Conor Hourihane secures £3m Aston Villa switch

Conor Hourihane says he aims to “hit the ground running” after completing a £3m move to Aston Villa yesterday.

Conor Hourihane secures £3m Aston Villa switch

The Corkman moves to Villa Park in a three-and-a-half year deal after his eye-catching form for Barnsley this season.

Hourihane is focused on making a big impression on new boss Steve Bruce and could make his debut against Brentford next Tuesday night, as Villa look to get back into the Championship’s play-off picture — they sit nine points off sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, and five off eighth-placed Barnsley.

“I am over the moon to be here,” he told AVTV.

“Aston Villa is one of the very biggest clubs in England. Then there’s Villa Park. We have Steve Bruce in charge. We have fantastic facilities. We have great players. With the size of the club and where it wants to go, it was a no brainer for me to come here.

“I just can’t wait to embrace playing at Aston Villa and hit the ground running.”

Hourihane signed for Sunderland as a teenager, in 2009, failing to make the breakthrough at the Stadium of Light, and joined Roy Keane’s Ipswich a year later. Released by Ipswich, he revived his career at Plymouth Argyle in League Two before moving to Barnsley, where he became a firm fans’ favourite, captaining the side as a goalscoring midfielder.

His performances also caught the eye of Martin O’Neill, who brought him into his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Georgia.

Hourihane moves to Villa for a fee in the region of £3m (€3.5m). He was in the final year of his contract at Oakwell and could have left on a free transfer in the summer.

A Barnsley club statement said: “Throughout his two-and-a-half years at Oakwell, Conor has conducted himself with the upmost professionalism and respect and has been a credit to the club, his colleagues and the fans. He was a player who gave his all for the shirt, an exceptional servant to Barnsley FC, 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.”

Villa and Ireland legend Paul McGrath expressed his delight at the Bandon man’s move via Twitter: “Welcome Aboard Conor, great news you’ve joined Aston Villa, it’s a brilliant place to play football.” Hourihane replied: “If I have half the career you had here il be ok!”

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