Saturday 21 September 2019

Confirmed! Preston complete the signing of Daryl Horgan from Dundalk

Daryl Horgan at Deepdale. Credit: Preston North End FC
Daryl Horgan at Deepdale. Credit: Preston North End FC
Daryl Horgan. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Preston North End have wrapped up the the signing of Daryl Horgan with the winger joining his former Dundalk teammate Andy Boyle at the Championship club, as exclusively revealed earlier on Independent.ie.

Both players were central to Dundalk’s stellar run in Europe this season, which ended in Israel last Thursday, and Horgan spent the last few days finalising the details of his switch. Boyle’s agent had confirmed news of his player’s move on Friday.

The duo won’t be eligible to play competitively for their new club until 1 January. Simon Grayson’s side face Burton Albion the following day before hosting Premier League title contenders Arsenal in a glamour FA Cup third round tie.

Horgan, who is 24, had attracted interest from a number of Championship outfits as well as clubs in America and Australia. His form, and that of Boyle, was recognised by Martin O’Neill when the Ireland manager included them in his final squad for last month’s trip World Cup qualifier in Austria.

Preston had been tracking the Galway native for several months and even received a glowing recommendation from their former player, Ireland legend Kevin Kilbane, who had attended a number of Dundalk’s European games this season.

Horgan, at home on the wing but proficient too in the No 10 role, will be battling for a place in the team against another Irishman, Aiden McGeady, who is spending the season at Deepdale on loan from Everton.

Horgan and Boyle will swell the Irish contingent at the club, which already includes Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne and former League of Ireland marksman Eoin Doyle.

Speaking about his latest squad additions manager Simon Grayson said: “First and foremost we have signed two players who have attracted a lot of interest from a lot of clubs over the past few weeks and months and we have had to work hard to get them, which shows our intent as a football club.

“Both players have had great seasons in their league and in Europe, leading to their call ups for the Irish squad. They are young, hungry and looking to improve and will be excellent acquisitions for us.

“I spoke to Steve Guppy [Republic of Ireland coach] about both of them, who was very positive and we have watched them a number of times and they have been excellent at club level and handled the Europa League games very well.

“Daryl is a forward thinking players with a lot of goals. He makes things happen, has got a bit of pace about him, has a good delivery in him and he has scored a lot of goals this season.

“Andy is a good centre half, who can also handle the ball and both have shown their determination to join us by coming over a couple of times to meet us and got things done very quickly. They both have the desire to keep improving and joining a Championship club is the next progression for them – we have always tried to improve and we look forward to working with them.”

Boyle, who captained Dundalk during their Europa League fixtures said of his move: "I can’t wait to get started. Once I heard Preston were interested in me and I got over and had a look around it was the only place I wanted to come to. I knew of the history of the club and I am now really looking forward to getting going.

“We have had a great run with Dundalk in Europe and won the league and then I got the international call up, so it has been a great year and this has capped it off.”

Horgan added: “I'm delighted to be here; I'm absolutely thrilled to get the deal over the line and now I'm really looking forward to getting into training and hopefully into the team.

“It's a massive club with a great history. It is a good team who like to try and play football, which was key for me. I met the manager and I was impressed by everything that he had to say, so that all helped massively, it just all seemed to fit and hopefully I can fit in here.”

He heaped praise on Dundalk after three special years at Oriel Park.

"It was a special three years at Dundalk, it's a special club. This year especially was incredible, to reach the heights that we did in Europe and winning three in a row was brilliant. Unfortunately we couldn't get out of the group, we just fell short, but to be up at that level and be competing at that level shows that there are a lot of good players there."

Speaking to dundalkfc.com, he added: “Incredible is the only word for the three years I had at the club. To win everything and to do what we did in Europe was special. It was a special time for me and for the club as well. The league titles were something unique especially considering where we came from to win three on the bounce was amazing and in some sense unprecedented from what was expected.

“It’s a new challenge at Preston and new adventure for myself and my family. It is something that if I didn’t take the chance to go now I would have been left wondering ‘what if?’ more so than anything else. It was always something I have aimed for and unfortunately it has come at a time when football in Ireland is probably at its highest point. It was something I couldn’t turn down.

“My first aim is to get into the Preston team first and foremost. I want to play as quick as I possibly can but there is a good and settled side there. They have done well. Hopefully I can go in and make a mark that’s the plan.”

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