Sky Bet Championship side Preston North End have announced the signing of Cork City striker Sean Maguire as their first signing of the summer. The prolific 23-year-old has agreed a three-year deal at Deepdale, and officially signs at the end of July 2017.

Maguire has been amongst the goals in Ireland this season, netting 16 goals in 11 matches so far. This includes a hat-trick in last night’s 3-0 away triumph over Dundalk, which further extends their gap at the top of the League of Ireland Premier League. Preston signed Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan from Irish football last season as well.

An ‘undisclosed compensation package’ has been agreed between the two clubs. It is fair to say that the Irishman has played his best football whilst in his native country. He began his career at Waterford, impressing enough to earn a move to West Ham United in 2013. He struggled to break into the first-team fold at Upton Park, eventually headed out on loan to Accrington Stanley and Sligo Rovers. A brief spell at Dundalk followed before making the key move to Cork in January 2016, and he hasn’t looked back.

He’ll continue with Cork for the remainder of the season before then linking up with his new Preston teammates in pre-season training.

Last season, the Lilywhites ended the campaign in 11th place in the Sky Bet Championship. A top half finish represents a great season for the club, again led by Simon Grayson. They did finish 18 points off the final play-off position, but should Maguire get amongst the goals back in English football then this sizeable gap is likely to significantly decrease.

The video below shows Maguire netting twice in Cork’s 5-0 success over Drogheda United last month.

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I currently work as a Championship Research Analyst for Onside Analysis Ltd. In this role I provide match previews and reviews for every Championship game. I also delve into matches from all across the globe, gaining an insight into football from different leagues in different countries. I came into this role shortly after graduating from The University of Hull after studying BSc Sports Coaching & Performance. I am a Lincoln City fan and thankfully they're back in The72!!