Sean Maguire scores 95th-minute winner for Preston to break Birmingham hearts

The Ireland striker notched a late header on Saturday with important Euro qualifiers on the horizon next week.

The 24-year-old snatched all three points right at the death.
The 24-year-old snatched all three points right at the death.
Image: CameraSport via Getty Images

IRELAND STRIKER SEAN Maguire was the hero for Preston North End on Saturday afternoon, as the 24-year-old delivered a 95th-minute header to break Birmingham hearts with a dramatic 1-0 win for the Lilywhites.

Maguire was named in Mick McCarthy’s final 23-man squad for next week’s Euro 2020 qualifiers — away to Gibraltar next Saturday and at home to Georgia three days’ later — and will be full of confidence as his late winner gives Preston’s promotion hopes a major boost.

With the sides deadlocked approaching stoppage time Maguire rose highest to meet Daniel Johnson’s cross to guide a pinpoint header beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Lee Camp deep in the final minute of injury time.

Maguire has suffered a host of injury setbacks since making his senior Ireland debut at home to Moldova in October 2017, recently spending seven weeks on the sidelines towards the end of last year with a hamstring strain.

Sean Maguire Maguire has been named in Mick McCarthy's squad for next week's Euro qualifiers. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He made his club return during an FA Cup clash with Doncaster Rovers in January, scoring three goals in his last seven games with Saturday’s header adding to recent strikes against Norwich and Millwall in February.

The former Cork City striker scored 10 goals in 19 league games during his debut season in the Championship last year, most recently lining out for the Boys in Green during November’s 0-0 friendly with Northern Ireland where he was forced to limp off.

Maguire’s late header gives Preston hopes of promotion a big injection of confidence as they go level on points with Aston Villa vying for a play-off spot in the Championship with eight games to go.

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Aaron Gallagher

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