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Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane scores his side's first goal of the game. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire. 
Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane scores his side's first goal of the game. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire. 
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Conor Hourihane's brilliant free showed just how good the Bandon native can be

BANDON’S Conor Hourihane gave Ireland manager Mick McCarthy a reminder of his talents with a Man of the Match display for Aston Villa in their 2-0 win over Newcastle on Monday.

Using his “wand of a left foot”, as described by Villa boss Dean Smith, the Ireland international stroked home Villa’s opener from a set-piece in the 32nd minute before teeing up Anwar El Ghazi with another free-kick delivery four minutes later.

The 2-0 victory ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats for Villa.

“It’s a massive win for us. We’ve come off the back of a few defeats,” said Hourihane.

“We’re delighted with the win and the clean sheet. It was key for us to get a result.”

Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates scoring his goal. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire. 
Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates scoring his goal. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire. 

It was Hourihane’s first start since October 19 as he was dropped for a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City despite his strong display in the previous game, a 2-1 home win over Brighton.

Smith added: “He’s got a goal threat. With Conor’s wand of a left foot he ends up scoring one and makes another, so I’m really pleased.”

“He wasn’t happy when I left him out of the game at City. I understand why, but it’s a squad game and I have hard decisions to make.

“I knew we would spend an awful lot of that game defending, and for this game I knew we would have a lot of the ball.

“He’s answered me in the best way, so I’m really pleased for him.”