Cork City have made a blistering start to the 2017/2018 SSE Airtricity League season.
The Leesiders have won all seven of their league fixtures so far, including a 2-1 victory over reigning champions Dundalk, which means that John Caulfieldâ€™s side are already six points clear at the summit.
Striker Sean Maguire has been key to Corkâ€™s success, scoring seven goals in as many games for the Irish club, his most recent strike a clinical finish in Corkâ€™s 3-0 win over Limerick on Friday night.
The only game the 22 year old has failed to score in this season was the aforementioned victory over Dundalk, but he still managed to lay on two assists for Karl Sheppard.
Maguire began his career at Waterford United before being snapped up by West Ham in 2012. It didnâ€™t work out for the Irishman in East London, however, and he returned to Dundalk in 2015 (after loan spells at Sligo Rovers and Accrington Stanley) when he was released by the Hammers.
The Kilkenny native swapped Dundalk for Cork in December 2015 after making 10 just appearances for the Lilywhites, and has been a revelation at Turnerâ€™s Cross ever since.
He scored twice on his league debut against Bohemians, and ended last season as the divisionâ€™s top goalscorer with 18 league goals for John Caulfieldâ€™s side.
The Republic of Ireland u21 international picked up the PFAI Young Player of the Year Award for his stunning campaign, and he signed the season off in style with a dramatic late winner in Corkâ€™s 1-0 FAI Cup final triumph over Dundalk.
Maguire is quick, clinical and a natural poacher who is getting better with each game. Â Heâ€™s only five foot nine, but says he used the off-season to improve his physicality.
â€œI did a lot of work in the off-season with Kevin Tattan, our sports scientist,â€ he told the 42.ie.
â€œLast year I felt I was lacking a bit of physicality and this year I feel like it doesnâ€™t matter what size the centre-halves are because I know I can make my mark and do well.â€
His spell at West Ham didnâ€™t work out, but perhaps the move to the Premier League side came too early for the prolific frontman.
â€œWhen I first went over there at 18, I was a Liverpool fan thrown into a dressing room with the likes of Andy Carroll and Joe Cole â€” it was very surreal. I coped with it well. The first few months were very hard â€” I had a bit of homesickness.â€
However, if the forward can maintain his current form, it wonâ€™t be long before foreign clubs come calling, like Preston did with Dundalk duo Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle.
Martin Oâ€™Neill may even be tempted to include the 22 year old in his provisional squad for Irelandâ€™s summer friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay, as the Ireland boss doesnâ€™t have too many natural goalscorers to call upon at present.
Oâ€™Neill has already shown heâ€™s not averse to calling up players from the Airtricity League, and he canâ€™t look past Maguire if he turns his attention to Irelandâ€™s top league.
Maguire has openly admitted that he had offers from abroad in the summer after last seasonâ€™s goalscoring exploits, but claims he has unfinished business at Turnerâ€™s Cross, where he hopes to win a title with Cork, who finished second behind Dundalk last time out.
â€œAt the end of the season, there was interest and offers there. I had a chat with my family and a lot of people I take advice from.
â€œI had offers to go abroad but I feel at home in Cork. I was sick of moving from club to club.â€
â€œIâ€™m only 22.Â I know Iâ€™m good enough to play at a higher level in England. I went over at a young age and I know Iâ€™ll get back there one day.â€
All the evidence suggests that heâ€™s right.
This article originally appeared on The Season Ticket.