Sean Maguire: 'This time last year we were battering teams and getting draws'Sat, Mar 18 2017
Sean Maguire says we're yet to see the best of Cork City despite the league leaders registering their best-ever start to a Premier Division season with five straight wins.
The Leesiders were made to sweat to keep their immaculate record intact, enduring a barrage from a resurgent Shamrock Rovers before Maguire won and converted a late penalty to take three points.
Maguire opened the scoring within seven minutes as he capitalised on a mistake from Rovers keeper Tomer Chencinski to roll the ball into an empty net.
The Israeli-born goalkeeper scrambled to prevent a Daniel Devine header from going behind for a corner only to gift Maguire the easiest of finishes to make it 1-0.
The goal brought echoes of Maguire's opener in the last meeting between the sides in Tallaght, when Maguire scored early on his way to a hat-trick and a 5-0 win in the FAI Cup quarter-final.
The tie wasn't to unfold quite as easiily for John Caulfield's side, but with the league's most prolific marksman to the fore they secured the three points in less than ideal conditions.
The result keeps their quest to oust Dundalk at the top of the league motoring, with the champions due to visit Turner's Cross on Saturday, live on RTE 2.
“John always tells me to chase down keepers and that was a prime example,” Maguire told reporters at full-time.
“I think he tried to keep it in play and let the ball slip through his hands, and I had the tap-in. It set the tone for the game which we should have built on but we didn't.
“They got a penalty and got on the front foot and we didn't really get into the game at all.
“We haven't played to the best of our ability and we're still coming away with six points.
“This time last year we were battering teams and getting draws, so I think this year we're a different breed of animal.
“I know I'm complaining here to ye lot, but we've got away from Tallaght with three points without playing well, so we'll take it into Dundalk next week.”
If the opening goal was a self-inflicted one from a Rovers point of view, the second was no less a gift from the home side, who showed signs they've improved across the field from last year.
The Hoops looked the more likely to grab the winning goal in a second period they dominated and, with a draw seemingly on the cards, Maguire drew a foul from Dave Webster three minutes from time.
Though Maguire was unhappy with both his and the team's performance, he was in no doubt that the penalty, which looked soft on first viewing as Maguire ran away from goal, was the right decision.
“Listen, the ball got headed on by Connor Ellis and I've taken a touch with my head and then with my left foot and he's put his right foot out and he's touched me.
“He's fouled me and I've gone down, like anyone would in the penalty box. It's a clear penalty all day and I don't know why they're complaining at all.
“It was a funny one because the ball kept blowing off the penalty spot, and some people would probably have changed their mind, but in my head that was my spot so lucky enough the keeper went the wrong way and it's gone in.”