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Jason chasing record

JUST like his cousin and fellow record-breaker Robbie Keane, Jason Byrne has no plans to stop scoring after he managed to make history over a dramatic weekend.

Now in his 16th season of senior football, Byrne managed to score four times for Bray Wanderers in their 5-4 defeat of UCD on Saturday night. A big win for Bray as a stunning run of form – four wins from the last five league games – has seen them move out of the bottom two and creep up the league table.

But also a huge night for Byrne, who has now scored 203 League of Ireland goals in his career, becoming only the second to break the 200-goal mark, and it would be wrong to bet against him reaching the all-time goals record of 235, held by Brendan Bradley.

And he did it on the same weekend as cousin Robbie broke the all-time caps record for Ireland by playing in his 126th international, scoring three times against the Faroe Islands to take his Ireland goal tally to 59.

"Apart from the fact that we are family, I think me and Robbie have the same approach to the game and to scoring goals: we play with a smile on our faces and we love it," Byrne told the Herald.

"You need to enjoy it, you need to love football and love scoring goals to be still doing it at our age and the two of us are still as enthusiastic as when we started off. That's the secret for me," added the 35-year-old.

"Things are different for me now compared to 10 years ago, I have two kids now and they keep me busy and keep me fresh.



"It was great to see Robbie score the hat-trick for Ireland on Friday.

"I couldn't get to the game as we had training with Bray for that massive game on Saturday.

"But my parents went as it was a big day for the family with Robbie breaking the caps record. I'm delighted for him and it was just a great weekend for the family."

The goals target had been a worry for Byrne this season. He started the season in superb form, scoring three times in the first four games, but then went 10 games without a goal.

He's rediscovered his touch recently, however, hitting a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Drogheda United, scoring another two in an FAI Cup tie against Mervue United and then striking four times in that UCD win on Saturday.

"It was a bit of a worry in those weeks I went without a goal, but I tried not to get too down. Once I was playing well and the team were getting results – and we were on a good run as a team – I knew it would be okay."

With his career total of 203, Byrne has bypassed striking legends like Pat Morley, Glen Crowe and Stephen Geoghegan. Can he beat the all-time record of 235 which has stood for decades?

"Getting another 33 goals could be hard but I wouldn't rule it out," says Byrne.

"Robbie says he wants to play for another five or six years. I'm a couple of years older than Robbie so I'd hope to play on for another year or two and see where that takes me.

"But I have the same hunger and desire as I had starting out with Bray."