Dundalk have captured the imagination this season, and the lighting rod for much of it has been the jet-heeled winger Daryl Horgan. Of the many Dundalk players who are being touted as Irish internationals, Horgan stands atop the queue, a position he secured with this stunning solo strike against Cork last night, in front of a certain Martin O'Neill.
Along with the calls for Horgan to be called into the international squad will inevitably come rumours of a transfer to England.
Horgan appeared on Off the Ball tonight, and revealed that he has had a number of trials across the water, only to see them fail to go any further.
I was over for a couple of trials, nothing ever really came of it. Never any contract talk, or money talk, or anything along those lines.
I went over a few years ago to Torquay and Burnley, and last year I was at Peterborough. To be honest, it's one of the biggest lessons I could have had. I've got to play all the time over here in the first team while playing in the Europa League and winning leagues...it's been special the last couple of years.
I thought they went well and you know the way it is in England: a couple of weeks after both trials the managers were sacked. It's so cut-throat. You could sign for a guy who'd be sacked a couple of days later and another fella might come in and not fancy you, so it might have been a blessing.
I thought it went well, but over there it's so global and the pressure on managers...so it just never materialised.
Horgan was effusive in praise for Stephen Kenny, praising him for his not minding if Horgan mistakes, something which Horgan reckons "is brilliant for a player like myself".
He also offered a strong case for the League of Ireland, citing the performances of Dundalk and Cork in Europe. Kevin Kilbane asked Horgan whether he believed a transfer to England remained the be-all and end-all for players in the League of Ireland, and Horgan's answer was very interesting indeed:
At the start of the year I'd have said that it is. But now, when we've got the stage to play in European group stages, to see what it's like, and play in massive games in the Aviva, and Tallaght - I suppose it's a smaller stadium but filling it, and the atmosphere and the opposition- they're massive games, and they've been incredible, huge learning curves for me.
To be playing Champions League regulars, filled with internationals, and not only competing with them but actually beating them, it shows there is a lot of quality in the league. The league does get a bad rap, but this year, with what ourselves and Cork have done in Europe, it's given it more of a profile. It's great to see Martin O'Neill going to games to watch players, you wouldn't have seen that a few years ago.
Obviously, when you go to England, the financial aspect of it is massive, and it's more competitive in the sense that you look at the Championship, and anyone can beat anyone, and it's filled with internationals too. It's a big league, but you'll never get to play in these big European nights if you do go to England.
Horgan also said that he was unaware that Martin O'Neill was at Oriel Park last night, while also saying that it's not just him that O'Neill should be scouting, that there are "five or six players in the league" that could easily do a job in the squad.
Listen to the full interview here.
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