Stuart Byrne: If Cork City lost Sean Maguire, it would have to have an effect on them

Ex-Shels midfielder discusses how key the striker is to the League of Ireland leaders

Such has been the impact that Sean Maguire is making for Cork City, it has now become a talking point when he isn't called up for Martin O'Neill's Ireland squad. 

That has yet to happen at senior level but the prolific young striker has been linked with interest from English clubs like Preston North End this season.

But if he were to depart at some point in 2017, what impact would that have on a Cork City side that are a long way in front at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division?

Former Shelbourne midfielder Stuart Byrne was on Off The Ball and touched on Cork's strong start and how few injuries so far this season mirrors Dundalk's recent league winning campaigns.

"It's completely new ground for them. They haven't had any injuries, they haven't lost a couple of key players yet and you just wonder what kind of hit that would have to them if all of a sudden they were maybe to lose a couple of players, lose a game even or lose two trot. Would it have an effect on them mentally?" he said.

On the hypothetical case of Maguire's future and how it would affect Cork City down the line, Stuey does not see a like for like replacement for the player.

"For such a small guy, he's just so clever and just so strong and knows how to use his body," he said, adding that Maguire has won games for Cork on three or four occasions this season, although Stuey highlighted that other players have also been stepping up.

But overall, he concluded: "You would have to say, if they lost him, it would have to have an effect on them. It would have to."