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Former Ireland under-21 captain Jack Byrne 'snapped the hand off' for Hoops opportunity

Sat, Dec 08 2018

Byrne on signing for the Hoops. Credit: George Kelly/Shamrock Rovers FC

Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne admits he ‘snapped the hand’ off Stephen Bradley when offered the chance to come home and join the Hoops

Dubliner Byrne had previously trained with Rovers during the summer before opting to sign for Kilmarnock, but has no signed a permanent deal with the Tallaght club.

The former Republic of Ireland under-21 midfielder was tipped for stardom when coming through the youth ranks at Manchester City but has struggled to make the step up to senior football.

A promising season on loan with Eredivisie side SC Cambuur was followed by unhappy stints with Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic.

After a mixed spell with Oldham Athletic, the 22-year-old signed for Kilmarnock during the summer but, with just two league games to his name, he has now opted to return to his native Dublin.

Byrne is sure to complement an ultra-competitive midfield division in Tallaght, joining new signing Aaron McEneff, Dylan Watts, Ronan Finn, Greg Bolger and Aaron Bolger in the engine room.

“It’s been brewing for a few weeks and I’m buzzing to be here,” Byrne told the club’s official website.

“I had a chat with Stephen Bradley a couple of weeks ago and it was something that I wanted to do and I felt really excited after speaking to the staff at the club and seeing the facilities that Rovers have.

“I played a couple of times for Kilmarnock this year coming off the bench, it’s frustrating when you’re doing everything you can to get into a team.

“They were getting good results and it was hard to get a start. I took the decision to come home and it’s the best thing for me.

“When the opportunity came to sign for Shamrock Rovers I snapped the hand off. I like to play in the middle and to be on the ball wherever that may be. We’ve spoken briefly about a position for me to play in and I think it suits both parties.

“The League of Ireland is a very tough league; Dundalk and Cork in particular have been very strong over the past few seasons.

“My aim is to work hard and get into the team first and foremost. I want to help the team push on so that we can compete for trophies and I can’t wait to get going.”

Hoops coach Bradley added: “He’s a player who had three or four offers in England and financially they were a lot more rewarding for Jack to go there.

“I think it shows what sort of mindset he has and the hunger he has to show people how good he is again. And remind people that he’s only 22, not in his late 30s, he’s a young man with a lot of ability.

“He did train with us before but that was just for Jack to keep fit during the period of the season that he was off. There were no discussions about signing back then.

“This time I got word that he was going to leave Kilmarnock and I knew he had offers in England. I just had to make contact and put our case to Jack and see if it fitted him.

“He can do everything. He’s so creative; he sees the game very quickly and he’s a very clever footballer.

“He makes things happen in possession and he’ll add goals to our game by scoring and creating. I don’t think you can have too many of those in your team.”