North End frontman Maguire gets a breather
Preston striker Sean Maguire will finally get a hard-earned holiday after 18 months of football and rehabilitation from injury.
A slight hamstring strain has forced him to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad for the forthcoming friendlies against France and the USA.
His PNE team-mates Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne and Daryl Horgan have made the squad.
Maguire’s hamstring pull is not linked to the operation he had last November – it is in the other leg.
On that occasion surgery was needed to reattach the hamstring muscle to where it had come away from a tendon.
This latest muscle strain is enough to force him to pull out of international duty but he should be fine for the start of pre-season training.
Maguire, 24, has had a full-on year-and-a-half which might well have contributed to this hamstring niggle.
He played in the League of Ireland with former club Cork City from February 2017 through to last July’s arrival at North End.
The frontman went straight into the PNE side and played through to the start of November when he suffered the detached hamstring.
While that kept him out for four months, it was a long slog in terms of rehabilitation.
Maguire returned to the squad as a sub on Gentry Day at Bolton and scored twice in a 3-1 victory.
He netted in the next three games and then featured for the Republic of Ireland in a friendly against Turkey at the end of March.
In the following three PNE games he failed to score but got back on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win over Leeds.
But towards the end of that game his hamstring tightened and he missed the away win at Queens Park Rangers. He was only risked from the bench against Norwich the following week but started the last two fixtures of the season.
Last Sunday, Maguire played the full 90 minutes of the Republic’s 2-2 draw with Celtic in a testimonial for the Hoops’ Scott Brown.
Despite missing such a big chunk of the season, Maguire still finished as North End’s top scorer in the league with 10 goals.
While Maguire gets a rest, Cunningham, Horgan and Browne will be on duty until a week tomorrow.
The Republic face France in Paris on Monday night and then host the United States at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next Saturday.
The trio joined up with the Irish squad at Abbotstown yesterday afternoon.
Browne especially stands a good chance of adding to his two international caps.
It is a first involvement for Cunningham since 2013, with injury having ruled him out of the last three squads.