Barnsley's farewell video to Conor Hourihane explains exactly why he was in demand

The Irish midfielder has left Oakwell for Aston Villa.

BARNSLEY SUPPORTERS ARE in mourning today after it was confirmed that their captain, Irish midfielder Conor Hourihane, has been bought by Aston Villa.

Hourihane, whose contract at Oakwell was due to expire this summer, has moved from one Championship club to another on a three-and-a-half-year deal, which is believed to be worth £3 million to Barnsley. It’s understood that Villa saw off competition from the Championship, Premier League, Scottish Premiership and MLS to seal his signature.

Hourihane was enormously popular with supporters at the South Yorkshire outfit and looks likely to be remembered as one of the club’s greatest ever players, as Liam Dyson — who runs Barnsley FC fanzine West Stand Bogs — explained to The42 recently.

“He’s well up there [among the club's all-time greats], in my view,” Dyson said. “No player has had a bigger impact in a shorter period of time and you have to consider the journey; captaining us to two Wembley victories and to dizzy heights in the Championship, which means that whatever happens next, he’ll always be well thought of.”

Hourihane, who hails from Bandon in West Cork, joined Barnsley for £250,000 from Plymouth Argyle in 2014. The 25-year-old captained the Tykes to victory in last season’s Football League Trophy and League One play-off finals. He leaves them in eighth place in the Championship, just four points adrift of the play-off places.

“Throughout his two-and-a-half years at Oakwell, Conor has conducted himself with the utmost professionalism and respect and has been a credit to the club, his colleagues and the fans,” read a Barnsley statement released today.

“He was a player who gave his all for the shirt, an exceptional servant to Barnsley Football Club, and a player who played a key role in the club’s rise from the League One relegation zone up to the brink of the Championship play-offs.

“Conor’s hard work and commitment has helped us build a strong foundation for future success here at Barnsley Football Club. We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to him for everything that he has helped the club achieve over his time here, and we wish him all the very best in his future career.”

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During his time with Barnsley, Hourihane played 134 times and scored 31 goals. As can be seen from the farewell video which the club have released, the Corkman has a penchant for the spectacular. Tap-ins don’t appear to be in his locker.

The former Douglas Hall player, who has also had spells at Sunderland and Ipswich Town, signed off on his time at Oakwell with a stunning free-kick in Saturday’s win against Leeds United.

Source: Barnsley FC/YouTube

Hourihane could make his debut for Aston Villa away to Brentford on Tuesday evening.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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