Martin O’Neill has been paying a lot of attention to Dundalk this year, writes Stephen Barry.
The Ireland manager visited the team’s changing room after beating BATE Borisov in August, telling them their performance was “absolutely phenomenal”.
Then, earlier this month O’Neill joked that “if they've got 10 minutes to spare I'd pick the whole lot of them – they've only got 15 games in the next 2 days.”
Regardless, O’Neill appears to be giving serious consideration to introducing some Dundalk players to his international squad once the domestic season concludes at the start of November.
Daryl Horgan’s name has been mentioned at the top of that list, and his second goal in Dundalk’s 2-1 win over title rivals Cork City convinced many that he deserves his place.
Martin O'Neil has been to watch Daryl Horgan twice recently in big games, and was man-of-the-match in both. What more can he do? #callhimup— League of Ireland (@league_ireland) October 11, 2016
If O'Neill fails to call Daryl Horgan up against Austria next month he should be sacked on the spot. #ybig— Brendan Donaghy (@BrendanDonaghy) October 11, 2016
Daryl Horgan virtually certain of an Irish call-up with Martin O'Neill in Oriel Park
Trap wasn't big on domestic soccer...#Dundalk— Seán Perry (@perry_sean) October 11, 2016
What a first half from Daryl #Horgan 2 quality goals, the second starting with a run from his own half. Has to be in the squad for Austria— Seány Seánito Hehir (@SeanitoHehir) October 11, 2016
So long, Aiden McGeady. Hello, Daryl Horgan.— Rob Brennan (@RobBrennan82) October 11, 2016
Daryl Horgan will surely be named in Ireland squad for Vienna?— YBIG (@YouBoysInGreen) October 11, 2016
The Oriel Park announcer even went so far as to predict the future…
Dundalk PA man announces MOTM to "future Irish international Daryl Horgan" ... but Martin O'Neill has already left— Paul O'Hehir (@paulohehir) October 11, 2016
Some fans were calling on club bosses, including Gary Monk and even Arsene Wenger, to take a punt on Horgan.
@Arsenal please take a chance on Daryl Horgan and sign him up!— ⒿⒸ (@Official_JC95) October 11, 2016
The 2-1 win sees Dundalk restore their four-point lead at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division.
Mark McNulty’s own goal – after a Horgan free struck the crossbar – and Horgan’s 36th-minute strike provided enough of a cushion for the hosts after Mark O’Sullivan halved the deficit with 34 minutes to go.
Also tonight, Finn Harps have taken another step towards securing their top tier status for next season.
Sean Houston grabbed an injury-time equaliser for Harps as they claimed a 1-1 draw against St Pat's in Ballybofey.