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exclusive Jack Byrne flies to Cyprus for talks with Mick McCarthy's APOEL Nicosia


Jack Byrne is set to move to Cyprus

Jack Byrne is set to move to Cyprus

Jack Byrne is set to move to Cyprus

Jack Byrne has flown to Cyprus with a view to completing a deal to join Mick McCarthy's APOEL Nicosia.

The Dubliner has turned down offers from Shamrock Rovers and elsewhere to start a new chapter under the former Ireland manager.

Byrne still has to complete a medical once he receives the result of the mandatory Covid-19 test that is necessary upon arrival.

However, it's understood that the Ireland international is in line to pen a two and a half year contract once there are no last minute hitches.

McCarthy was appointed APOEL manager at the start of November.

He quickly made enquiries about Byrne whose contract with Shamrock Rovers ended after the FAI Cup final.

Rovers made a 'fantastic offer' to the 24-year-old in an attempt to convince him to stay but they always knew he was likely to depart and the playmaker has decided to pursue the Cypriot option after they made a strong play for his services.

He did have interest from the UK and also from America where there were MLS options he could have explored.

But people close to Byrne feel that McCarthy is the perfect fit at this stage of the player's career because of his man management skills.

It was also deemed vital that Byrne went to a club where the manager really wanted him. McCarthy trusts in the Dubliner's ability - he capped him twice in 2019 - and has room for that type of player in his plans.

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APOEL sit ninth in the Cypriot table and are still feeling the effects of a difficult start to the campaign which resulted in the upheaval that opened the door for McCarthy.

Results had picked up until a 3-0 defeat to city rivals Omonia earlier this month which was the last game before a mid-season break.

They do not play again until tomorrow, but Byrne will not be eligible until the transfer window opens.

He will have to prove his fitness before being considered for an away game with Doxa on January 5.

It's two years ago this month that Byrne returned home to Dublin after a miserable spell with Kilmarnock to cap an unstable period in the UK where he bounced from club to club.

He has rebuilt his career under Stephen Bradley, playing his way into the Ireland squad to win four caps and he was voted PFA Ireland player of the year in both of his seasons here.

McCarthy gave Byrne his Irish debut off the bench in a friendly with Bulgaria last September and then started him against New Zealand two months later.

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