LAST NIGHT’S DEFEAT to Iceland at the Aviva Stadium may have been one to forget for Ireland fans, but it was a memorable evening for Conor Hourihane.
The Aston Villa midfielder made his senior international debut in the middle of the park.
The Cork native was one of four first caps in the end. Hourihane started the game along with fellow Leesider John Egan, while ex-Dundalk duo Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle were introduced from the bench.
“I think I did okay,” said Hourihane afterwards. “Obviously it’s my first start at international level and I was a bit nervous going out there but I thought I did okay.
“It’s nice to get the first one under the belt and hopefully I crack on from here.
“We thought we passed the ball around okay,” he continued. “We didn’t create a lot of chances. There wasn’t much in the game to be honest. They didn’t create anything, we didn’t create much until Horgan came on but like I say it’s nice to get my first start and hopefully it’s the first of many more to come.”
Hourihane was in the defensive wall that allowed Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson’s free-kick through before it nestled in Keiren Westwood’s bottom corner.
“I think the wall was all wrong,” the Bandon man admitted. “Inside the dressing-room there was a bit of debate going on about players in whatever position but listen it’s just one of those things.
“Disappointing result, disappointing goal, disappointing all round. You dream of playing your first game and winning three- or four-nil and all that sort of stuff and being a fairytale but it wasn’t to be.”
The 26-year-old now returns to Aston Villa who will aim to climb the championship table, before Ireland’s next fixtures this summer.
“Martin’s put a bit of faith in me and chucked me in along with other players as well. It’s back to Villa now and hopefully finish well.
“John [Egan] did alright as well,” he added. “Like I said, it’s both of our first starts, it’s nice to get the first one and hopefully there’ll be many more for both of us.”