Football | Hoolahan signs off with a flourish for Norwich

Football | Hoolahan signs off with a flourish for Norwich
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Wes Hoolahan brought the curtain down on a decade at Norwich City in style today.

The former Republic of Ireland international produced a goal and assist at Carrow Road as the hosts came from behind to beat Leeds United 2-1.

The 35 year old captained the Championship club in his final appearance, and was granted a guard of honour as he walked out on to the pitch at Carrow Road for the last time to a wonderful reception.

It was Leeds who took the lead in the first half, with Kalvin Philips producing a fantastic strike from 25 yards in the 39th minute.

However, it took ‘Wessi’ just six minutes to draw Norwich level with his 54th goal for the club, much to the delight of the emotional crowd.

The former Shelbourne star’s strike from distance deflected off Leeds defender Pontus Jansson, before trickling over the line after hitting both posts.

The sides went in level at the break, and Hoolahan continued to influence proceedings in the second half. He was, as ever, a joy to watch. He slid in James Maddison with a beautiful pass in the 65th minute, but the midfielder’s shot was diverted behind for a corner.

Four minutes later – after some tidy turns and touches in midfield – Hoolahan cut the ball back to Josh Murphy, who smashed the ball in at the near post to give Norwich the lead.

The entire stadium rose to salute Wes as he was – after a moment with his teammates – replaced in the 84th minute by Tom Trybull. Unsurprisingly, Hoolahan was subsequently named as the man of the match.

After the game, Hoolahan and his teammates embarked on a lap of appreciation around the ground.

Perhaps only Republic of Ireland fans can appreciate the esteem that Wes Hoolahan is held in at Norwich.

The Dubliner has made over 350 appearances for the Canaries over the last 10 years, and has won promotion with the club three times in that period. He was inducted into Norwich City’s Hall of Fame in 2012, and has entertained fans with his creativity and eye-catching moments.

There has almost been a sense of mourning since the club announced that Hoolahan is to move on in the summer, and his destination is unknown as of yet.

League of Ireland fans would love to see the former Irish international return to the domestic league, but a move to another English club seems more likely for the 35 year old.

“I’d love to score against Leeds to finish it off on a high but it would make the day a lot better if we won,” he said earlier this week.  “It would be great to go out on a high with a home win for the fans.”

In the end, he got his wish.

A goal, an assist, and three points.

Not a bad way to sign off.

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