Horgan’s still aiming for a big finish

Daryl Horgan on his Ireland debut
Daryl Horgan on his Ireland debut

Daryl Horgan says there is a strong desire within Preston’s dressing room to force their way into the top six.

The winger, who won his first Republic of Ireland cap this week, wants a whirlwind campaign to stretch further into a play-off campaign.

In the past few months, Horgan has won the League of Ireland with Dundalk, played in the Champions League and Europa League, as well as 
getting his switch to English football with North End.

The Irish cap in Tuesday night’s friendly with Iceland was another career highlight.

With him all the way has been Andy Boyle, the pair 
having been team-mates at Dundalk for three years 
before their move to Deepdale.

Fittingly they got their first Ireland caps at the same time, joining the action together as second-half substitutes.

“It’s been an unbelievable 18 months or so,” Horgan told the Post, as he took a break in preparations for today’s home clash with Nottingham Forest.

“Long may that continue and it would be nice to cap it off with a play-off place, maybe even win them.

“We’ve got eight games left and we’re five points outside so we’ll put our heads on and try and push forward.

“If we play like we have been doing, there is no doubt we can get there.

“The important pressure is the pressure which you put on yourself and what comes from your team-mates.

“All the group here want to get to the play-offs and think we can do it. Maybe we are outsiders but at the same time this is a very good squad, a good bunch of lads.

“We might need a few teams to slip up but the 
nature of the Championship is that slip-ups happen.

“We are one of the smaller clubs financially in the 
division and to be up there in with a chance is brilliant.

“But we won’t want to just say, ‘Look, it’s great we are a smaller club and are nearly there, let’s have a pat on the back’.

“We want to get there and that is our aim.”

Horgan looks back on Tuesday night’s debut for the Republic of Ireland with a huge sense of pride.

After being an unused sub in the World Cup qualifier against Wales, his big moment came in the 62nd minute.

“It was a special night for me and my family,” said the 24-year-old.

“So too for everyone who has followed my career – I got a lot of texts afterwards.

“I got a great reception when I went on, there were a lot of League of Ireland 
people there and after I played in the league for seven years. Maybe they see me as one of their own.

“I got half-an-hour on the pitch and I just wish it had been for longer.

“To be honest, I don’t think 90 minutes would have been long enough.

“To play in Dublin in front of a decent crowd of 37,000 was brilliant.

“With some players there is an inevitability that they will play for their country.

“Maybe I thought my chance had gone because it is difficult to go from playing in the League of Ireland to your country.

“It’s been great to share all this with Andy Boyle, we are a double act aren’t we?

“Andy has worked so hard and like me had probably ruled out his chance of ever playing for Ireland.

“I’ve played with him for the last three-and-a-half years and so for us to have made our international debuts together was brilliant.”