100 Not Out

ARGYLE captain Conor Hourihane joins an exclusive coterie on Saturday, when he makes his 100th appearance for the Pilgrims.

The Greens’ ton-up kid becomes the youngest current member of the Argyle 100 club behind old sweats Paul Wotton, Luke McCormick and Nick Chadwick.

It all began back on August 6, 2011, at the Greenhous Stadium, Shrewsbury, when the club was still deep in administration. Memories of the 1-1 draw, and Carl Fletcher’s net-busting late equaliser, are still strong.

“It was probably one of the best games I have been involved in with Plymouth,” said Conor, 22.

“When I came here, we were in tough times and we probably weren’t expected to get anything out of that game.

“It was a team puzzled together at the last minute and Carl came up with a great goal. The celebration was fantastic afterwards.

“It threw me straight into the deep end, but I really enjoyed it and it was something that will live with me for a long time.”

Irish Under-21 international Conor signed for Argyle from Ipswich after scoring in a pre-season trial against Truro City.

Since then, he has been a regular under Peter Reid, Fletcher and John Sheridan, becoming captain when Darren Purse left for Port Vale in January.

Of his 99 matches, all but six have been as a starter. There have been eight goals along the way, too.

“It’s what I came here to do – play as many games as I could,” said Conor, “so it’s good to rack up 100.

Debut: Conor in action at Shrewsbury against future Pilgrim Marviv Morgan

“A couple more goals would have been nice, I suppose, but 93 starts is quite good. It means the managers that were here previously have put their trust and faith in me. I must be doing something right.

“This manager obviously thinks the same, so I’m happy with that.”

Apart from his debut, two other matches remain in the forefront of Conor’s mind, victories both.

“Probably Exeter [at home] last year, or Bristol Rovers away when we came back from 2-0 down,” he said.

“Against Exeter, we came out and the whole place was full to the rafters. The atmosphere was fantastic and to get the win, with the position we were in the league, was fantastic as well.

“It was a shame we went to York after and didn’t put in a great performance, because it meant we didn’t get to enjoy it.

“Looking back on it now, it was a great day and a great occasion.”

The lowlights have come in the FA Cup – red cards and defeats by non-league clubs Stourbridge and Dorchester in successive seasons.

Low Point: Conor gets his marching orders at Dorchester

“I think I need to get my FA reputation back on track,” he said. “It hasn’t been the best.”

So much for the past; now Conor’s mind is very much on Saturday’s encounter with bottom-of-the-table Accrington.

“Anyone can beat anyone in this league, as has been proven over the years, but we are obviously looking for three points,” he said.

“The performance [at Scunthorpe] [last] Saturday was a lot better than it has been, but we still need to get goals: once we score a couple, we will be fine.

“It is important we get something out of Saturday.”