No cup cheer for Maguire on Preston return as Sadlier makes debut
Sean Maguire and Stephen Ward made their return from injuries in what was a relatively uneventful FA Cup weekend from an Irish perspective, until Pádraig Amond's late drama.
Ward has been out of action for Burnley since September, with a niggling knee problem troubling the Dubliner over the past year. The left-full was involved for an hour of their 1-0 win over Barnsley on Saturday.
Maguire's momentum in England has been halted by recurring hamstring problems that kept him on the sidelines for Preston North end for most of 2018 and prevented him from furthering his Irish claims.
The former Cork City forward was introduced off the bench for the final quarter-hour of the Championship side's 3-1 loss at home to League One side Doncaster yesterday.
There was also a reunion feel to the match for Maguire as his good friend and former West Ham and Cork team-mate Kieran Sadlier made his debut for the victors as an injury-time replacement.
Sadlier joined Doncaster on a free after leaving Turner's Cross to consider his options at the end of the last domestic campaign.
There was Irish involvement in one of the weekend's cup shocks, with Dubliner Mark Byrne busy in the Gillingham engine room as the League One outfit beat Cardiff City 1-0.
Former Ireland underage international Callum Reilly also featured for Gillingham. He is trying to get his career going in the right direction again after mixed fortunes since his release from Birmingham three years ago.
Ronan Curtis was prominent for League One promotion chasers Portsmouth, who got the better of Championship promotion chasers Norwich 1-0 in a tight affair at Carrow Road, although the hosts were down to 10 men for 75 minutes.
There was a missed opportunity for another League of Ireland graduate, with suspension ruling Richie Towell out of Rotherham's drubbing at Manchester City.
Anthony Forde started the match, but the Irish contingent at Rotherham has been weakened by Ryan Manning's return to parent club QPR. The Galwegian was an unused sub for their 2-1 win against Leeds yesterday.
There were three Irish internationals involved in Millwall's 2-1 win over Hull in an all-Championship affair.
Alex Pearce made his bow for the club following his loan switch from Derby; he will share a dressing room with Aiden O'Brien and Shaun Williams.