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On-fire Maguire sets his sights on winning

Thursday, 13th April, 2017 1:00am

Eight wins from eight, Cork City are flying high at the top of the League.

Their best start to the League since 1998, City’s plans to end the 12-year wait for League success continued in fine form with a 3-0 win over Derry last Friday night. Goals from Garry Buckley, Karl Shepphard and the in-form Sean Maguire saw City maintain their six-point gap at the top of the table.

This week Maguire, who has scored eight goals so far this season, was named as the PFAI Player of the Month for March and the Kilkenny native admitted the award was a major boost at the stage in the season.

“I don’t pick up many of these awards so it’s great to start the season picking this up, it’s great to get an individual award. I get the plaudits scoring the goals but it’s been a team effort.”

His explosive start for City in 2017 has gone far from unnoticed, with Maguire gaining more columns inches by the game. Speculation is rife that, not only will cross-channel clubs soon come calling, but a national call-up could also be on the cards.

Speaking on reports he is set for a call-up for Ireland’s friendly against Uruguay in June, the 19 year old said: “It’s very flattering to see reports of myself getting called up to the Irish team but I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.

“I’m improving and learning every game and I think that’s a credit to my team-mates and obviously I’m not going to get carried away.

“There’s a lot of improvement to my game, not only the team’s game, and we’ve two very tough games against Bohs and Pats away (next) and we’re fully focused on that.”

With 18 goals last season, Maguire finished 2016 as the League’s top scorer and is already well on his way to beating last year’s record. The sriker admitted he is in the best form of his career this year: “I think not only the best form but I feel the best I’ve felt since playing football, since an early age. Obviously scoring the eight goals in eight games, it’s been a great start. It’s very important to score early in the season and then continue that momentum.

“I don’t like setting myself a target. If you do that from the start of the season, you start putting pressure on yourself and if you’re not scoring in a few games you get frustrated and lose that bit of confidence, so I take each game by game.”

Manager John Caulfield is one person Maguire credits higely with having helped to improve his form.

A former striker, Caulfield’s advice has been a huge help to Maguire: “I give John a lot of credit for what I’ve done in Cork. We’ve a great relationship on and off the pitch. I look at John – he was a striker, he worked hard, he scored lots of goals, he worked hard and he gives me tips on what to do, our relationship is getting better, it’s a credit to him.”

As for his reasons for not leaving City last season when overseas offers were touted?

“I felt I owed something to Cork City, to John. Last season I was nowhere, I didn’t play for Dundalk, I didn’t have many games under my belt. I wanted to win the League here.

“We’ve had a great start but it’s only a start and we’re not going to get carried away away, there’s still a lot of big games to play and we’re just going to keep our focus on the next game.

“My ambition is to play at the highest level and if it’s in England, or in Europe...but that’s a longterm goal. The shorterm goal is to do well for Cork City and do the best for my team and do the best for me and I’m fully focused on trying to win the League for Cork City and retaining the FAI Cup.”

He continued: “I’m loving it on the pitch and off the pitch, the boys are a pleasure to come in to every single day. The dressing room, there’s no big egos – there’s fellas there that are friends for life and if you’re enjoying it off the pitch, it makes things a lot easier on the pitch.

“My job is to win and score goals. We haven’t won since 2005 so it’s a big thing and we’ve had a great start and we’re looking to continue that.” • Cork City FC play Bohemians on Friday. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

ABOVE: Seán Maguire bring presented with the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for March 2017. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

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