CORK soccer star Conor Hourihane recently began studying for his coaching badges with the FAI as the Aston Villa player begins planning for life after playing professional soccer.
The Republic of Ireland international midfielder and 14 other players recently began studying towards their UEFA B coaching licence under the tutelage of FAI Head of Coach Education Niall O’Regan.
O'Regan, who also hails from Bandon, is thrilled to help Conor achieve his coaching goals.
“Conor is fabulous to watch and to work with. His ambition, drive, work ethic and general professionalism is what you would encourage any young professional to aspire to.
"The way in which he carries himself throughout the game is hugely respected by many senior figures in football. I am delighted to be working with Conor and a group of 15 professional players in gaining their coaching qualifications.
"They will progress through the UEFA B Licence. it is great to see them preparing for the transition out of the game as players and into the game as coaches."
O'Regan has known and worked with Hourihane since he was a young lad starting off in his soccer career with his local club Bandon AFC.
He has loved watching the talented midfielder grow into a Premier League regular and mainstay in the current international team.
“As per playing Conor is the ultimate professional in relation to all aspects of the course. We have been monitoring the coaching practicals online through video and audio recordings and it is great to see him in action.
"The knowledge he imparts and the references he has from his own playing experience are invaluable and the players are just at the edge of their seats looking for more.
"He has a good few years left to continue making an impact with Villa and Ireland. I have no doubt though when time comes on his playing career, he will make the natural progression into coaching and management.”
Another close associate of O'Regan's, Richie Holland was recently appointed assistant manager of Cork City until the end of this season.
“I am absolutely delighted.
"Having seen his career evolve over the past decade, it is great to see people like him who has put the hours in at every level of the game to hone their skills, to now be able to put them into practice at the highest level.
"Richard knows the club well, having had success as a player. It is a great opportunity for both Colin and Richard to make their mark on the team.”