SOCCER ROUND-UP: Kilkenny’s Maguire gets chance to shine, former army officer trials at championship club
Kilkenny’s Seanie Maguire gets a chance to impress Ireland boss Mick McCarthy this evening, as he has been picked to start up front for the Republic’s soccer team against New Zealand.
The 25-year-old Castlecomer man has been beset with injury misfortune when it comes to international matches, so tonight is a real opportunity to lay down a marker to McCarthy and the Irish fans.
Maguire has been in scintillating form in the Championship this season, his goals, workrate and assists pushing Preston up second in the table with just over a third of the season gone.
He lines up tonight alongside 17-old Troy Parrott, whose debut in the senior set-up is highly anticipated. Waterford pair, Derrick Williams and debutant Lee O’Connor, also start.
Another man who may force his way into the international picture in the coming years is a former army officer in Kilkenny’s James Stephen’s Barracks.
Lee Grace could be set for a spell in the big leagues, as he undergoes trials with an English Championship team this week.
Last week Grace (27), from Carrick-on-Suir, lifted the FAI Cup with Shamrock Rovers and has now attracted the attention of Hull City, who up until the 2017-2018 season were in the Premiership.
Grace is a very late starter to professional football, joining the army on leaving school. It was not until early 2017 Grace really turned his hand to football, signing with Galway United for that season.
Shamrock Rovers paid Galway €25,000 for Grace and gave him a two-year contract before the 2018 season. That contract is now up and Hull could sign Grace on a free.
Lee, a product of the renowned Carrick United team in the Waterford League, is currently on Humberside as part of a three-day trial on the invitation of Hull City Manager Grant McCann.
If Lee signs a contract with Hull, he won’t have far to go for guidance, as another former professional player from Carrick-on-Suir, Stephen Hunt, spent a premiership season with Hull City back in 2009-2010.