|Debut:||19-Feb-49, FAI Cup, (H) v. Cork Athletic|
He was so little known that in the space of a month the Dundalk Democrat referred to him as Jimmy, John and Jackie. He played in just nine senior games with Dundalk, only one of which was at Oriel Park, and he entered the record books as winner of an FAI Cup medal playing in his fifth senior game.
He made his club debut in the 1949 first round Cup game against Cork Athletic, having been plucked straight from the Reserves to take the place of injured left-full Arthur Whelan, one of the most consistent players all season and a bulwark in defence.
After the 4-1 win it was reported “little Maguire did exceptionally well in his first senior game and deserves the height of credit”, but he went immediately back to the reserves when Whelan recovered for the following League game.
Five weeks later Whelan was again injured in the Cup semi-final drawn game against Drumcondra and a couple of days later John Maguire was back in action in the replay, marking Benny ‘Rosie’ Henderson, one of the best wingers of his day, playing outside to Kit Lawlor, the finest inside forward of the era. Dundalk’s left flank of Maguire and Johnny Matthews did their job in a 2-1 win.
Although Arthur Whelan passed a fitness test on the day before the final, the Committee decided not to risk a recurrence of his knee injury and in only his fifth senior game John Maguire lined out at number 3. ‘Playing like a veteran’ and tackling ‘like a terrior’, he played his part in keeping the much-vaunted Shelbourne attack scoreless—the forwards did the rest in a 3-0 victory, bringing the club’s second success in the FAI Cup.
John was injured in the final but returned in time to participate in the Inter City Cup and to win a Runner up medal when Dundalk lost to Bohemians in the final. When financial problems surfaced a few weeks later, all members of the Cup winning team, except Johnny Fearon and Billy Murphy, were either placed on the transfer list or were released. John Maguire’s short but productive Dundalk experience was finished—it lasted just three months.
A GAA player with Round Towers, John had spent four years with Dublin junior club Camac Celtic before coming to Dundalk in the summer of 1948.
What They Said About Him
In the FAI Cup semi-final victory over Drumcondra, his performance drew this response in the Dundalk Democrat: “Little Maguire must get a big share of the praise, because coming on in only his second senior game to mark one of the most dangerous forwards in the game (Rosie Henderson), and he did his job extraordinarily well.”
After his Cup final part in keeping Shelbourne scoreless: “Maguire must get first mention … played like a veteran … his dash was so devastating that it completely unsettled the Shels right wing for the rest of the game.” And from the Irish Press match report he “was an inspiration”
1 Win: FAI Cup 1948-49.
1 Runner Up: Inter City Cup 1948-49.