Hourihane is enjoying life under Mick McCarthy

Hourihane is enjoying life under Mick McCarthy
Conor Hourihane takes a corner against Gibraltar. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

BANDON'S Conor Hourihane is expecting a very tough game from Georgia tonight at the Aviva Stadium.

Tonight will be a different proposition from what the Aston Villa man faced on Saturday against Gibraltar.  Georgia have technically proficient players, as Ireland have discovered from their meetings in the last two campaigns. 

They’ll be gunning to extract their first ever point in Dublin.

“It will be a lot tougher than Gibraltar,” Conor Hourihane said. “Georgia are a decent side, so we’ll have to play a little bit better. 

"The first week working with the new manager and his staff has been like a breath of fresh air.

“Everyone is on a new playing field and excited about the campaign ahead. Hopefully, this is just a little starting block for us and we’ll be ready for tonight.”

And the Bandon man is hoping for more of the same tonight in the Aviva Stadium after winning the player of the match award in an Ireland opening game win of Euro 2020.

The Cork native was given the nod ahead of Aston Villa teammate Glenn Whelan for a starting slot against Gibraltar and played very well.

Gibraltar's Roy Chipolina with Conor Hourihane. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Gibraltar's Roy Chipolina with Conor Hourihane. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Hourihane looked composed and assured against the Group D minnows, his free-kicks and crosses creating most of Ireland’s chances.

“I was delighted to get the nod from Mick ahead of three or four others,” he said after the 1-0 victory and ahead of tonight's visit of Georgia.

“I feel like I’ve had a good season for Villa because I’ve been playing week-in, week-out for a while now.

“With it being a fresh start under the new manager we weren’t sure how he was going to go, so I was delighted to be picked and thrilled to be part of getting three points.

“I felt like I had to take my chance and I feel as though I did alright.” 

The 28-year-old didn’t mind that Saturday’s victory won’t feature in the all-time highs of Irish football. Negotiating an artificial surface in strong winds forced route one tactics on occasions.

“It was a difficult night with the pitch and the wind but credit to Gibraltar for playing so well,” he reasons.

“I’m not sure whether the TV will have done that any justice, but the ball was swirling around, that’s for sure. 

"It wasn’t easy so we have to be delighted with getting a win.

“The only way you’ll build confidence and build a bit of momentum is by winning games of football and hopefully by coming here and getting three points will be the start of that.

“You have to start from somewhere and a win is a win. Now we look to Tuesday.” 

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