Football

'They've Been Unbelievable Because When I Came Here, I Was Dead And Buried'

'They've Been Unbelievable Because When I Came Here, I Was Dead And Buried'

Jack Byrne was named PFAI Player of the Year on Saturday night.

The Shamrock Rovers midfielder, who is in the Ireland squad for this month's games against New Zealand and Denmark, was presented with the award by Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.

It's just 11 months since Byrne signed for Rovers, a move which has rejuvenated his career.

"It is special because you've got that personal connection back with people in this city," Byrne told eir Sport.

"I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for the club and if it wasn't for the support that they've given me.

"They gave me a platform when I came home that nobody else offered me - the support that nobody else was willing to give to me.

"I just knew from day one when I walked in there, the people that I was going to be working with and the players that I'd be playing with, that it was going to be a good fit.

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"I'm thrilled to get the award tonight and obviously Sunday as well with the team, to win the cup, it has just been such a great year all around."

The 23-year-old praised the impact which all at Rovers, including manager Stephen Bradley and sporting director Stephen McPhail, have had on his career.

"They've been unbelievable because when I came here, I was dead and buried - there was no way back for me.

"I wouldn't have signed the player who was coming back here a year ago. To be standing here a year on and collecting this award is all down to them, down to the faith they showed in me, the hard work that they put into me.

"It's been a mad year. I couldn't have done it without them because when I was coming back here, I was a different man last year."

Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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