Monday 22 January 2018

Byrne goes Dutch in bid to take the next step

Ireland's great football hope, Jack Byrne, has told Roy Keane he’s aiming to brighten the future of the senior squad
Ireland's great football hope, Jack Byrne, has told Roy Keane he’s aiming to brighten the future of the senior squad

John Fallon

Ireland's great football hope, Jack Byrne, has told Roy Keane he's aiming to brighten the future of the senior squad

Despite being only 19, Byrne will be a rarity amongst his contemporaries this season by operating in a top-flight league around Europe after sealing a loan switch to Dutch club SC Cambuur.

Parent club Manchester City, with whom he landed a new three-year contract on Monday, chose the Eredivisie as an ideal environment where they feel the Dubliner can learn his trade.

Whether that's enough to force a Premier League breakthrough next season at the Etihad is as yet uncertain but the teen believes he's on track to forge a decent career for club and country.

The ageing profile of the Ireland team adds importance to youngsters making that step up to fill the imminent void, and Byrne's name was last week floated by the Ireland assistant boss as a worthy candidate.

How he fares in two tough matches during the first month of the season against Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven will provide an indication of his readiness.

"I'll be playing in one of the best leagues in Europe, so hopefully that can help me push on and get the attention of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane," the Ireland U-21 international last night.

"I'm not going to put a timeline on it but, whether it takes two months or two years, it would be my dream to break into the Irish squad.

"There's a lot of talk around now about a lack of players coming through to the senior team. Hopefully, I can change a few people's minds."

Byrne has been delighted with the welcome he has received from the SC Cambuur fans already.

"There were over 3,000 supporters at an open training session yesterday, so that was brilliant to see," he said.

"The team held their own last season after being promoted, safely staying up, and I want to help them get a better finish in the season I'm here for."

Meanwhile, Paul McShane is expected to follow the lead of his former Hull City team-mate and compatriot Stephen Quinn by joining Reading today. Unlike Quinn, McShane wasn't offered a new deal by the relegated Tigers.

Another club back in the Championship, QPR, have rewarded former Ireland U-21 defender Michael Harriman with a new one-year deal, following on from Frankie Sutherland also agreeing fresh terms with Chris Ramsey.


Former Derry City winger Paddy McCourt is on the move from Brighton, having secured a two-year contract from League Two outfit Luton Town.

"This is a club that's very ambitious and the thinking behind signing a two-year contract was because there's a belief that not only we can be successful this year, but we can carry that on again the following season," said McCourt.

"This club wants to go places and be challenging at the top end of the league, and that's where I want to be myself."

Former Shamrock Rovers striker Padraig Amond is also on the move, leaving Morecambe for Conference outfit Grimsby Town.

He scored 19 goals in 82 league appearances for the Shrimps after joining from Páraic Duffy, Stanley in August 2013.

Irish Independent

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