After the highs of Thursday night’s European thriller, Seánie Maguire is determined to ensure there’s no Sunday comedown for Cork City at Turner’s Cross tomorrow afternoon.
Maguire’s hat-trick was the highlight of the Leesiders’ 4-2 win over Levadia Tallinn, completing a 6-2 aggregate Europa League win and sending them through to a second qualifying round with AEK Larnaca of Cyprus.
With Maguire departing for Preston at the end of the month, the prolific Kilkenny man has more goals in mind tomorrow, after a week he says he will never forget. Europe is on the backburner again for now.
“There’s still a couple of games to go in Europe but I’ll take things game by game and that’s Pat’s at home,” said Maguire.
“I’ve scored a lot of goals in the league this year and I hope to score a few more on Sunday. It was a really special night on Thursday in front of my family, in front of a packed house at Turner’s Cross, there’s no better feeling.
“I think the crowd gave us the extra edge, it was an unbelievable atmosphere. Hopefully I’ll have a couple more against Pat’s on Sunday.”
Maguire will have some mixed emotions as he leaves Cork for Preston at the end of the month after an unforgettable season.
“It’s a special team here off the field and on the field.
“The relationship we have off the field — we go for coffees, we go for lunches, there’s not one bad thing I could say about anyone, from coaching staff to physios and players. We all go in at 9am every morning and look to the next big thing.”
Cork boss John Caulfield says fans have been “spoiled” by the team this season, as they remain unbeaten in all competitions.
“I keep saying this is a purple patch for the club, people are being spoiled and don’t understand that this club was in the doldrums for a long time.
“The crowd were massive against Levadia and we need that for the rest of the season because this is a special time in the club’s history.”
With City’s lead at the top of the Premier Division down to nine points, Caulfield has been keeping minds focused on the bigger picture.
“The league is the one we want to win, and we need all our energy for Sunday,” said Caulfield, who must make a decision on playing defender Alan Bennett, whose recovery from an ankle injury has taken longer than expected.
“Sunday is a massive game and obviously Pat’s have strengthened their team and brought in new players. That will give them a gee-up and it’s a massive game for us with a quick turnaround.”
The Saints yesterday completed the signing of 23-year-old Dutch defender Jordi Balk.
The defender joins the club having recently spent three years with FC Oss in the Dutch second division, and previously a brief spell with Ross County in the Scottish Premiership.
The 23-year-old played 90 minutes for the Saints in last Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly win over Scottish side Heart of Midlothian in Richmond Park, and is awaiting international clearance ahead of tomorrow’s game at Turner’s Cross
Meanwhile, Derry City host Sligo Rovers at Maginn Park in Buncrana at 2.30pm tomorrow.
The Candystripes endured a week to forget as they lost 4-1 to FC Midtjylland at the Showgrounds in Sligo on Thursday night, completing a 10-1 destruction by the Danes.
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