Football

Did Jack Byrne Do Enough To Force His Way Into Irish Squad For Slovakia?

Did Jack Byrne Do Enough To Force His Way Into Irish Squad For Slovakia?

It's not every day the League of Ireland goes viral. Jordan Flores' wonder strike in Tallaght Stadium last night has rightly gone around the world, and RTE Soccer's video of the goal has almost four million views at the time of writing.

But even without Flores' physics defying volley, the battle of the big two in the league had produced a very good night for Irish football. The Tallaght crowd was a record for a league game in the stadium, it was live on RTE TV, and there were five goals, numerous chances, and some outstanding performances all over the pitch.

In defeat, Dundalk lose very little and all the hallmarks are there of a team who won't go away quietly in the defence of their title, while Rovers backed up their Cup final win and great start to the season by beating the standard bearers of the game in this country.

While all of this bodes well for a strong League of Ireland season, it was the performance of Jack Byrne in the Rovers midfield that might have the most immediate impact on Irish football.

Mick McCarthy was in attendance for the game as Byrne yet again produced a dominant display, something he has done in every game so far this season. Unfortunately, the Irish manager made a very early exit and missed Byrne's crowning moment, a cracking strike from outside the box to secure the three points.

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With Slovakia on the horizon, Byrne's form at Rovers has to be taken seriously by McCarthy, with options for this kind of midfielder so lacking as ever.

The 23 year-old Dubliner has been capped twice in friendlies by McCarthy and was part of numerous extended squads in 2019, but has yet to be given a chance in a competitive fixture.

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He impressed in the Aviva Stadium against New Zealand was and was subsequently given a place on the bench for the game against Denmark a few days later. Though he wasn't used on the night, the fact he made the 23 suggests the Irish manager is open to using Byrne,

While McCarthy has often been accused of conservatism during the qualifying campaign, he did give Aaron Connolly a chance in Switzerland and has blooded a number of players. The question remains though as to whether the veteran manager rates the League of Ireland as a strong enough barometer of Byrne's form ahead of such a crucial game.

One thing is for sure though, Byrne is doing everything in his power to change that perception. We can only wait and see if it's ultimately good enough.

When asked by Tony O'Donoghue about his Ireland prospects after the game, Byrne was understandably humble.

Ah come here, I'd be unbelievably honoured if I was even thought of for  going on the trip. Look, I'll just hopefully keep working hard and see what happens

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SEE ALSO: Match-Winner Jack Byrne Hails 'Unbelievable' Flores After Rovers Dundalk Classic

 

Michael McCarthy

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