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Byrne doubt for TNS clash

BOHEMIANS boss Pat Fenlon fears that he will be without Jason Byrne, joint holder of the League of Ireland goalscoring record in Europe, for next week's Champions League clash with Welsh side TNS.

Former Ireland cap Byrne has not played for the Gypsies since he suffered a back injury in a 2-2 draw with Galway United last month, and he's certain to miss tonight's league game away to UCD. Byrne is also a major doubt for the two games against TNS, with the first leg in Dalymount Park tomorrow week.

"I would say he is going to struggle, to be honest," said Fenlon.

"His back is sore. He is making big improvements and is cycling and doing treadmill work.

"But he's not back on the pitch yet, so I think it might be a little bit early for him to come back for the TNS games.


"It's too long a season to be pushing him back, but he normally does recover quite quickly so we'll see how he goes.

"But I would say he is fairly doubtful for the Champions League games against TNS," added Fenlon.

Bohs have coped during Byrne's absence as U21 international Paddy Madden has obliged with some goals, scoring six in the past four games, but Byrne would be missed for the European matches.

Tallaght man Byrne has scored 10 goals in Europe, a record he shares with former Shelbourne and Bohs team-mate Glen Crowe, though Byrne admits he's relieved to be back in training again.

"I've returned to full training and I hope to make progress.

"It's a problem with my back that has been there for a few weeks," he said.

"It kept me out of the last two games, but I'm able to train again which is great."

TNS showed once again that they will be no pushovers for Bohs in Europe as the Welsh side held Irish League champions Linfield to a 0-0 draw in a friendly in Belfast on Saturday.

The previous week TNS accounted for fellow Irish league side Glentoran 2-0.

Meanwhile, Sporting Fingal are considering a move for USA-born midfielder Ciaran O'Brien.

The 22-year-old, who played top-flight football in the US for Colorado Rapids and was touted as a future senior international for the USA at one stage, has strong Irish connections as his dad, Fran, is a former Republic of Ireland cap -- and those links have brought him to Dublin for a trial with Fingal.

"He's training with us for a couple of weeks to see how it goes," said coach Liam Buckley.

"He's a central or right-sided midfielder and I think he's been on the bench for Colorado Rapids a few times.

"Ciaran has done well in training and I have been impressed with him so far."