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Browne's stunning effort before Maguire's first of the season with O'Neill and Keane up next

That damn crossbar…

Sean Maguire and Alan Browne starred for Preston last night.
Sean Maguire and Alan Browne starred for Preston last night.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

LAST NIGHT WAS a big one for the Irish contingent in the Championship — and there’s another excting head-to-head just around the corner.

While Sean Maguire grabbed the headlines this side of the water after his goal helped Preston to victory over promotion hopefuls Norwich, his fellow Irish international Alan Browne came agonisingly close seconds before.

Former Cork City striker Maguire made no mistake in following up on Browne’s original effort, a stunning curling volley from 35 yards which hit the crossbar. After controlling the ball with his chest, the midfielder pulled the trigger for the near miss, but thankfully Maguire was floating around the box and made no mistake on the rebound.

Finally off the mark on his eighth start in an injury-blighted season, it was the 24-year-old’s first goal for the Lilywhites since April 2018 against Leeds.

“I’m in the team to score goals so to get one tonight at such a crucial time to make it 3-0 was great for me,” Maguire said in the post-match press conference.

The game finished 3-1 and with the two Irish men flying it, their next challenge brings two very familiar faces to their attention.

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane’s Nottingham Forest come to Deepdale on Saturday [kick-off 3pm] and Preston will be full of confidence after last night’s boost which saw them end Norwich’s 13-game unbeaten streak.

Currently 13th in the table while Forest sit ninth, with plenty to play for still.

United Kingdom: Birmingham City v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet O'Neill and Keane. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

And Alex Neill is impressed with what O’Neill has done with his side since taking charge in mid-January.

“It’s going to be a difficult one,” the Preston boss said this morning. “They are a totally different prospect to what they were when we last played them.

“Martin has gone in there and brought in a different approach and they will be difficult to break down and they have good players. It’s certainly not going to be an easy game.”

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Emma Duffy

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