Horgan ready for new adventure with PNE
Preston may not be the most far-flung stop of Daryl Horgan's whirlwind 2016 but the winger can't wait to get started at Deepdale.
Dundalk’s European adventure took the 24-year-old to Poland, Russia, Israel and Belarus amongst others as they made League of Ireland history.
Also known as the Lilywhites, they became the first Irish club to reach the play-off round of the Champions League before also featuring in the group stages of the Europa League.
“It was incredible,” said Horgan, who scored in a 2-1 defeat at Zenit Saint Petersburg.
“It was different to anything I’ve done in my life and different to anything I may ever do again I suppose.
“Going to Russia to play in Saint Petersburg, Warsaw was a special atmosphere and just the travelling and enjoying different styles of football.
“It was fantastic for us as a team and as a club.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get out of the group but it was still a brilliant experience.
“I had a great year last year with Dundalk.
“It was special with the European adventure and I suppose this is a new adventure and a new opportunity and hopefully I can take it.”
It was competing against some of Europe’s big names that saw Horgan catch the eye of several clubs.
The wide man reportedly had plenty of suitors but eventually elected to follow team mate Andy Boyle to Deepdale.
“The level we played at this year in the Europa League proved we were at a good standard,” he said.
“You hear murmurings and whisperings but I just tried to keep my head. If I let it get to me it might all disappear.
“Maybe even if I was a bit younger that might have been the case but it’s all worked out.
“I like the way Preston play, I thought it would suit me and I met the manager and had a good conversation and that was the main thing that swung me towards the club.
“I’m just delighted to sign.”
With it being a summer season in Ireland things have been pretty non-stop for Horgan, who first started pre-season training with Dundalk in January, the extended campaign not finishing until a defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel on December 8.
“I had a couple of weeks off,” said the former Republic of Ireland Under 21 international, called up to Martin O’Neill’s senior squad in November.
“I probably needed them because I got to the end of the season and it had been 11 months non-stop.
“It got a bit mentally tiring and it was good to be able to step away and relax.
“But to be honest I was starting to miss the training so it’s been good to get back in and get into the set-up here.
“The lads have been very easy to chat to and incorporated myself and Boyler nicely into the squad.
“I’m still trying to get a bit of fitness but I’m enjoying the sessions. It’s been great.”
Horgan will be hoping to be in the squad to face Burton on Monday, subject to international clearance, but knows finding a way into Simon Grayson’s side will be far from straightforward.
“First things first I have to try and get into the squad, the 18, then try to get into the 11,” he said.
“Then I’ll go from there really, that’s the start of it all.
“It’s not going to be easy.
“The team’s playing well, had a good season so far and isn’t far off the play-offs.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to come in and make an impact.”