Thursday 20 October 2016

Horgan a one-off says Dundalk team-mate O'Donnell

Dundalk's Daryl Horgan
Dundalk's Daryl Horgan
Dundalk's Stephen O'Donnell

Former Arsenal trainee Stephen O'Donnell has played with and against some top-class players in his time but he believes that current Dundalk team-mate Daryl Horgan is a one-off when it comes to League of Ireland football.

With Ireland manager Martin O'Neill in the crowd, Horgan (24) was the main focus in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Cork City, a win which restores Dundalk's four-point lead at the top of the table and leaves them well placed, barring a collapse in the final five games of the season, to retain their title.

Horgan played down his own contribution, despite winning the Man of the Match award and claiming two goals, though the first may be given as an own goal after his free kick went in off the back of Cork 'keeper Mark McNulty.

His display added to the calls for O'Neill to name Horgan in the squad for next month's trip to Austria, and captain O'Donnell feels that Horgan is in a class of his own.

"The wee man, has there been a better player in the league, that type of player ever?" said O'Donnell.

"He's like Paddy McCourt in that sense, you c an see what the wee man does when he has space. The second goal against Cork was brilliant."

Boss Stephen Kenny was also full of praise for Horgan, capped once at U21 level.

"When I was doing the after-match talk on Tuesday, Daryl wasn't there because he was doing TV.


"I was getting the players ready for Shamrock Rovers on Friday and I said, 'Where's Daryl?' Someone said he's at the Bernabeu," joked Kenny.

"See those free-kicks? He must have hit a thousand of them from that position in training this season, not all of them with the greatest of success. We were nearly getting him off them.

"The more he hits them and the more they don't go in, he gets frustrated. We have to drag him in on a Thursday. I've fought with him a few times because of the importance of keeping him fresh for matches, because his game is based on his explosiveness.

"But that's the value of practice. He has visualised and practiced that a thousand times. When it comes off in a big match, that's special," added Kenny.

The points secured from the battle with Cork, Dundalk now move on to their next test, away to Shamrock Rovers on Friday, with O'Donnell hoping that the side can deal with their punishing league schedule and have the title wrapped up with two games to spare.

"We still have a tough run in and it's just four points with five games to go, tthere is nothing won and we have a tough run in," said O'Donnell.

"We need to win definitely our next two games as it would be nice to have the four point cushion going into the last week of the season and the three games.

"If Cork go and win all their games then we need four out of five. That's what we have to do and that's what we'll be aiming to do."

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