It has been some year for Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan.
A third league winners medal each with Dundalk, 12 outings in Europe, calls-up to the Irish international set-up and now two-and-a-half year deals with English Championship side Preston North End.
Horgan was today announced as an impending Preston player, following in the footsteps of his former Dundalk colleague Boyle who was paraded yesterday with the deals to take effect from January, 1st.
Both players have expressed their delight at the moves to pnefc.net, with Horgan revealing that he was “absolutely thrilled” to get the move agreed and 25-year-old defender Boyle saying that Preston was “the only place I wanted to come.”
Speculation had been mounting for some weeks about their potential moves to Lancashire, although neither the club nor the players were forthcoming in confirming the rumours.
It represents another huge loss to the Lilywhites who have had to get used to losing their prized assets to cross-water conglomerates in recent seasons, with Pat Hoban and Richie Towell being others to have departed for British shores having enjoyed stellar tenures with Dundalk.
The year’s raid on the Lilywhites resources may be the most telling though with Boyle and Horgan having been ultra-consistent for Stephen Kenny’s men in 2016, although both have been fan favourites in Oriel Park for the entirety of their respective stints.
While it has taken Hoban and Towell some time to acclimatise to English football, some may argue that they still are, due to both a lack of form and recurrent injuries while also being down the pecking order at their respective clubs, it is anticipated that neither Boyle or Horgan will suffer a similar fate.
There was reportedly a long list of eager suitors for the signature of the pair, however, both have chosen a club who sit 12th in the English second division and who boast four other Irishmen on their senior books.
Preston manager Simon Grayson also spoke to the club’s website and gave a detailed insight into the type of players that North End fans are likely to see.
“First and foremost, we have signed two players who have attracted a lot of interest from a lot of clubs over the past few weeks and months and we have had to work hard to get them, which shows our intent as a football club,” the former Leeds and Blackpool manager said.
“Both players have had great seasons in their league and in Europe, leading to their call ups for the Irish squad. They are young, hungry and looking to improve and will be excellent acquisitions for us.
“I spoke to Steve Guppy, about both of them, who was very positive and we have watched them a number of times and they have been excellent at club level and handled the Europa League games very well.
“Daryl is a forward-thinking player with a lot of goals. He makes things happen, has got a bit of pace about him, has a good delivery in him and he has scored a lot of goals this season.
“Andy is a good centre half, who can also handle the ball and both have shown their determination to join us by coming over a couple of times to meet us and got things done very quickly. They both have the desire to keep improving and joining a Championship club is the next progression for them – we have always tried to improve and we look forward to working with them.”
Horgan leaves Dundalk with a record of 27 goals in 132 appearances while Boyle departs having played over 150 appearances in his four years at the club.