Sky Bet League One: Conor Hourihane off to perfect start at Barnsley
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 05/09/14 3:57pm
The Sky Bet League One Player of the Month award has capped a perfect start to life at Barnsley for Conor Hourihane.
The 23-year-old midfielder has seen his fine form in August recognised with a prestigious personal accolade.
Hourihane has edged out Bradford City striker James Hanson, Preston North End winger Chris Humphrey and Coventry City defender Reda Johnson in the race for the first prize of the season, with three spectacular strikes against Coventry, Gillingham and Yeovil Town helping him to come out on top.
To have scaled such heights so soon in his Oakwell career is some achievement, with the Irishman having only stepped up into the third tier upon completing a switch from Plymouth Argyle in June.
“I’m delighted to win the award and to get off to such a good start,” Hourihane told Sky Sports.
“Barnsley have put a lot of faith in me by going and getting me in the summer so I’m really pleased to have put in some good performances and hopefully there are many more to come.
“It’s been a good month, getting off the mark with three goals. I said at the start of the season I would like to score more goals so to get off to a good start is pleasing. Hopefully there will be many more to come.”
Asked to pick his favourite strike so far, Hourihane added: “Probably the one against Yeovil was my favourite one. There was a nice bit of play before it, so that’s probably my favourite out of the three.
“I do seem to be on a run where everything I hit does seem to be going in, but maybe I should be looking for a few six-yard tap-ins now!”
While rightly proud of his efforts so far, Hourihane has also helped Barnsley to position themselves handily in the top-half of the table – with there a belief within the squad that an immediate return to the Championship is an achievable target.
Hourihane said: “We got off to a bit of a slow start in the first game and in the cup against Crewe, but since then we haven’t lost a game, we have gone on a nice little run of form and the team looks settled.
“We haven’t got a game this weekend which is maybe a little bit of a shame for us because we want to continue and kick on. Hopefully we will continue.
“It is definitely a good group. There are a couple of lads who were here last year, but there has been a big turnover in players. I think there is a good team there to go forward. If we continue our form over the season, I don’t think we’ll be far away.”
Pushing for promotion has always been part of the plan for Danny Wilson’s side, with Hourihane having made the tough decision to give up the captaincy at Plymouth to join an ambitious project.
Asked if he felt the time was right to step up, he said: “I think so. I was ready. It was great for Barnsley to come and get me. I met Danny and I felt like it was the right move for myself. To start off with the Player of the Month award, it’s very pleasing for me. But hopefully we can continue that and have a very good year.
“In the last three years I have played nearly every game at Plymouth. Even though I am only 23, I feel like I have played quite a few games in the League. I have enjoyed myself in League One and I’m looking forward to the year ahead. To get off to a good start makes you more hungry to perform and achieve more.”
Hourihane has set the bar pretty high just a month into the 2014/15 campaign but is convinced that there is more to come from him and Barnsley – although any thoughts of a senior international call-up with the Republic of Ireland may be a little premature.
Pressed on whether he will soon be knocking on Martin O’Neill’s door, he said: “That would be nice, but one month of football I don’t think is going to get me there. I think I just have to work hard and then you never know.”
Conor Hourihane was talking to Sky Sports on behalf of Sky Bet, the Title Sponsor of The Football League.
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