Saturday 23 February 2019

Maguire's big night just up ends in frustration

NO SERVICE: The Republic of Ireland’s Seán Maguire in action against Turkey defender Hasan Ali Kaldirim. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
NO SERVICE: The Republic of Ireland’s Seán Maguire in action against Turkey defender Hasan Ali Kaldirim. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The fans in the stadium, and those watching at home, were willing Sean Maguire to mark his full debut with a goal.

It didn't happen for the Preston man, in more ways than one, as Maguire admits that a big night in his career was also a frustrating one.

The one chance which Ireland created over 90 minutes in Antalya fell to Scott Hogan, and the debutant missed the target. Would Maguire, very much in-form at club level, have put it away?

A moot point today as Ireland fall to another defeat, hope of better to come in looming friendlies against France and the USA, and Maguire feels things can get better after an off-night in Turkey.

"It's international football, any time you get the ball you need to make things happen, last night I struggled to make stuff happen in the first half particularly," Maguire told The Herald.

"It's frustrating, very much so, you look at the statistics of possession, shots on target and to not have a shot on target is very frustrating. But we can take a lot out of the game.

"In the second half I grew into the game, started to get on the ball on the half-turn and started to get at players. But I was personally

frustrated with the way I played, I could have played a lot better but it was a great experience for me, it was only my second cap and I am only back from five months out. But I was frustrated with my performance."

It should be borne in mind that Maguire is a rookie at international level (one cap, as sub) before last night and he was up against a very experienced Turkish defence, hardy boys from Fenerbahce (Hasan Ali Kaldirim) and Galatasaray (Serdar Aziz) who eat nippy forwards for breakfast in the tough realm of the Turkish league, and they offered Maguire no space to do something.

"I didn't get much of the ball to feet and at the time I did, I could have done better, it's a learning experience, it was a friendly game with a new group," Maguire added.

"I was playing with Scotty (Hogan) for the first time, it will take time to gel, we will build on that. we were up against an experienced Turkish side, a good team.

"We are similar players, me and Scott, the way we play, our best attribute is going in behind, being a fox in the box, if Scotty had scored the chance he had, and I'd have bet the house on him scoring, it would have been a different game but it wasn't meant to be, he's taken it around the keeper at a tight angle and he was close but it's a learning experience.

"I am still learning, I didn't get much of a chance to notch up a goal for myself but it's great to put on the Ireland jersey.

"To get my second cap means a lot, shows how far I have come, especially in the last five months after the injury, hopefully it can be a good few months for me now with Preston."

For his part, O'Neill said he was pleased with his attackers.

"Young Hogan could have scored and I'm told it looks like a penalty kick for young Maguire. I think we have to try and create more in games," O'Neill said.

"We get two centre forwards playing in the side, they have small stature and they needed a bit of help, they complemented each other, given it's the first time they played together."

O'Neill will now hope that Maguire can carry his form through with Preston and also pray for Hogan to find form with Aston Villa.

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