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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 15 May 2021

'It would have been great to keep him until the end of the season but that wasn't going to happen'

John Caulfield has given his reaction to confirmation that Cork City striker Sean Maguire is set to join Preston.

Sean Maguire hit a hat-trick for Cork City against Dundalk last night.
Sean Maguire hit a hat-trick for Cork City against Dundalk last night.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CORK CITY BOSS John Caulfield has expressed disappointment at confirmation that Sean Maguire will leave the club to join Preston in July, while wishing the player all the best on his move.

With 16 goals so far in the league this season, the 23-year-old has been a key part of the Cork City side that currently tops the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Maguire hit a hat-trick in front of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane in a 3-0 victory over Dundalk at Oriel Park, as the Leesiders went 18 points clear of the reigning champions.

And today, after news of the Preston move was confirmed, Caulfield told Red FM that talks had been ongoing for a while and that the main issue of contention between the two sides was when the player would leave for England.

Ultimately, July was decided upon, meaning Maguire can continue to play in Cork colours until then.

We wanted to keep him as long as we could. They wanted him as quick as they could (get him),” Caulfield said.

“It would have been great to keep him until the end of the season but that wasn’t going to happen.

The most important thing for him is that he has kept his feet on the ground (while playing for Cork).

“We just have to drive on for the remainder of the season.

There were a number of (British) clubs that released the money clause.

“It was up to us to negotiate and get certain things in our favour

No club wanted to leave it until the end of the (League of Ireland) season. We wanted to get the best deal for us.”

While expressing faith in alternative options up front in Achille Campion and Connor Ellis, Caulfield added that Cork would be “in the market” looking for another striker of the requisite quality.

The Rebels’ manager also expressed hope that defender Ryan Delaney would extend his stay at the club, with his loan spell set to expire in the coming weeks, after he joined from Burton Albion in January.

I was hoping we can get that finalised but we’ll look at alternatives if we can’t,” he said.

The 52-year-old coach, meanwhile, paid tribute to his side after they extended their lead at the top in convincing fashion last night.

“There’s an unbelievable drive and spirit within them,” he added.

How they eat and look after themselves, that’s what people don’t see. And Seani’s part of that.

“When he came back this year, after 30 goals last year, he went to a higher level again.

“Seani’s going to have a fantastic career, I’ve no doubt about that.”

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Paul Fennessy

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