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'If you're a LOI player and you see what's happened the two lads you'll ask 'why can't it be me?''

Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane believes international call-ups for Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle should be an incentive to others.

Keane was speaking at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League this afternoon.
Keane was speaking at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League this afternoon.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

UNLIKE THEIR PREDECESSOR, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and his right-hand man Roy Keane have regularly attended SSE Airtricity League games since taking charge in 2013.

The pair hinted all along that they would call up any player they felt was good enough to mix it at international level, and sure enough, came through with the promise late last year.

Dundalk duo Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle were included in the senior squad that travelled to Vienna to face Austria in November’s World Cup qualifier, and although neither was handed a debut in that famous victory, it was a significant night for the League of Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the 2017 season in Dublin today, Keane says he hopes to see more make the step up in the coming years.

2017 SSE Airtricity League Season Launch Players from each of the 12 Premier Division clubs at today's launch. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“First and foremost, Martin and myself enjoy going to watch matches,” the Corkman told MC Con Murphy.

“It’s certainly not a PR exercise. We’re going because we enjoy watching League of Ireland players and we enjoy looking at players we think might and will get the opportunity to come into the senior squad.

“The profile of the league has been helped with Dundalk, particularly, and Cork City having great success in Europe. All of a sudden, we’re looking at League of Ireland sides competing against some really good teams and we’re watching these players.

Your eyes don’t lie to you. When you’re watching a good player you’re watching a good player no matter what level he’s playing at.

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“We’ve been impressed by players, a couple of lads have got involved in the senior squad and we’d like to think that will continue over the next year or two.”

Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan Former Dundalk pair Boyle and Horgan were named in the Ireland squad back in November. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Horgan and Boyle have since been snapped up by Championship side Preston North End, and the former has already impressed under Simon Grayson with one goal and one assist in six appearances.

Keane believes their achievements should act as an incentive for players around the country.

“It would be a different story if we were going to watch matches and players weren’t getting a sniff of the senior team,” he added.

“If you’re a player in the League of Ireland and you see what has happened to the lads that have got involved, the first thing you will ask yourself is ‘why can’t that be me?’.”
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Ben Blake

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