Conor Hourihane's brilliant free showed just how good the Bandon native can be

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

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.”

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