Sean Maguire couldn’t have chosen a better game in which to score his first competitive goal for his new club Preston North End with Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane watching on in the stands this weekend.
The Kilkenny man finished from a pinpoint cross angled in by Tom Barkhuizen in the 23rd minute of the game on Saturday and also picked up the Man of the Match award as the Lilywhites drew 1-1 at home to Barnsley.
Highlights of that clash can be seen below.
With Keane watching on, the former Cork City man’s most complete performance so far in the Championship came at just the right time, particularly when considering Ireland are in desperate need of a clinical finisher at the moment.
It’s almost exactly nine months to the day since Ireland last scored more than one goal in a competitive game – a 3-1 victory over the Boys in Green’s next opponents, Moldova – so there is very much a need for a fresh face in Ireland’s attack right now.
Maguire, who scored 20 goals for Cork City this year before moving to England, seems to fit the bill and has now shown what he’s capable of at a higher level.
Whether the Ireland assistant manager and Martin O’Neill are willing to recognise his form when the squad for the Moldova game is announced in a few weeks time remains to be seen but Maguire maintains it’s still a huge ambition of his to play for Ireland when speaking to Preston‘s official website.
“It was a massive honour for me to get into the provisional squad. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I was four or five, when I started playing football.
“I just need to keep performing at this level. One day down the line I look forward to hopefully pulling on that Irish jersey.”
With two wins needed from Ireland’s remaining two group games one would imagine it makes sense to at least include Maguire in the squad for the matches next month, especially if he can keep up this kind of club form.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena