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No place like home for Hoops' Byrne



Jack Byrne

Jack Byrne

Jack Byrne

His Shamrock Rovers team-mate Greg Bolger jokes that Jack Byrne's elevation to the status of senior Ireland international means there's a "green carpet" just for the midfielder at their training ground.

But despite heightened interest in Byrne since he was capped by Mick McCarthy against Bulgaria last week, the club maintain they are under no pressure to sell him while the player is in no rush to leave.

It's a big week for the Hoops as, over the course of the next three games, they could still be in contention for a league and cup double, or may be doomed to another trophy-less season.

Dundalk can potentially secure the league title if they beat Rovers in Oriel Park on Monday (depending on how the champions fare away to an in-form Waterford tonight) while next Friday, Rovers travel to face Bohemians in the FAI Cup semi-final.

But the Rovers' camp insist they are not hung up on Monday's game in Oriel Park and are focused on winning their Dublin derby at home to St Patrick's Athletic tonight. "If we lose tonight and go up there [Dundalk], they can say they have it nearly wrapped up so we have to just look at tonight and roll into Monday," says Bolger.

Since Rovers last played, Byrne has become a senior Ireland international but manager Bradley says the player, who is contracted for another two seasons, is happy to stay and the club don't feel under pressure to sell.

"He's playing for Ireland, he's playing in the Aviva against good teams and people look and think," says Bradley.

"But we are very comfortable with where we are with Jack. He's very focussed on his football and he's very happy. He's not up at the end of the year, he's on a long term deal. I think we've shown in the past with Gavin [Bazunu] and Graham [Burke] and Aaron Bolger and Trevor [Clarke], if it's right for everybody down the road then it's right for everybody, but we are very, very comfortable with where we are with Jack.

"The most important thing is that he is very comfortable and I think that you can see that in his play and the way he is carrying himself at the moment.

"He's been around the lower leagues, he's been to Scotland so he knows that this is as good, if not better, than any of them. Why do you want to trawl through those leagues, because he's seen them?"