With Ireland preparing for a two-leg World Cup qualifying play-off next month, the one concern is around the strike-force. Ireland did not exactly set the world alight with their goalscoring escapades throughout Group D, scoring just 12 times in ten games, seven in eight games if you discount the Moldova clashes.
With doubts lingering over Jonathan Walters due to injury, and Shane Long struggling in front of goal, Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane may have to look to others around whom to build their attack.
Daryl Murphy fired a brace against Moldova last week, and is likely to start once again. However, the introduction of Sean Maguire offers an added dimension.
The former Cork City sharpshooter has hit the ground running at Preston North End, forcing his way into the starting team, and has immediately become a fan favourite at Deepdale. Goals and man of the match awards tend to do that, mind you.
It is little surprise that the Kilkenny native attracted the interest of O’Neill, and earned his first cap in a competitive game – a rarity in the current regime.
Yesterday, Maguire continued his rich run of form at Craven Cottage, picking up a goal and an assist, granted the former was somewhat fortuitous.
However, he was forced ashore in the first half due to a hamstring injury. Preston boss Alex Neill described the injury in his post-match comments.
AN on Maguire: “He felt his hamstring so we are just hoping that’s not serious because he’s a big player for us.” #pnefc
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) October 14, 2017
The immediate concern amongst Ireland fans is the possibility of the frontman missing out on next month’s play-off.
Maguire does have form when it comes to hamstring problems. Seven months ago he was forced off the field against Galway United due to a hamstring issue. However, he was back on the pitch again in a matter of days, finding the next again against Sligo Rovers.
Let’s hope that he’ll be back in action soon, doing what he does best.