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Horgan: Only thing missing is scoring touch


Daryl Horgan in action against Wales

Daryl Horgan in action against Wales

Daryl Horgan in action against Wales

Daryl Horgan says he would welcome a goal, even it came from the backside of a team-mate, if it means ending the Republic of Ireland's dismal run of form in front of goal.

Ireland won 3-0 the last time they played on Finnish soil, back in 2002, but the squad which leaves Dublin for Helsinki today will have low expectations of a similar goal glut in Finland. Ireland have scored just once in four games under Kenny, have netted just twice in the last seven competitive matches and, away from home, have managed just five goals in the last 12 outings.

Horgan can be absolved of blame as he has been away from the international scene for the last two years: his appearance off the bench in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Wales was his first cap since the 1-1 draw in Poland in 2018. He came close to scoring on Sunday, as he saw one shot saved by keeper Wayne Hennessey with the rebounded effort sailing over the bar.

"It's not anyone's fault bar myself that the ball didn't go in. You need to put the ball in the back of the net," he says. And he knows the problem for Ireland in scoring goals is deep-rooted but also fixable.

"That's why the best centre-forwards go for €100m. They're good at it, they're natural," he says of that goal-scoring knack.

"It could be a case that we'll get one and they'll flow. It might be just a bit of confidence or luck. Maybe it could hit someone on the arse and gos in.

"Fixing it is easier said than done but the rest of the stuff is very good. You could see what the manager is putting in place and the way he wants us to play. We're creating chances, so to have that is really good. Now it's the final tiny detail but the most important details."

Horgan's club career has been secured with a recent move from Hibs to Championship side Wycombe Wanderers but his international career has been stop-start, summed up by his U-21 experience, just one cap, as a late sub in a friendly.

First called up by Martin O'Neill when he was a Dundalk player, he was capped six times by O'Neill but overlooked by Mick McCarthy.

Horgan admitted that his own form in Scotland did not merit a call for much of that time and there was no outcry when he failed to make the original squad named by his former mentor Stephen Kenny, only for Horgan to get a late call-up. Even in exile he says he remained a supporter of the side.

"I was like a fan, really, I wanted them to do well," he says. "Once you've had a taste of it you want to be involved all the time. It was always in the back of my mind to play well and get into the set-up. To get that opportunity on Sunday was brilliant.

"You could see that the side was pretty successful under Mick and we've got a different style under the new manager. It's not going to come overnight. Bar scoring a goal, I thought we were really, really good."

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