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Byrne: I'll Boh' for the record

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Jason Byrne. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Jason Byrne. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Jason Byrne. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

JASON BYRNE has been told he can make history and smash the League of Ireland's all-time goalscoring record after he decided to extend his playing career and rejoin Bohemians.

The former Ireland international was already in second place in the league's scoring charts, ahead of Pat Morley, and last season he broke the 200-goal mark while in the Bray colours, but the all-time goals record of 235 league goals, held by Brendan Bradley, has been in place for 30 years.

Byrne is now on a career total of 207 goals and while it would take a phenomenal return next season, the veteran has been told by his new boss at Bohs that he can make history.

"Getting to 235 would be some achievement and it will be hard to do, but Owen Heary is telling me to go for it and there's no reason why I can't get there," Byrne told the Herald last night after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal with Bohs, following a spell with his first senior club, Bray Wanderers.

Heary, who was Byrne's teammate at Shelbourne and Bohs, is so confident in Byrne's ability that he has made the striker his last major signing ahead of the 2014 season, and the Gypsies boss has also told Byrne to postpone his coaching career to focus on playing.

"I was doing some coaching at Bray last season, mainly working with the strikers, but Owen says he didn't sign me as a coach, he just wants me to score goals," Byrne jokes.

"I feel I can contribute to Bohs next season, I enjoyed it at Bray last season and while the body is slowing down, once you have the knack the goals keep coming.

"I wouldn't be coming to Bohs if I didn't feel I had something to offer. For the last few years I have assessed things at the end of each season, whether I wanted to carry on playing or not, and I know from how I played at Bray last season that I can do well for the side.

"I saw a lot of Bohs last season and I know that they did struggle for goals. I have chatted to Owen Heary about it, he says that creating chances isn't the problem, it's putting the ball in the back of the net.

"If I get the service I need, I am confident I can score goals, with Karl Moore and now Paddy Kavanagh in the squad as wingers, I think I will get good service next season so fingers crossed," added the 35-year-old.

Byrne was a key player for Bray last season as they avoided relegation, beating Longford Town in a play-off, but the Wicklow club are in a state of flux, with claims that manager Pat Devlin and his entire coaching staff are on the way out.

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Key players from last season's squad such as Gary Dempsey, Kieran Marty Waters and John Mulroy have already left with Byrne the latest to exit.

"No one knows what the story is at Bray, there are loads of stories going around but the players are in the dark. I feel a great loyalty to Pat Devlin and the club but I felt I had to leave," he says.

"And I think I have unfinished business at Bohs. I had a good time there before, we won a double, but it ended badly with the way finances went at the club. I haven't managed to win a trophy since I left Bohs and I'd like to get another medal before I pack it in.

"I know that Bohs struggled last season and had to work hard to stay up but I think Owen has assembled a good squad for next season, a bit of experience with lads like Aidan Price and Paddy Kavanagh, and while it will be hard to make a push for the league I think we will at least be competitive and can make a run in one of the cups."

As well as Byrne, Bohs have also signed up Aidan Price (St Pats), Craig Walsh (UCD) and the Shelbourne duo of Jack Memery and Lee Murphy.


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