Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was like a child on Christmas morning in the Marshes Shopping Centre on Friday as he unveiled his new signing, Ireland U21 international Daryl Horgan.
After a protracted transfer saga, the 21-year-old has penned a one-year deal at Oriel Park. The Lilywhites beat off competition from the likes of Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers to secure his signature and have paid Cork City in the region of €10,000 in compensation with another €7,000 due to the Leesiders if Horgan is sold on.
Kenny revealed that Horgan first caught his eye back in 2010 when Derry City faced Salthill Devon in the First Division and, as a self-professed fan of old fashioned wingers, the Dundalk boss was thrilled by his new acquisition.
“I love wingers who can go and express themselves”, he said. “Daryl is one of the few players in the League of Ireland that can really dribble at people at pace. He gets you on the edge of your seat and there is a real air of excitement when he gets the ball. That’s rare these days. He can genuinely make a difference.
“I had four good wingers at Derry City who went away and made good careers for themselves, Niall McGinn, James McClean, Paddy McCourt and Stephen McLaughlin. Daryl’s ambition is to do well and be successful with Dundalk. If that happens, and he is one of the shining lights then it gives him an opportunity to go and play at a higher level.”
Horgan’s arrival means that Dundalk currently have the three players shortlisted for last season’s PFAI Young Player of the Year award - Horgan, Patrick Hoban and Richie Towell - in their squad.
And Horgan said that the attraction of playing with players of that calibre was one of the main reasons for joining Dundalk.
“I can’t wait to get playing here. We played Dundalk twice at Oriel Park last season and in the 4-0 defeat they ran us absolutely ragged. The players play with confidence and they play a style of football that will suit my game.”
The fixtures for the 2014 League of Ireland season were also published on Friday.
Dundalk will face Drogheda United in a mouth watering derby clash at Hunky Dory’s Park on the opening weekend of the Premier Division campaign on Friday, March 7.
The Lilywhites first home game comes seven days later when Limerick make the trip to the north east before a visit to Sligo Rovers (Saturday, March 22) beckons and the month is rounded off with a home game against Bohemians (Friday, 28).