Daryl Horgan is in the process of becoming a fan favourite at Preston North End following the perfect start. It might not be long before he becomes a fan favourite with Ireland
The Galweigen was thrust straight into the action against promotion chasers Brighton and Hove Albion. He failed to disappoint by providing an unbelievable assist and fearfully parading up his flank causing Brighton all sorts of problems.
He certainly repaid his boss Simon Grayson who has sung Horgan’s praises since the nippy winger arrived from Dundalk following an heroic Europa League campaign. Preston seems a good fit for Horgan with game time looking assured, unlike Ritchie Towell who left Dundalk this time last year for the team Horgan tore apart yesterday.
What made Horgan’s move even more intriguing was the fact that he is joined at Deepdale by several Irishmen. Greg Cunningham, Alan Brown and Aiden McGeady all started yesterday. Andy Boyle with whom he joined the club with and Eoin Doyle are also on their books.
Many Irish fans have tipped Horgan to take the place of McGeady in the past year or so with a strange turn of events that the two are now at the same club. Thankfully for McGeady, his form has improved dramatically since leaving Everton on loan and should still be considered an asset for Ireland.
However, Horgan seems to look the better player of the last couple of years and is certainly pushing the Scottish born midfielder both at club level and internationally.
Ireland’s form players of the last few months domestically are arguably Seamus Coleman, Ciaran Clark and Harry Arter. Ireland’s in-form domestic player of the last eighteen months is most likely Horgan. Probably one of the most exciting prospects ever to come out of the League of Ireland, Horgan was long tipped for an Ireland call-up, which finally came in November against Austria.
Although no cap came, a place in the match day squad satisfied fans and certainly would have made Horgan proud. It was due recognition in a game certainly not for international debuts. The screams for a call up were finally heard.
However now is possibly time for a starting position in the Ireland team.Having shown fearlessness during the Europa League campaign and in his Championship debut, the next step for Horgan could be an international starting position. As mentioned, he is probably Ireland’s most in-form player.
The Welsh come to town at the end of March in what should be viewed as a must-win tie for Martin O’Neill’s men for more a relaxing route to Russia. With Robbie Brady suspended, it is hard to see where Ireland’s flair will come from. James McClean can provide it but he will be a marked man following his exploits thus far in qualification.
McClean and Horgan on either flank would definitely worry the Welsh, especially given the mystery and unpredictability of Horgan’s ability about which many Irish fans are already aware. Horgan possesses the dribbling skills and ball control out wide that Ireland have missed since the days of Damien Duff. It is not to say that he is the same standard as Duff but could add the composure and creativity that has starved our strikers for a long time.
With a crunch game coming up for the Irish and Horgan starting to show his full potential, a starting place should certainly be playing on the mind of Martin O’Neill for Ireland’s in-form man.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena