BANDON native Conor Hourihane has signed a contract extension with Aston Villa ahead of the forthcoming Premier League season.
Hourihane, who has climbed the footballing ladder over recent years from League Two, played a vital role in Villa’s promotion to the top flight of English football.
The Republic of Ireland international progressed through Sunderland's academy and switched to Ipswich in 2010, but failed to make a senior appearance for either club.
Hourihane went on to make over 100 appearances for both Plymouth and Barnsley, before Villa signed him from the latter for an undisclosed fee.
Since joining Villa in January of 2017, he has made 111 first team appearances and reaffirmed his status as a stellar creative force, scoring 21 goals and assisting 16 times.
“I'm absolutely delighted. It's exciting times for the club with us moving into the Premier League,” said Hourihane.
"I've waited all my career for the opportunity to play at this level and the time has now arrived.
"I'm really looking forward to the season ahead. It's a big period for me personally as I've come all the way from League Two to reach the top.
"I'm glad to sign and look forward to being here for seasons ahead."
Meanwhile, Cork City FC have announced that John Kavanagh and Darragh Rainsford have both departed the club as the exodus from the Cross continues.
Kavanagh joined City at underage level from Ringmahon Rangers, captaining the U19s to national league success before graduating to the first team squad, making his debut in 2012.
The defender made over 50 first team appearances for the Leesiders, as well as having loan spells at Cobh Ramblers, Waterford and Finn Harps.
Head Coach John Cotter commented on Kavanagh: “Kav has been with the club a long time, but he has been out on loan for the last couple of years and is moving on now to look for a regular place elsewhere.
"He’s a great lad who has been very strong and determined in the face of a nasty injury that sidelined him for quite a while.
"Everyone at the club has a lot of time for Kav, and we wish him the very best of luck for the future.”
Rainsford joined City ahead of the 2019 season from Pike Rovers, and has made 10 league appearances.
Speaking about the departure of the attacker, Cotter explained the attacker wanted to return to Shannonside.
“Darragh came in ahead of the season and has been a good guy around the club, but he has found his opportunities limited. He has decided to move back home to Limerick, so we thank him for his time here and we wish him the best of luck for the future.”
The pair follow Gary Comerford and Shane Daly-Butz to depart the Rebel Army, with Graham Cummins joining Shamrock Rovers on loan.