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Thursday 8 December 2016

Kilbane says Horgan more worthy of an Ireland run-out than McGeady

Former Ireland international Kevin Kilbane, pictured at the launch of Aviva’s sponsorship of the FAI Junior Cup for the 2016/2017 season at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Ireland international Kevin Kilbane, pictured at the launch of Aviva’s sponsorship of the FAI Junior Cup for the 2016/2017 season at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile

As a former team-mate at international level, Kevin Kilbane has every reason to wish Aiden McGeady well in his bid to revive his career on loan to Preston, especially as Kilbane is still a fan of his home-town club.

But former Ireland man Kilbane, who has been converted to the delights of League of Ireland football since he began spending more time over here, feels that on current form, Dundalk winger Daryl Horgan is more deserving of Martin O'Neill's attention, not just in the Ireland squad but in the team itself.

Kilbane was at his former home of Deepdale to watch McGeady play for Preston last weekend and the former Celtic man is keen to use this loan spell to get his international career back on track after that awful spell out in the cold with Everton, McGeady's last start in a competitive game for Ireland over 18 months ago.

"He has got the experience but I don't think he has been producing consistently enough. That is where you look at the likes of Daryl Horgan. McGeady's place is in jeopardy for the performances that he has been putting in," says Kilbane.

"I think he [Horgan] has been playing consistently better than McGeady and he has been doing that over a long period of time. McGeady needs to play 20-30 games this season."

Martin O'Neill opted not to call in Horgan for the upcoming World Cup double header, stating that Dundalk had too many games on their schedule to cope with his absence, but Kilbane feels that the Galway-born player should have been named in the squad and then allowed to make his own call as to whether Ireland training could be fitted in.

Kilbane played in an era when home-based players were regular team-mates in U21 squads (Colin Hawkins, Thomas Morgan, Brian Barry Murphy) but never at senior level, so opinion of LOI players would not have been high, but Kilbane has seen Horgan playing, and playing well, against sides like Legia Warsaw and AZ Alkmaar - and that's enough for him. Could Horgan slot into the team at home to Georgia next week? "100 per cent," says Kilbane.

"He would have proved it against better players in European football this season. You've got to accept sometimes that you might have to be in three or four squads to work your way into the side, perhaps come off the bench. I think now they're at that level where they can go on and play. If Martin O'Neill picks him, he would deem them worthy of playing time.

"The level Dundalk are playing at is above and beyond Championship level. The standard the lads are playing at, it just proves they're good enough. It would have been nice for Daryl Horgan to be picked because he proved again in the AZ Alkmaar game that he's good enough to be included in the squad. "Martin said it was to do with the fixture backlog but I think if you give him the chance, if you ask that question would you play every day to be in the Ireland squad, I think he would have taken that. It's not going to happen for him now but I'd like to see him, because I think he has the talent to be in the squad."

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