Daryl Horgan: We can take bate
Dundalk have learned from Euro experience
DARYL Horgan believes that his Dundalk side will learn the lessons of their narrow European defeat last season when they face up to BATE Borisov in a Champions League battle next month.
Dundalk fans are still assessing the implications - and the logistical problems - of the draw which puts them up against Champions League group stages regulars BATE.
Getting past BATE would guarantee Dundalk at least six more European games and a €1million cash injection and while the Belarus side will expect to progress, Horgan feels that Stephen Kenny's men have a realistic chance, if they avoid the mistake they made last season.
Having eased past opposition from Luxembourg in the first round of the Europa League, Dundalk took on Hajduk Split and won the second leg, in Croatia, but they exited Europe because of a defeat in the home leg.
"We probably feared them a small bit, maybe gave them a bit too much respect," Horgan says of the Croatian side.
"Whereas, we went over there and beat Hajduk Split and we had them on the ropes. If we'd got one more goal we would be through. We'll definitely not be giving as much respect this time around. If we go out there, play to our ability, play our normal game, maybe alter it slightly for the opposition, but play like we can, there's nothing stopping us really, bar ourselves," added Horgan, whose form for Dundalk in May earned him the award of player of the month by the SSE Airtricity SWAI.
"There is a lot at stake. It would be fantastic for us if we could beat them."
Dundalk boss Kenny has repeatedly made a case for an Ireland call-up for Galway native Horgan and while Horgan would love to see Martin O'Neill attend the home leg with BATE next month, he'd also like to see the door to the Irish squad opened up to home-based players.
"There's nothing wrong with bringing a few lads in to training and see how they're doing and see if they are far away and do need to step it up," he says.
"The League maybe does need to be a bit more professional, but no one has been given the chance. It's looked down on a small bit. Maybe there is a case there that the League isn't as good and the quality isn't as good but it's just disappointing that someone hasn't been given the chance to go in and prove what they're like."