Saturday 18 November 2017

Byrne back to star for bray

FORMER Ireland international Jason Byrne has delayed retirement for at least one more season and signed for Bray Wanderers.

Byrne, now 33, was a free agent after his contract with Dundalk ran out at the end of last season, but the striker has decided to carry on his playing career with his first senior club.

"I suppose it's back to where it all began for me, signing for Bray where my career started all those years ago," Byrne told the Evening Herald, confident that he can play a role for Wanderers next season.

"I'm 33 now so I know I can't go on forever, but I didn't do myself justice last season with Dundalk, I had a lot of injuries, and I feel I can play on and contribute so I was happy to sign with Bray.

"I had contact from a couple of teams over the close season but no real offers as such, so I got the chance to come and train with Bray and Pat Devlin decided to offer me a deal," added Byrne, who was capped twice at senior level.

"We'll have a very young side next season at Bray -- the only senior players really will be me, Danny O'Connor and Stephen Brennan -- and hopefully I can add something to the team in terms of experience, and I want to move into the coaching side of things as well."

Byrne began his senior career with Bray in 1998 and fast became one of the most prolific strikers on the scene, earning a move to Shelbourne in 2003. He won three titles in four seasons with Shels but moved to Cardiff City in 2007 following the financial collapse of the Tolka Park club.

He added more league titles in his three seasons with Bohemians before a one-season stay at Dundalk. Byrne was capped against Poland in 2004 and Chile in 2006.

With five league titles and two FAI Cup medals Byrne has a glittering CV, but he has one aim left in the game -- to bypass striking legend Pat Morley in the all-time scorers' chart.

"Morley is three ahead of me and I want to get ahead of him in that list," says Byrne.

"It would mean a lot to me to do that, that's not the only reason I signed for Bray but it would be a nice achievement to get into second place in the all-time list. I already achieved something by getting ahead of people like Turlough O'Connor and John Caulfield. Brendan Bradley is so far ahead on 235 goals that he'll probably never be caught but I'd like to get as close as I can," added Byrne.

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