Sunday 18 February 2018

Seagulls star collects his second gong in 13 months

Jason Byrne celebrated his second Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month award in 13 months this week.

The Bray Wanderers talisman scooped the prize for his five goals throughout June and added it to his prize that he earned last year in May.

The Seagulls have something of a habit of producing one player of the month per year. Byrne scooped the prizes last month and in May of last year. Midfield maestro Gary Dempsey was the recipient the previous year and St. Patrick's Athletic winger Jake Kelly collected the gong in 2010.

Byrne had opposition from David McMillan – who joined Sligo Rovers from UCD this month, and Pat's midfielder Greg Bolger for the prize. But Byrne's four-goal haul against McMillan's former club UCD sealed him as the leading candidate.

Byrne eased up after that match but still managed to record five goals in Wanderers' five games in May. This prompted a Bulgarian newspaper to produce a special one-page feature on the cousin of Robbie Keane and it shows that even at the age of 35, Byrne still knows where the goal is and he can certainly find it.

Despite receiving the award, June was actually a rather poor month for Byrne's Seagulls. That madcap 5-4 victory over UCD aside, Wanderers suffered losses to Derry City and St. Patrick's Athletic either side of the mid-season break.

His four goals against the Students saw him surpass the 200 League of Ireland goals landmark and the lethal attacker now has his sights set on Brendan Bradley's spot as the all-time leading League of Ireland goalscorer.

And while the personal accolades and praise are well and good, it is results for Bray Wanderers that concerns Byrne most.

'The main thing from the UCD game was to get the points as we did, and of course, personally it meant a lot to get over the 200 mark in terms of goals', said Byrne.

'Having young lads in the team alongside me makes my job a lot easier for sure, especially at my age, we all play off and benefit from the strengths of one another.'

This Friday sees one of Byrne's former employers Bohemiams come to town.

Byrne is still held in extremely high regard by all at Dalymount Park but the striker will have no time for sentiments as he looks to down the managerless Gypsies.

'Confidence is good in the camp for sure, we've posted some good results of late, drawing with Shamrock Rovers and then Limerick so we are optimistic. Friday is a big one for us, it really is a six-pointer, because like ourselves Bohemians are fighting for every point. You need to beat the teams in and around you'.

Wicklow People

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