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Sports Person of the Year 2016: Why Daryl Horgan deserves his place on the shortlist

The winger was the star of Dundalk’s remarkable European run.

THE SHORTLIST FOR RTÉ Sports Person of the Year is packed with worthy contenders. Shane Costello argues in favour of the 2016 PFAI Player of the Year, Daryl Horgan… 

Daryl Horgan celebrates scoring Horgan earned international recognition for his outstanding individual performances for Dundalk this year. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The 24-year-old winger was the key man in Dundalk’s memorable 2016 season as the Lilywhites lifted their third Premier Division title in a row amid a historic European run.

Despite his body pushed to the limited during a hectic fixture schedule, where his side were playing a game on average every three days at the end of the season, Horgan still managed to thrive during a testing period.

Domestically, his sensational solo strike against Cork City in October helped steer the title back to Oriel Park after it appeared it could be slipping from Dundalk’s grip. Horgan delivered when his side needed him the most.

Horgan goal Source: RTÉ

The Galway native personified all the qualities that helped Dundalk capture the imagination of the wider Irish sporting public.

Brave on the ball and never willing to shirk any responsibility, the former Salthill Devon man has proved that Ireland can still produce technically good players, and if supported in the right environment, that these players can flourish at home before moving abroad.

Horgan 2 Source: RTÉ

In an era of high pressing and possession-based football, it was refreshing to see a player from the League of Ireland demand the ball from his teammates to take on opposing players in European competition.

His superb individual goal in the Europa League against Zenit was just one example why there were so many calls for the diminutive attacker to be selected for the national team.

Zenit Source: eir Sport

Horgan has been showcasing his talent to dozens of scouts on regular basis, but has never let the pressure negatively effect his individual performance, and more importantly, that of his team.

Having broken new ground this year, Horgan has unquestionably left his mark on the greatest-ever team to come from the League of Ireland.

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Read more of the SPOTY 2016 profiles here >

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