Brian Kerr believes Martin O'Neill was right to resist the temptation to call up Cork City striker Sean Maguire to the Republic of Ireland squad, and said the striker needs to prove himself at a higher level before he can hope to pull on the green shirt.

O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane were in the stands to see the Leesiders beat Dundalk 3-0 on Friday night, with Maguire rattling in a hat-trick. 

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The next day it was confirmed that the 23-year-old Kilkenny man will join Preston North End at the end of July, following in the footsteps of Dundalk pair Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle who made the move to Deepdale last winter.

Kerr said the challenge now for Maguire is to do the business in the Championship; and until he does, he shouldn't expect the call.

"Martin has said he's a young player, he'd be putting an awful lot of pressure on him," Kerr said on Soccer Republic.

"I think in the expanded squad Martin O'Neill might have used him... but he's not going to be in the Irish team until he goes to Preston and scores goals. 

"We saw what happened with Daryl Horgan off Dundalk last year and Andy Boyle. The manager of the international team needs to be convinced the player can do it at a better level than the League of Ireland. We've got Cork and Dundalk, two very good sides, competing against each other and he scored three goals.

"But what convinced Martin O'Neill to put Horgan and Boyle into the squad ;last year was their performances in Europe.

"Both of those players looked like they could rise up to the next level and play at the next level.

"I think it's very difficult for the international manger to think  a player is good enough playing against the current League of Ireland teams.

"The game has improved to a degree but it's not at the level where a manager could say, 'this player is good enough, I could trust him to play against Austria or Serbia in our group'. 

"The manager needs to be convinced of the player's performances at a higher level."