Buzzing. That was the feeling that most people had leaving the Aviva last night, after Ireland beat Bulgaria 3-1. Ireland closed out the match very impressively and at the heart of that stonking second half performance was Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers.
Buzzing was the word Byrne repeatedly used to describe his feelings after the game. Not only did Byrne win his first Ireland cap last night, he proved definitively that he belongs at this level. Byrne changed the game with his introduction. He was a livewire, always showing for the ball. He took the corner that Kevin Long headed home and he was instrumental in James Collins' goal, which was one of the finest goals Ireland have scored in 2019.
Speaking to Virgin Media Sport post-match, Byrne was bursting with pride and happiness.
"It will go up in the gaf somewhere!" ☘️@Jackb_8 talks about what he's going to do with tonight's jersey, @ShamrockRovers, the LOI and more with @AnnMarie_Keegan after his @FAIreland debut. #IRLBUL #COYBIG #VMSport pic.twitter.com/hHvUcqWCIq
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) September 10, 2019
"I owe it all to the League of Ireland and Shamrock Rovers and my teammates," Byrne said.
Byrne is the kind of midfielder all Irish fans crave to see in our starting XI. His career seemed to unstuck over in Oldham but playing in Tallaght this year has clearly settled him. We hope this is the beginning of a long international career for the 23-year-old.
In the mixed zone afterwards Byrne said he wasn't nervous stepping onto the pitch.
"No nerves. I just wanted to show people what I could do and if that wasn't good enough, then it's not good and I'll just dust myself off and keep trying. I'm not going to be everyone's cup of tea, I know that.
Mick McCarthy lauded Byrne in his post-match press conference.
"Jack Byrne lit the place up, to be fair, with his forward passing," he said.
To commemorate the occasion, Byrne says he'll get his jersey signed and hang it up somewhere in his mother's house.