You have to go back 88 days to find the last time Cork City ended an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match with three points. Summer has come and gone since, and alarmingly, a mini-revival by Finn Harps in the meantime has left the 2018 league and cup runners-up looking over their shoulders.
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.
The dream beforehand had been of a box-office clash with Rangers but the reality, on an evening when Cork City repeatedly pressed the self-destruct button, was something more like a nightmare as, after a first half in which the home side conceded two goals and also missed a penalty, the resultant 0-2 defeat gives Progres Niederkorn what looks like full control of this Europa League First Qualifying Round tie ahead of next week’s second leg in Luxembourg.
You get one striking measure of just how far Graham Burke has come in a relatively short space of time when you ask him where he was the last time Ireland played Wales in Cardiff, that night in October of last year when James McClean scored the goal which put Martin O’Neill’s men through to the World Cup play-offs.
Graham Burke has made his name with some spectacular strikes for Shamrock Rovers but few goals can have given him as much joy as the routine tap-in with which he equalised for Ireland against the USA on Saturday, making him the first home-based player to score for his country since the late Ray Treacy in 1978.