Seani Maguire could be just days away from making his Republic of Ireland debut.
If the Preston North End striker gets any game time in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Moldova and Wales it would cap off an incredible 24 months.
Having taken his seat at a press conference to address the media for the first time in his country’s colours, Maguire made the shock revelation that he considered quitting football just two years ago.
After he returned to Ireland in 2015 having failed to make a breakthrough at West Ham, Maguire signed for Dundalk hoping to get his career back on track.
A promising loan spell at Accrington Stanley included 7 goals in 33 appearances. The form he showed while still in England wasn't replicated on his return home.
The Kilkenny native struggled to make a mark at Oriel Park. Maguire made just one start in the SSE Airtricity League as Dundalk went on to take the title in 2015.
He made just six appearances in total and didn’t even make the bench for the FAI Cup final in 2015 as Dundalk defeated Cork City in the decider.
Surplus to requirements at Dundalk, Maguire received a call from John Caulfield that changed the trajectory of his career, the upward curve it is on now began with that invite to come to Cork.
Maguire had lost the love for the game, telling the 42.ie that the embarrassment of being left out of the squad for the FAI Cup final was the final straw, he was finished with football:
"Stephen told me before the game that I wasn’t even going to be on the bench. I was heartbroken.
"Devastated. At that stage I felt like I wanted to give up. I rang my ma and told her I was done with football, that’s it for me.
"After being away at West Ham and the way things worked out there, I really wanted to make my mark at Dundalk.
"Not even making the bench, I just felt embarrassed really. Things hadn’t worked out in England and now it was the same back home.
Maguire netted 18 goals in the league for the Leesiders and scored the only goal of the game as they lifted the FAI Cup after beating Dundalk 1-0 in the 2016 final.
His scintillating form followed him into the 2017 campaign where 20 goals in 21 matches earned him a move to the Championship.
Maguire joined Preston North End in July having played his part in helping Cork City secure the SSE Airtricity League title.
“There were stages at Dundalk where my head wasn’t in the right place”, Maguire admits.
“But I had good people around me that made that right, my parents played a big part in keeping me focused and not letting my head go.
“There were stages where I just wanted to give up, I’d lost interest, but I’ll never forget that phone call I got off John Caulfield. I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for him.
“It’s mad, I was just speaking to my mates there. Two years ago, I wasn’t even on the bench for Dundalk.
“A year later, I was scoring the winner and a year on now, it’s a dream come true to represent my country you know something I’ve been thinking about since I was four or five years of age.
“It’s pretty surreal, having a bit to eat this morning and seeing the players I’ve been looking up to for so long.
“Shane Long is a player I’ve idolised from a very young age. He’s the type of striker I’ve looked at myself.