Looking ahead to 2017, the Republic of Ireland have a real chance of qualifying for their first World Cup since 2002. Martin O’Neill’s side sit atop of the qualification group, ahead of Serbia, Wales and Austria. There are many calls for certain players to be included in the side to add spice to the campaign, with Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane featuring high up that list.
The Cork native has led the line for the promotion-chasers this season, drawing numerous plaudits. The Super Reds dug deep for a 1-0 away win over Nottingham Forest today, with Hourihane banging in a simply outrageous winner.
With the ball bouncing up in front of him 30 yards from goal, the former Sunderland and Ipswich Town star elected to have a shot. He hit the ball, and it stayed hit; flying right into the top corner of the net.
Forest 0 Super Reds 1 – Scorer (Conor Hourihane) pic.twitter.com/MAZ4isNALT
— Barnsley Fan (@Sucram1971) January 2, 2017
88 – ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!! Hourihane chests down and volleys in from 30 yards to put the Reds ahead in Nottingham! #COYR
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) January 2, 2017
At 25, Hourihane is only getting better, and his stock is rising at an alarming rate. Should Barnsley miss out on promotion this season, they may find it difficult to hold onto their Irish star in the summer.
In the shorter term, Martin O’Neill may be tempted to hand Hourihane his international debut when Ireland play Iceland in a friendly at the end of March.