| 9.7°C Dublin

'I was struggling with my breathing....I'm just glad to be out the other side and happy to be alive' - Jack Byrne

Close

Jack Byrne and his Shamrock Rovers team-mates celebrate after being presented with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy

Jack Byrne and his Shamrock Rovers team-mates celebrate after being presented with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy

Jack Byrne and his Shamrock Rovers team-mates celebrate after being presented with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy

Shamrock Rovers and Ireland midfielder Jack Byrne is "happy to be alive" after recovering from coronavirus.

Byrne made his return when he came off the bench in the first half during Shamrock Rovers' 0-0 draw with St Pat's at Tallaght Stadium on a night when the Hoops received the league trophy.

Byrne tested positive for Covid-19 when he was on international duty with Ireland and, speaking about his experience for the first time, he revealed how tough of a battle it was.

"It hit me hard," he told RTE. "It's no joke. It's a serious issue going around at the moment. It was unfortunate that I got a bad dose of it. It knocked me for six.

"For three or four days I was struggling with my breathing. It takes a few weeks.

"I'm just glad to be out the other side and happy to be alive.

"I'm feeling better now.

"It's difficult with no fans or family, but it's a great night, I'm buzzing."


Improving Saints make 10-man Rovers work to preserve unbeaten run before trophy joy

Shamrock Rovers 0 St Pat's 0

The Halfway Line Newsletter

Get the lowdown on the Irish football scene with our soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell and expert team of writers with our free weekly newsletter.

This field is required

The day of the trophy presentation for Shamrock Rovers was in keeping with the slightly surreal nature of the 2020 season, with the all-conquering Hoops having to battle with 10 men to preserve their unbeaten record.

Lifting the title without fans present was somewhat anti-climactic, and a defeat would have been worse, but Stephen Bradley’s Hoops avoided it despite the loss of Joey O’Brien for the final quarter.

Before the game, Bradley’s side learned they would have an extra game this week with Derry winning their case arguing that a league meeting that was rescheduled twice due to Covid issues in either camp should be played – and not forfeited – because their local authority weren’t allowing them to travel to Dublin.

Close

Referee Paul McLaughlin shows a red card to Joey O'Brien of Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile

Referee Paul McLaughlin shows a red card to Joey O'Brien of Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile

Referee Paul McLaughlin shows a red card to Joey O'Brien of Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile

An independent disciplinary appointed by the FAI ruled that the governing body could not enforce a 3-0 defeat on the Candystripes in the circumstances and that match will now take place on Saturday, thus meaning that the entire final round of fixtures moves from Sunday evening to Monday.

Murmurs

That’s caused a few murmurs around the league for financial reasons, but the situation with St Pat’s in the second half of this match emphasised that the congested nature of the peloton justifies a drive to schedule the final round of the fixtures at the same time.

Defeat would have left Stephen O’Donnell’s Saints in danger of dropping into the play-offs, but the draw means safety and a chance to secure fourth – and a possible backdoor into Europe – if a series of results go their way. They may regret failing to nab a shock win that would have made that aim more realistic.

Close

Shamrock Rovers players celebrate being presented with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy following their match against St Patrick's Athletic at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers players celebrate being presented with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy following their match against St Patrick's Athletic at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers players celebrate being presented with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy following their match against St Patrick's Athletic at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Granted, they rode their luck before the break when Rhys Marshall squandered a great chance to put the hosts ahead. Rovers had to introduce Jack Byrne earlier than planned following his Covid recovery after Graham Burke was forced to depart.

However, the Saints found gaps after the restart with Alan Mannus denying Georgie Kelly before Jordan Gibson wasted a one-on-one ahead of O’Brien’s dismissal. But O’Donnell’s side failed to capitalise on their advantage as Rovers regrouped before claiming the coveted piece of silverware.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus, Grace (Lopes 63), O’Brien, Scales; Marshall (Lafferty 63), McEneff, Finn, Kavanagh; Watts, Burke (Byrne 23); Greene (Oluwa 86).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Clarke, Feely (McClelland 85), Desmond, McNally, Bermingham; Forrester, Lennon; Gibson (Burns 80), Benson, Griffin (King 53); Kelly.

Ref – S Grant.


Most Watched





Privacy