Ahead of the winger's potential appearance against England for the Republic of Ireland, get to know more about Daryl Horgan's upbringing in the Emerald Isle.
What did it mean to you to get called up to the Republic of Ireland team again (for the October fixtures against Wales and Finland)?
Every time you play for your country it’s unbelievable; I thought it might have been a bit out of reach for me because I hadn’t been in the squad for nearly two years. I was in the provisional one previously but never got the call-up and thankfully this time I got in. I tried to show then manager what I could do when I got in and I got to play in both games. On a personal note, I got my first competitive start. The games were both frustrating and we couldn’t put the ball in the net – we got punished by Finland and we should probably have won both games.
Did you play any other sports growing up in Ireland?
Yes, I played a bit of everything – Gaelic football, athletics, a small amount of
hurling. Sometimes I do miss a good game of Gaelic football to be honest with you! When I got to about 16 it was one or the other and football was always going to win.
Damien Duff and Robbie Keane. Obviously, they played at the highest level, were both Irish, Keane scored a huge amount of goals and they were both just incredible players.
Tell us about your time playing in Ireland.
I had an incredible three years at Dundalk - won the league three times, played in the Europa League, won a couple of cups. It was a whirlwind three years, incredible. Two years earlier the club nearly got relegated, then the new manager took over with the club on its knees. They then came second that year, signed me and a couple of others and went on to be more successful. It was a great time and they’re still flying now. It’s a club that went from touch and go to being one of the most successful in Ireland.
How did you find leaving Ireland to come over to England, was it a big decision?
Yeah a bit. It was a big change and tough for the family, leaving home where we had a lot of family around us. But it was something I felt I had to do. I was 24 thinking, ‘if I don’t go now I won’t go at all.’ I felt I had to give it a go to play at the highest level I could. Preston North End was a good fit for me, I spoke to the manager, it was looking good and I played a lot in my first six months.
And then moving up to Scotland?
It was brilliant up there – it’s crazy and you don’t realise until you’re there just how big Scottish football is. Hibs is a huge club and it was a brilliant time. We probably weren’t as successful as we could have been but you look at them now and they’re probably where they should be, high up in the table and they’re looking good to stay there. I really enjoyed my time there.
You mentioned Damien Duff being a role model of yours, you also look quite similar! Is that something you get quite a lot?
Yep, quite a bit! A likeness in bank accounts and Premier League medals would be alright too! I can’t be a carbon copy of him on the pitch but he’s someone I loved watching, the way he could beat people with ease and his deliveries were unbelievable. To have that to look up to when I was younger was brilliant. I expect he hears it a lot less than I do – I don’t suppose many people go up to him and go, ‘you look like Daryl Horgan’! It’s usually the other way around!
Are you a fan of Supermacs?
Yes! Supermacs is a little fast food restaurant, mainly in Galway but it’s dotted around Ireland as well. Unbelievable. The one at Eyre Square – perfect.
One country you’d like to visit?
America, the West Coast.
How is St Patrick's Day back in Ireland?
Unbelievable, it’s brilliant for everyone. Young kids have the parade, everyone gets a day off, everyone goes out, it’s brilliant. It’s usually a bit of madness but there’s no harm in that is there?! I haven’t had a Paddy’s Day back home in a long, long time! Usually it would be very rare to not have a game around Paddy’s Day as the season back in Ireland usually starts around March so very rarely would we be able to get out so early in the season. But yes, it’s a brilliant day.
Is it true that Guinness over here doesn’t compare to Guinness in Ireland?
Not even close, nowhere near it, waste of time over here! Get everyone over to Ireland and have a Guinness!