Ireland number one Marie Hourihan swaps Brighton and Hove Albion for Portuguese champions Braga

Sun, Jul 07 2019

Hourihan lines up with her Irish teammates before a crucial World Cup qualifier against World Cup finalists the Netherlands. Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Marie Hourihan will don the red and white of SC Braga next season after penning a deal with the Portuguese champions.

Hourihan has spent the past 18 months with Brighton & Hove Albion, first on loan from Manchester City and then on a permanent deal, but has opted to broaden her horizons on the continent.

The Londoner established herself quickly as number one following the appointment of Colin Bell as national team coach in 2017 but faces tough competition in the form of Reading’s Grace Moloney.

Having slid down the pecking order with Champions League regulars City, the 31-year-old has put herself back in contention for European football with Braga.

Braga have been drawn alongside Apollon of Greece, Austria’s Sturm Graz and Latvian hosts Riga in the qualifying round for this year’s elite European competition.

“I got a good first impression of the club, the facilities, the infrastructures, the training grounds and the stadium,” Hourihan told the club’s official website.

“Now I’m looking forward to the pre-season and then the season. I came to visit and saw a game [last season].

“The environment, the way fans welcome the team and the whole organization of the club. I really got a good impression and made me want to come here. “