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MCWFC sign Marie Hourihan

Marie Hourihan

Marie Hourihan

Manchester City Women have strengthened their goalkeeping options with the capture of Marie Hourihan.

The shot-stopper joins the Club from FA Women's Super League champions Chelsea Ladies, having previously plied her trade at Watford, Fulham, Doncaster and Birmingham.

The 28-year-old moves northwards on the back of securing a league and cup double with the Staines outfit, highlighting City's professionalism and ambition as major factors in her decision.

She said: "It's fantastic. I'm really excited to be joining City.

"It's a brilliant opportunity - one I couldn't turn down - and I'm thankful to Chelsea for letting me take the opportunity.

"When I came up here to speak to Nick [Cushing] and get a feel for the Club, I knew this is the place to be and it's where I want to be.

"The massive progression the Club has made in the last two years and the infrastructure that's in place is second to none.

"I want to be a part of that and I'm so happy to be here.

"I'm looking forward to getting going in pre-season now. It's an unprecedented era for the Club, qualifying for the Champions League after finishing second in the league.

"Obviously, we want to kick on from that and the next step is to win the league - that's got to be the aim."

Opting to join a title rival where England's first choice, Karen Bardsley, has a firm hold on the number one spot, Hourihan admitted she received looks of surprise when telling of her decision.

However, the former under-23 Lioness insists she is used to competition and is relishing the chance to prove her worth against the country's best.

"At Chelsea, I was playing with the Swedish record caps holder so I'm ready for the challenge," she explained.

"I'm looking forward to training with Karen - I can only learn from her and we can help each other and improve each other.

"I think a few people may have been surprised [with my choice] as Chelsea are champions but City ran them close last year and the 2016 season will be just as tight.

"For me, it's a step in the right direction. Year on year, this football club is progressing and I feel it's the best environment."

Hourihan came up against City four times in the 2014 season, watching on from the bench during the last campaign.

She declared she was instantly impressed with her opponents' methodology and drive, adding: "I always saw City as a very good footballing side with their own philosophy."

When quizzed on what qualities she could bring to the side, she responded: "A little bit of experience, a little bit of knowledge and I like to make sure it's a good atmosphere.

"I just want to be myself really. It's a great group of girls anyway so I don't think it will be difficult to settle in."

Reflecting on his latest signing, manager Cushing stated: "Marie was Chelsea's number one in our first year together and she really impressed me in the games we played against her.

"She was unfortunate to become their number two last year but we're delighted to have her here and we're so pleased to have two goalkeepers we feel are at a level which will bring us consistency.

"She's a great goalkeeper but she's also a really good person - she's really driven and intelligent. She'll be a real asset off the pitch as well as on it.

"It's a new challenge for her, which allows her to improve."

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