Saturday 17 March 2018

'I have a young family here so I'd need to weigh everything up' - Daryl Horgan on his future

Daryl Horgan will be hoping to get his hands on the FAI Cup after Sunday’s final against Cork City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daryl Horgan will be hoping to get his hands on the FAI Cup after Sunday’s final against Cork City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Somebody recently made the mistake of suggesting to Stephen Kenny that he could write off Thursday's stiff test with Zenit St Petersburg in order to ensure a smooth preparation for Sunday's FAI Cup final.

Kenny shakes his head thinking about it. That line of thought underestimates the ambition of the Dundalk boss and his dressing-room.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Daryl Horgan points out that people spoke in similar terms about the home encounter with Zenit, a fixture crammed into the middle of a hectic league schedule, when it turned out that Dundalk were capable of pushing the Russians all the way in Tallaght.

After that near miss, they won't board the plane today with negative thoughts.

"Someone was saying 'Would you be better off writing this one off and focusing on the AZ game (November 24)' - I just couldn't do that," stresses Kenny. "You just can't go into a match admitting defeat to any team. I won't entertain that sort of thinking."

Only when the final whistle blows in Russia will the focus turn to Sunday's cup date with Cork.

But St Peterbsurg was the main talking point at Dundalk's official media day. For Horgan, the battle for a place in the Europa League round of 32 is a big deal.

He has yet to receive any formal offers to leave Dundalk this winter, but they will come.

However, the newly crowned PFAI Player of the Year admits that the prospect of a knock-out game in February would be a lot to leave behind.

"It would be huge," he says. "I've said it before - I'm not going to go to another club in England or wherever and play in the Europa League or the Champions League.

"To be in a position where we could be in the last 32 of the Europa League would be absolutely incredible.

"I've already said that it would have to be a tremendous offer to take me away from here. I'm really happy. It's a great club with a great group of lads and it's a progressive club. They really want to kick on. There will be no standing still.

"I have a young family here as well so I'd need to weigh everything up."

Horgan did reference the fickle nature of the League of Ireland, conscious that the wind can turn quickly, and it will be extremely hard for Dundalk to keep hold of him unless they present him with an extension to their European adventure.

He feels they have more in the locker, confessing that he found Zenit's experienced Aleksandr Anyukov a tough nut to crack in their first joust. "A disaster to play against," he smiles.

The busy week is preferable to having nothing to do. PFAI recognition started it off on a high and there were kind words from Martin O'Neill ahead of his latest squad announcement but the Galwegian bats off the compliments.

"Awards are great but they don't really get me going - I'm more interested in trophies than anything else," insists the 24-year-old. "You can't beat winning the league; you can't compare that to an individual award, it's just nowhere near it.

"Stephen has spoken about having 'the season of all seasons' and to try and win another double and get out of the group in Europe.

"We're a third of the way there. We're sitting here delighted at winning the league but we could be sitting there on Christmas Day very disappointed.

"We don't want that to happen. We want to win the cup and qualify from the group. If we play the way we can, there's no reason we can't get a result in St Petersburg and win the cup final."

That's the mindset Kenny(below) likes, but the Dundalk manager concedes that the loss of Robbie Benson for Thursday is a blow.

Benson, who damaged a hamstring against Galway last week, would have been a certain starter in Russia as his counter-attacking strength ties in with Kenny's game-plan.

The midfielder will still travel with his team-mates and receive treatment from the medical team in an effort to be fit for the Aviva.

Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport