Stephen O’Donnell has described Daryl Horgan’s return to Oriel Park as a massive lift for the club and for the town.

The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international completed a move back to the Lilywhites on Tuesday night, sparking scenes of jubilation amongst supporters.

And O’Donnell, who was a teammate of Horgan’s during the attacker’s trophy-laden first spell at Oriel Park between 2014 and 2016, said he could fully understand the reaction.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said O’Donnell. “It was an open secret that I would be very interested in Daryl when his contract ran down at Wycombe but there’s a long way from being interested to actually getting him through the doors at Oriel Park so the owners and Brian Gartland have put in some brilliant work to get it over the line.

“You could feel a bounce with the players this morning as well. I think it was a bolt from the blue. It was kept so quiet and just happened all of a sudden, and that had a better effect. We’re delighted to welcome the wee man back.”

O’Donnell agreed that the move for a player who has won 17 international caps and played at English Championship, League One and Scottish top-flight level over the past seven years was a massive signal of intent from Dundalk.

“He’s a top calibre player,” said O’Donnell. “We’re not signing a 35-year-old that’s gone and had a great career and is coming back and the international caps he won were seven or eight years previously.

“He has made a difference at international level and obviously the Dundalk fans will know and have seen firsthand what he was capable of doing to top-level teams in Europe.

Daryl Horgan, pictured on his first day of training at Oriel Park. Top: Horgan and Stephen O’Donnell. Photo: Ciaran Culligan

“He’s a really good age profile and is a more complete player coming back. From a maturity and a contribution point of view, he’ll be even better again with all the experience he’s had and the places that he’s played. He’s going to be a massive help to us, on and off the pitch.

“As well as that, his wife Donna is from the town and they’re coming back with their little army of kids to Dundalk so there’s something that runs deeper than obviously just having a three-year spell here previously.

“He’s embedded in the town so it means that bit more. There’s a huge sort of feeling and connection from him to Dundalk, rather than it just being another transfer in his career. He’s coming back to where he really lit it up and I know that fire still burns very brightly.”

Horgan trained with his new teammates on Wednesday but is ineligible for Thursday’s UEFA Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie with KA Akureyri.

Pending international clearance, he will be available for Sunday’s SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division fixture with Shelbourne at Oriel Park.

“He’s a thorough professional and he was in training for a couple of weeks with Wycombe and played a week ago,” said O’Donnell. “He looks in really good condition so I don’t think he’s going to take that long at all to get up to speed.”