KILKENNY has a new export to the Premier League.
Sean Maguire will become the latest soccer starlet from the county to play his trade with a top flight club in England after penning a deal with West Ham United.
The former Evergreen player, who led Waterford United’s promotion charge in the Airtricity League last season, was bagged by the Hammers after impressing club officials on a two-week trial.
The 18-year-old’s form with Waterford United aroused interest from several clubs across the water. Maguire was a revelation in the 2012 Airtricity League season, ending his campaign with 13 goals as he helped the Blues to second place in the First Division table.
Maguire, who also played schoolboys soccer with Deen Celtic and Ormonde Villa, came to prominence when he scored a hat-trick for the Kilkenny & District League in the Youth All-Ireland final against Cork in 2011.
The striker was snapped up by Waterford after that, initially for the club’s under-19 side. However, he was given his chance to try out with the senior squad by manager Paul O’Brien and sufficiently impressed enough to earn an 18-month contract with the club.
The 2012 campaign saw the teenager come of age with the Blues, opening his League account with a goal against eventual champions Limerick. His best spells in front of goal saw Maguire score four times across three successive games in June (Mervue, Athlone Town (2) and Wexford Youths) while he also netted a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Longford Town in September.
That was enough to ensure Maguire ended his season as one of the Division’s most lethal finishers. He was joint top of the scoring charts, sharing top spot with Danny Furlong (Wexford Youths) and Kevin McHugh (Finn Harps).
Maguire’s decision to pen a two and a half year deal with West Ham, has seen him follow in the footsteps of other talented soccer players from Kilkenny who have made the move to top flight clubs in England. Michael Reddy led the way when he signed for Sunderland in 1999. Gavan Holohan joined Hull City while they were a Premier League side while more recently Michael Drennan has been banging on the door of the senior side at Aston Villa.
Sean is the son of Paddy and Elaine Maguire, Cois Na hAbhann, Clogh.