Byrne delivers for the happy Hoops
Shamrock Rovers 3 Cork City 0
Next week's FAI Cup final clash with Dundalk will give him a bigger stage to show off his talents but Jack Byrne gave a glimpse of what he can do as he helped Shamrock Rovers brush aside Cork City and finish off their league season on a high.
Dundalk in the Cup final will offer Rovers a stiffer challenge than Cork last night, Rovers winning 3-0 with Byrne scoring one goal and creating another in the first half, more pain for Cork in the second half with a third goal, from Graham Burke. And the scoreline could have been even more damaging for Cork, only for a series of saves from keeper Tadhg Ryan in the second half before Burke scored his fourth of the season.
When Cork won the Premier Division title just two seasons ago they finished 22 points ahead of Rovers but the balance of power has clearly swung the other way, a massive 37 points between the sides, and City boss Neale Fenn has a complete overhaul of the squad, and club, to complete before they can think of competing again.
City didn't compete at all last night, a goal down after only 17 minutes.
They had themselves to blame as a slack pass from captain Conor McCarthy gifted the ball to Sean Kavanagh, his pass fell for Byrne and his shot gave keeper Ryan no chance.
On 26 minutes Rovers were 2-0 up in front of a crowd of 2,125, Byrne's corner kick was headed in at the far post by Lee Grace.
Alan Mannus in the Rovers goal remained untroubled for long spells but Ryan was a very busy man. He pulled off three top-class saves in the space of a few minutes early in the second half, denying Byrne, Aaron Greene and Burke. But he was beaten again, by Burke's 74th minute free kick.