Conor Hourihane has had a difficult time in his career over the last couple of seasons.
Having been promoted to the Premier League with Aston Villa in 2019, there were hopes that he would establish himself in the English top flight. However, he struggled to nail down a place in the team and would have loan spells with Swansea City and Sheffield United in the Championship.
It was not a surprise to see him leave Villa Park after his contract expired last summer, although few expected him to make the drop down to League One. That is what happened, with the Cork man joining the recently relegated Derby County.
Conor Hourihane in fine form for Derby County
The 31-year old has been in excellent form to start the season, playing the full 90 minutes in all nine of the club's league fixtures so far this season.
That includes yesterday's win over Wycombe Wanderers, where Conor Hourihane scored two fantastic second half goals to lead the team to a comeback 2-1 victory.
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 18, 2022
Not too shabby.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game, the midfielder said he was now looking forward to linking up with Ireland ahead of the UEFA Nations League games against Scotland and Armenia over the next couple of weeks.
I scored in the first game of the season and it’s been a bit of time since then. I’m quite hard on myself so I felt like it was a really good opportunity when Didzy slipped that ball to me and lucky enough it went in.
The second fell for me nicely, after getting one I was on a high and felt like I would venture in the box a bit and you never know what can break for you. Luckily it fell for me and I always fancy myself on my left foot - so it was good to see it go in...
I am really looking forward to the next few games. I love playing for my country, it gives me a nice bounce now to meet up with them full of confidence.
Despite his recent form at club level, there is no guarantee that Conor Hourihane will play a big role for Ireland in those upcoming fixtures. He has struggled at times during his last few appearances at international level, especially when asked to play in a two-man midfield.
He will be hoping that his recent good run for Derby will also bring about a change in fortunes in a green jersey.