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'There may be an opportunity to go to the UK' - Future uncertain for Cork's cup hero

John Caulfield admits Sean Maguire could leave the Leesiders after a phenomenal debut season with the club.

Cork's Sean Maguire celebrates with The FAI Cup after the game.
Cork's Sean Maguire celebrates with The FAI Cup after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SEAN MAGUIRE CAME back to haunt Dundalk in yesterday’s FAI Cup final.

The 22-year-old striker’s deflected effort found the back of the net in the last minute of extra-time to break the Lilywhites’ hearts.

And the goal would have been all the sweeter for Maguire given that it came against the team who he failed to sparkle for during a brief stint at the club last season.

Chances at Dundalk were few and far between for the Irish forward, who has also had spells at Waterford United and West Ham over the course of his young career.

After no goals in six appearances for Stephen Kenny’s side last year, John Caulfield took a gamble on the youngster that has ultimately paid off handsomely.

Maguire was recently named the PFAI Young Player of the Year and finished as the league’s top scorer with 18 goals in 30 appearances, but none were as precious as his last-gasp winner at the Aviva yesterday.

I didn’t really know much about him when I signed him,” Caulfield admitted in the post-match press conference. “I knew who he was and what he could do, but I hadn’t really seen him performing and I didn’t promise him anything.

“There was no one looking for him (when we signed him). He was a really humble person, feet on the ground and I just told him he’d get opportunities if he worked hard and you could see very quickly he was a phenomenal player.

He started pre-season on fire and he just kept right through. He was outstanding in Europe and it was fitting for him to get the goal at the start of the season in the President’s Cup, and it was fitting for him to get the winner today.

“I’m more about the person really. I like fellas who really want to win, I like good lads who train hard and put the work in. If they do that then and you’re not good enough, that’s fine. I like real honesty and real guys who are dedicated and he’s one of those, and all the squad really are now.”

Nevertheless for all his success at Cork and positive attributes, Maguire’s future is uncertain, with Caulfield suggesting he could return to England in the close season.

“We have 12 of the squad under contract for next year. Sean isn’t and he knows we want him. There may be an opportunity for him to go to the UK, so we’ll decide over the next week. The situation with a lad like Seanie, when he moves on and as a club and as a manager, you want him to go to a higher level again.

But you can go to a higher level at the moment, when you have a club like us that’s playing in Europe, playing in front of 30,000 out here.

“If that opportunity comes for him, he may go. He’s very happy with us. He has the confidence of myself. And personally, I think for him, the time is right to stay with us, so we’ll see.”

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Paul Fennessy

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