O'Neill: Exceptional Horgan would be in Ireland squad 'under normal circumstances'

The Boys in Green boss revealed that he has been impressed by the winger and other members of Dundalk's team, who are competing in the Europa League

Martin O’Neill says that Daryl Horgan would have made his Republic of Ireland squad if Dundalk did not have such a congested fixture schedule.

The 24-year-old winger, who represented his country at Under-19 level, has impressed the Ireland manager in recent weeks and his performance against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League stood out. However, he was not included in the provisional 33-man panel for October's World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova.

"Horgan has done exceptionally well and under normal circumstances, and these are not normal at this minute, he would have certainly have made the provisional squad without a doubt," O’Neill said after announcing his squad on Friday. 

"He’s done exceptionally well and he played really well the other night out in Holland and I’ve been pretty impressed. I’ve been impressed with a number of Dundalk players in their efforts this season and they’ve been fantastic. 

"But they do have fixture congestion and (Dundalk manager) Stephen [Kenny] has been very, very accommodating to me in recent games. 

"Every single time I would ask for Gary [Rogers] he has not had a problem and we’ve fitted things around that but I’d like to speak to Stephen first before doing anything else." 

The SSE Airtricity Premier Division champions' game against Derry City on Friday night will be their seventh game in 22 days as they attempt to fulfil fixtures in a short period of time, a task made more difficult by their Europa League qualification and continued domestic success.


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O’Neill indicated that he does not want to interfere with Dundalk’s squad during a historic time for the club. The former Celtic boss added that he respects Stephen Kenny and hinted that it may be just more than Horgan he is considering for international duty. 

"I have constant touch, well as often as you can with Stephen [Kenny] who is a very, very busy man at this minute and their programme suggests that," O’Neill added. "They’ve got issues with fixtures because of their success, which is fantastic on one hand and obviously a bit of a pain on the other hand, so I have to speak to Stephen.

"(FAI Operations Manager) Peter Sherrard sent me the fixtures list for Dundalk and it’s glorious in the sense that they're involved with European football as well, which has probably entangled things a little bit. 

"But I have got the utmost regard for their manager, who has been brilliant and I think that if any of their players get into this squad I suppose it’s a major plus for the club itself.

"Dundalk are heavily involved in Europe now and until Christmas time at least and as I said that is fantastic.

"But who knows, I’ll speak to Stephen on a proper basis and any involvement players would have I’m sure the players would be delighted with it.

"Young Horgan has played exceptionally well, as have a number of Dundalk players."