Conor Hourihane turned 30 years of age on Tuesday and, talking on this week’s Star Sport Podcast, he said he’s excited about what the next few years will bring.
Hourihane is currently on loan with Swansea City in the Championship, having found his playing time limited with Aston Villa. He sees this as an opportunity to kick-start another chapter in his journey that began when he left Bandon as a 16 year-old to join Sunderland’s Academy.
‘I feel like I’m in the peak of my years,’ Hourihane says.
‘I feel the next two, three years will be the best of my career. They usually say between 28 and 32 are the best years.
‘My 29th year has been a bit stop-start. I played a little bit before the first lockdown, came back after Project Restart and played a nice numbers of games which was good, and then the last few months I haven’t played much at all.
‘I felt it’s important, from January to the summer, to go out and play, put a smile on my face and put myself in a good position.
‘In the summer I’ll have a year left on my contract so if I can put myself in a good position for the summer that would be great.’
It’s 14 years since Hourihane left West Cork to chase his dream of becoming a professional footballer – he has achieved that a lot more, too. And now he wants to play regularly with Swansea until the end of the season and help their promotion bid. He has hit the ground running with the Swans and scored twice in the Championship in the past week, the equaliser against Brentford and a brilliant effort in the win against Rotherham when he was also named man of the match.
‘I started off the season with Villa, felt I played quite well, but the club spent a lot of money, brought in people like Ross Barkley and game time became tough to come by,’ he explains.
‘I could have taken the easy option, sat it out with Villa and taken my money until the end of the season but that’s not the type of guy I am, not the type of character I am, and it doesn’t sit well with me.’