Two goals inside the opening 33 minutes from Rafael Ratão and Aleksandar Čavrić killed the game as a contest and while the Lilywhites never gave up, even briefly threatening a mini-revival when Michael Duffy pulled one back midway through the second half, this ultimately proved a challenge too far.
It’s Thursday afternoon when I reach him on the phone, and Sean Maguire, just “chilling out” on a last day of rest before starting to climb the Championship mountain with Preston North End again, is reflecting on how Deepdale is no longer such a deep shade of green.
With the Nations League double-header against Denmark and Wales looming, Callum Robinson fired a reminder of his talents to Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill when scoring twice as Preston moved off the foot of the Championship table after a 4-0 win over Wigan.
Two goals and regular starts for Preston in the Championship and a League of Ireland winner’s medal virtually in the post — all Sean Maguire needs now to complete a heady 2017 is to get the nod from Martin O’Neill to play his part in an Irish redemption song as the World Cup qualifying campaign reaches its conclusion.
Official confirmation that Kevin O’Connor has become Simon Grayson’s last signing as Preston North End manager now gives way to speculation about who the Cork City player – as well as his teammate Sean Maguire and fellow League of Ireland exports Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle – will be playing under at Deepdale next season.
Cork City manager John Caulfield has dismissed suggestions striker Seanie Maguire has had his head turned by transfer speculation as the club look to end the Premier Division’s first series of games tonight with a 100% record.
It was a mixed weekend for the Irish contingent at Championship outfit Preston as Aiden McGeady’s sixth goal of the season rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest on an afternoon when Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle were hauled off at half-time.
Although a number of the more senior candidates – among them John O’Shea, Glenn Whelan and Jon Walters — have left the squad to return to their clubs, it still tells you something about how important a player Robbie Brady has become for Ireland, that Martin O’Neill has nominated him as captain for the friendly game against Iceland at the Aviva tonight.
A year that featured the glorious high of scoring Ireland’s winner against Italy in Lille ended in frustrating fashion for Robbie Brady as the Dubliner was sent off in Norwich City’s 0-0 Championship draw at Brentford on Saturday.