Maguire is on fire again as he marks return from injury with a double

Maguire is on fire again as he marks return from injury with a double

Preston North End’s Seanie Maguire celebrating with Alan Browne, after scoring in Saturday’s win over Bolton. Picture: Dave Howarth/PA Wire

ON Saturday, Seanie Maguire showed why Cork City fans always chanted about him being on fire. He scored with a double from the bench to give Preston North End a derby victory at Bolton.

The Kilkenny native had been out since November 1, with hamstring trouble, but returned to score in the 77th and 90th minutes, after Tom Barkhuizen had cancelled out Mark Beevers’ 11th-minute opener.

Maguire hailed his brilliant two-goal blast as “the best feeling” of his career.

“You can’t write this kind of stuff, to even be back, involved today, with the fans screaming your name in a big derby, which we had to win... to score two goals is the best feeling in my football career, to date, and I’ve had a lot of highs with Cork City,” said Maguire.

“It makes it a lot more special, being out for four months and being frustrated, coming in, knowing you’re not going to be involved, not going to be in match-day squads. Coming on was a massive plus for me, did a lot for my confidence, and to score two goals, my first brace for the club, was one of the best feelings, if not the best, in my football career.”

Picture: Dave Howarth/PA Wire. 
Picture: Dave Howarth/PA Wire. 

The 23-year-old became an Irish international last winter and had shone after his transfer from Turner’s Cross, with four goals in his initial appearances, before the injury. His comeback boosts Preston’s hopes of reaching the play-offs, while Mahon native and former Cork City midfielder, Alan Browne, has been on song lately for the English club, as well.

Both will be in the mix to make the extended Irish squad, for a friendly against Turkey later this month, along with Galway-born left-back Greg Cunningham. 

Daryl Horgan didn’t feature for Preston against Bolton, while Irish trio, Andy Boyle, Kevin O’Connor and Eoin Doyle, are all loaned out elsewhere. Corkonian Adam O’Reilly, just 16, recently made the bench for Preston.

The Championship outfit are ninth in the table, four points clear of John Egan’s Brentford, but just three behind sixth-placed Bristol City. Conor Hourihane’s Aston Villa are third, four points off second-placed Cardiff City, in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League. 

Preston actually host Bristol on Tuesday night, where a win over the in-form visitors, who beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 at the weekend, is a must.

“I don’t think he would have dreamed of a better game back,” said manager, Alex Neil. “The fact is Sean has now scored six goals this season; our top-scorer (Barkhuizen) has eight. So, it just shows you how important he is to us.”

Maguire was booked by referee, Peter Bankes, for celebrating his opening goal wildly in front of Preston’s 4,000 fans, 12 minutes after replacing Billy Bodin.

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