Kilkenny teenager Tom O'Connor said he's now ready to follow compatriot Michael Obafemi's footsteps and break through to the first team after penning a fresh two-year deal with Southampton.
The 19-year-old defender has been in excellent for the Under-23s this campaign and has been rewarded with a contract extension that keeps him at St Mary's until 2021.
O'Connor, a former minor hurler with the Cats, moved to Southampton in 2015. This year he's seen fellow Irishman Obafemi make his mark with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side, and he's hungry to do the same.
"It feels really good," he told the club website.
"I've been here nearly five years now, and I've enjoyed every moment. I'm delighted to sign a new deal and hopefully I can keep improving.
"My target was always to reach the first team. The next step is the most difficult step, but I'm working towards it.
"Seeing all the academy graduate names on the teamsheet recently gives you a great boost and shows that the new manager really values young players.
"You know if you're performing, and working hard, you have a chance of being noticed."