It’s fair to say Barnsley’s season has not exactly been one filled with success and promise.
However it’s also fair to say that Conor Hourihane has certainly stood out from the rest of the crowd this season and has quickly become a fan favourite at Oakwell this season, following his £220,000 move from Plymouth Argyle last summer.
Despite Hourihane being a natural central midfielder, he has certainly been one of Barnsley’s best players this season if not the best being Barnsley’s Top Scorer and having the clubs most assists this season in League One.
His contribution of 12 goals and 13 assists in 44 appearances (which include a goal and 3 assists in their 5-0 thrashing of Rochdale on the final day of the season) has certainly been a key reason behind them finishing 11th in the league with them only being 7 points short off the play-offs, although they only finished 11 points clear of relegation.
Barnsley will certainly need to do a lot to keep hold of their star man this season with many Championship clubs undoubtedly set to be sniffing round the 24-year old Irishman.
Hourihane has proved to be a successful signing for The Reds this season after making 141 appearances at his former club Plymouth Argyle scoring 16 times and becoming club captain before turning 22-years old.
Hourihane started off coming through the ranks at Sunderland as a youth player but however never quite made the first team, with similar struggles happening at Ipswich Town shortly after.
I feel that if Hourihane can carry on in the 2015-2016 season in a similar fashion to how he finished this season, then whatever club he is playing for will certainly feel the success of his work.
If Hourihane does this then maybe he could earn a place in the Republic of Ireland national set-up. Having played for his country 22 times at youth level, Hourihane is still yet to make his full international debut however I feel that he is close to earning a call-up very soon.