How the Irish fared: Conor Hourihane’s going away gift for Barnsley

Conor Hourihane is expected to join Aston Villa in coming days and the Bandon man gave Barnsley fans the perfect farewell gift on Saturday, curling home a majestic free-kick as the Tykes beat rivals Leeds 3-2 in the Championship.  
How the Irish fared: Conor Hourihane’s going away gift for Barnsley

The Barnsley captain is out of contract in the summer, a situation that means the club have to let him go now in order to get a fee or else risk losing him for nothing in the summer.

Fans don’t like to lose their best players and Hourihane is certainly one of Barnsley’s main men but if Saturday’s game was his last as a Barnsley player, it was the perfect way to say goodbye.

Several other Irish players made their mark in the Championship this weekend. Daryl Murphy continued his recent purple patch by opening the scoring as Newcastle hammered Rotherham 4-0 to reclaim top spot from Brighton.

Robbie Brady, who like Hourihane has been linked with a move to pastures new, scored a penalty as Norwich kept their play-off hopes alive courtesy of a 3-1 win over Wolves.

Ryan Manning celebrated signing a new contract at QPR on Friday by scoring his first goal in English football 24 hours later.

Manning punished a defensive error to put QPR in front against Fulham but the Cottagers hit back to rescue a 1-1 draw.

Though frustrated by the result, Manning was able to reflect positively about a whirlwind few weeks. “It’s been a hectic couple of weeks,” said. “I can’t believe it is happening. I’m just delighted to get my first goal.”

Elsewhere, Preston boss Simon Grayson was a proud man after Aiden McGeady put his sense of injustice to good use to help his side to a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.

Villa’s second goal came from a penalty after McGeady was adjudged to have committed a foul but, after Preston halved the deficit, it was his cross that led to the goal that completed North End’s comeback.

Grayson said: “Aiden’s got a good tackle in and he’s won the ball. The linesman has been over-ruled by the referee which was the wrong decision but what we did was respond in a positive manner like my team have done all season.”

In League One, a last-gasp header from Cian Bolger gave Fleetwood a 1-0 win at Coventry City while Darren Potter was among the scorers as MK Dons beat Northampton 5-3.

Elsewhere, Celtic loanee Eoghan O’Connell scored his first goal for Walsall in their 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers while Chris Forrester netted the only goal as Peterborough won 1-0 at Swindon.

Liam McAlinden was the only Irish scorer in League Two, grabbing the third as Exeter City beat Colchester United 3-0 while, up north, a brace from Adam Rooney helped Aberdeen to a 4-0 victory over Stranraer in the Scottish Cup.

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