Ex-Drogheda United manager on the Cork City striker and Bohs-Rovers derbies of yesteryear
Ex-Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke feels Cork City's Sean Maguire deserves a chance at international recognition for Ireland.
The 22 year old forward, who scored the winning goal in last season's FAI Cup final and netted 18 league goals last season, has taken his prolific form from 2016 into a goalscoring start to the 2017 campaign, scoring the winner against Finn Harps last Friday.
Martin O'Neill will name his squad to face Wales in a 2018 World Cup qualifier soon and his last selection included then-Dundalk players Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle.
Speaking to Newstalk.com ahead of the weekend's League of Ireland action, Mick told me that Maguire would deserve an opportunity based on his domestic exploits.
"It seems with the recognition the league gets here, a player goes, for me, to a lower standard in England, and it's perceived 'oh, he's full time now in England, he has to be in the Irish squad,'" said Mick before turning to a player who previously spent time in England with West Ham and Accrington Stanley.
Shamrock Rovers ©INPHO/Colm O'Neill
"And I think it's time that for the likes of Maguire, who I think is one for the future. He's been away, he's come back and proved himself last year [at Cork City] with the amount of goals that he scored and is up and running already. So why not include him?
"Martin tends to nominate 30-man squads and for recognition of the league, how can you have players from the Scottish league and lower leagues in England and ignore the League of Ireland where you have someone like Maguire proving himself week in, week out? He's a young player and I certainly think he will go back to England. So why should we wait until he signs for somebody in England to give him a chance. I think he should be in the squad."
Mick, who played for Shamrock Rovers between 1974 and 1977, also recalled the atmosphere at derbies against Bohemians, with both Dublin clubs facing each other this Friday.
"The Dublin derbies were always something to look forward to. Certainly Bohemians mightn't have been as big in my day because they were an amateur team. But it was always nice to play against them. Dalymount was always a great place to go to, we had big crowds then and you looked forward to every Dublin game," he said, adding that in those days the threat of hooliganism was not something experienced.