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 Caulfield’s side are already six points clear at the summit.
Striker Sean Maguire has been key to Cork’s success, scoring seven goals in as many games for the Irish club, his most recent strike a clinical finish in Cork’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 didn’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 Turner’s Cross ever since.
He scored twice on his league debut against Bohemians, and ended last season as the division’s top goalscorer with 18 league goals for John Caulfield’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 Cork’s 1-0 FAI Cup final triumph over Dundalk.
Maguire is quick, clinical and a natural poacher who is getting better with each game. He’s only five foot nine, but says he used the off-season to improve his physicality.
“I did a lot of work in the off-season with Kevin Tattan, our sports scientist,” he told the 42.ie.
“Last year I felt I was lacking a bit of physicality and this year I feel like it doesn’t matter what size the centre-halves are because I know I can make my mark and do well.”
His spell at West Ham didn’t work out, but perhaps the move to the Premier League side came too early for the prolific frontman.
“When 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 — it was very surreal. I coped with it well. The first few months were very hard — I had a bit of homesickness.”
However, if the forward can maintain his current form, it won’t be long before foreign clubs come calling, like Preston did with Dundalk duo Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle.
Martin O’Neill may even be tempted to include the 22 year old in his provisional squad for Ireland’s summer friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay, as the Ireland boss doesn’t have too many natural goalscorers to call upon at present.
O’Neill has already shown he’s not averse to calling up players from the Airtricity League, and he can’t look past Maguire if he turns his attention to Ireland’s top league.
Maguire has openly admitted that he had offers from abroad in the summer after last season’s goalscoring exploits, but claims he has unfinished business at Turner’s Cross, where he hopes to win a title with Cork, who finished second behind Dundalk last time out.
“At 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.
“I had offers to go abroad but I feel at home in Cork. I was sick of moving from club to club.”
“I’m only 22. I know I’m good enough to play at a higher level in England. I went over at a young age and I know I’ll get back there one day.”
All the evidence suggests that he’s right.
This article originally appeared on The Season Ticket.