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Saturday 10 December 2016

Maguire's dream of Cup magic

FAI Cup Final

Cork City’s Seán Maguire celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the FAI Cup semi-final victory over St Pat’s Athletic at Richmond Park
Cork City’s Seán Maguire celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the FAI Cup semi-final victory over St Pat’s Athletic at Richmond Park

Growing up in Kilkenny, he was surrounded by pals whose dream was to play on the big stage of Croke Park with a hurley in their hand.

For Seán Maguire, the ambition was all about going up to Dublin but playing on the turf at Lansdowne Road in another code, and this weekend, the Cork City striker will finally realise that ambition, Maguire certain to start against his previous club Dundalk in Sunday's FAI Cup final.

Demand

Sadly for the Cork fans it will almost certainly be his last game in the City shirt as Maguire, who previously had a spell with West Ham, is out of contract and with his season tally of 28 goals, added to his impressive form with the Ireland U21 side, he will be in demand, a firm offer already on the table from a Championship club.

"I am a Cork City player and my focus is on Sunday. I will sit down after that and see what's there, I do have some options but I won't think about it this week," says Maguire.

Having stormed to the top of the scoring charts and landed the Young Player of the Year award fro his fellow players, Maguire has proved himself this season but Sunday is a big day, the forward keen to make the most of Lansdowne Road after an unhappy trip there last season with Dundalk.

"This will be my first time to play in the Aviva, last year I didn't even make the bench so it'll be good to play this year and it should be a good occasion, for us and for our fans," Maguire told The Herald.

"It's a big deal for me. I know that 90 per cent of Kilkenny people would have dreamed of playing in Croke Park but it was always about Lansdowne Road or the Aviva for me, to play there in front of - hopefully - 30,000 people will be something else."

Lauded on a personal level this term, Maguire is desperate to finish the season with a trophy in the form of the FAI Cup.

"It's nice to get individual honours, the young player award and the top scorer, but it's all about winning trophies as a team," he says.

"We win and lose as a team, I will get the plaudits for scoring all those goals but I'd be nothing without team-mates around me, and we have players at the back in the City side who chipped in with a few goals, so we owe it to the fans to win a trophy.

"If someone had said to me at the start of the season that I'd win the Young Player of the Year award, score 28 goals, finish second in the league and get to play in the Aviva, I'd have seen that as an amazing season, but I want a medal too.

"We can still finish off the season on a high, people seem to have forgotten that we did so well in Europe, so it would be great to see out the season with a trophy.

"If we perform to our best we'll have no problem. We have played them four times this season and beaten then three times, we lost the most important one last month but we are up at that level and we need to show that now on Sunday."

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