Saturday 10 December 2016

Video: This Messi-like dribble by Jack Byrne is sure to have impressed Martin O'Neill

Harry Clarke

Published 24/03/2016 | 20:00

Jack Byrne in action against Gaetano Monachello of Italy
Jack Byrne in action against Gaetano Monachello of Italy

Ireland may have been comprehensively beaten by Italy in their Under-21 Euro qualifier in Waterford tonight, but the performance of Jack Byrne was one positive to take away from an otherwise depressing night.

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Noel King's men took the lead, deservedly, early on when Byrne's free kick was deflected into the back of the net but that is as good as it got as the Italians took the game by the scruff of the neck thereafter.

Italy hit four to cruise to a well-deserved win and leave Ireland with a huge task of securing one of the best runners-up spots from the nine groups to qualify for next year's tournament in Poland.

Man City midfielder Byrne, currently on loan to Dutch side SC Cambuur, put in a robust performance for Ireland under the watchful eye of senior boss Martin O'Neill.

When Byrne was called into the Ireland training squad earlier this week, he insisted he was there purely on merit. "I don't think it's ahead of schedule," he said, when asked if it was a surprise when O'Neill offered him the opportunity to come into the group.

"Although I'm not in the squad, I believe in my own ability (and) that I'm as good as anybody in the squad."

And, as this clip show, the youngster can certainly back up his talking on the pitch.

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