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Hourihane: Hugely fortunate Keane signed me twice

February 5th, 2023 1:30 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Conor Hourihane signed for Derby County in the summer of 2022.

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IT’S not just their Cork DNA that links Conor Hourihane and Roy Keane, their paths have crossed several times in the football world – and Bandon man Hourihane will never forget how Irish football legend Keane helped him in his early career.

The presence of then Sunderland manager Keane was a decisive factor in Hourihane joining the club’s academy as a 16-year-old in 2007. In 2010 Keane, now manager of Ipswich Town, signed Hourihane again. And they also worked together at international level when Keane was assistant manager to Martin O’Neill. Keane had an important role to play in Hourihane’s early days across channel.

‘He signed me at Sunderland. He signed me at Ipswich,’ Hourihane told The Football Show on Off The Ball.

‘I met him again along the way with the Ireland international career, as part of that setup. An incredible, incredible man. Someone I still idolise to this day. 

‘It feels hugely fortunate that a man of his calibre, who had the career he had, signed me twice.

‘He gave me more caps with Martin along the way in my international career. He gave me that opportunity to break through in England. He was amazing to be around during my career when I was around him without a doubt.’

As a kid Hourihane recalls trips to Old Trafford with his dad, a Manchester United fan, to watch prime Keane boss midfield, so it was ‘fairytale stuff’ when the rising West Cork star got the opportunity to work with his idol.

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