Wednesday 28 September 2016

Mature Student Byrne drops down a level in bid break scoring record

Published 19/01/2016 | 02:30

Jason Byrne is dropping down to the First Division to sign for UCD in an attempt to break the all-time League of Ireland goalscoring record. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
Jason Byrne is dropping down to the First Division to sign for UCD in an attempt to break the all-time League of Ireland goalscoring record. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile

Jason Byrne is going to college in a final attempt to break Brendan Bradley's all-time League of Ireland goalscoring record.

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The veteran attacker is dropping down to the First Division to sign for UCD and admits that his desire to catch Bradley was the driving factor in his move. Byrne (37), who parted company with Bohemians at the end of last season, is 18 short of Bradley's career haul of 235 goals. He was frustrated by restricted opportunities at Dalymount Park in 2015 and contemplated retirement before deciding to push on in an attempt to make history.

"That's the objective," said the Dubliner, when asked about breaking the record. "But if I can get the goals and we can get promoted back to the Premier Division then that would be fantastic.

"It works well for both sides of it - for the team and myself from a personal point of view."

UCD boss Collie O'Neill believes that Byrne can be the missing piece of the jigsaw this term given the amount of goalscoring opportunities the Students create. He has also signed the experienced Cathal Brady and Brian Shortall to strengthen his panel.

Shamrock Rovers kicked off pre-season yesterday with former Ireland international Stephen Elliott part of the group as Pat Fenlon is keen to assess the fitness of the injury-plagued trialist with a Premier League pedigree.

Rovers' preparations for the new campaign will involve a trip to India for an international tournament which will primarily be contested by U-23 and reserve sides from Europe and South America. They received an all-expenses-paid offer to participate in the event.

Galway United boss Tommy Dunne has added to his panel by signing Kevin Devaney and Ruairi Keating, both of whom were on the books of Sligo Rovers last term. Devaney was part of the PFAI side that participated in the competition for out-of-work players in Oslo and Dunne, who travelled to assess Scandinavian options, was impressed by the winger.

"He's quick and direct and he can also fill in up front if needed," said Dunne. "I'm very pleased to have him on-board.

Keating has gained the majority of his first-team experience on loan at Finn Harps and is looking forward to a fresh start.

"Galway United are great at giving young players an opportunity," says the 20-year-old.

Irish Independent

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